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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Both the Jennings clan and Chris Hardwick are ready for a bounce-back win over Syracuse.

I_medium Rick and Richard Pitino are about to become the first father/son combo to coach different teams in the NCAA Tournament in the same season.

I_medium This would not be an ideal draw.

The good news is that if we win our last three we're guaranteed to finish ahead of Notre Dame.

I_medium Gary Barnidge appears to be spending the first part of his offseason going ice swimming with DeAngelo Williams in Finland.

I_medium Shoutout to Tailor for hauling in the first bomb of the season at Jim Patterson.

I_medium Louisville is No. 10 in Luke Winn's latest power rankings for SI.

9. LOUISVILLE CARDINALS
LAST WEEK
: 6
RECORD: 22-€”6

Rather than dwell on Wednesday's loss at North Carolina, I'm going to revisit a game I found more entertaining: the Cardinals' 94-€”90 win over Virginia Tech on Feb. 18. To start, it featured the costume change of the season, with Buzz Williams going from fully suited in the first few minutes of the first half . . .

. . . to sweating through his dress shirt before halftime, to just giving up on formalwear altogether and coming out for the second half in a bright orange, dri-fit t-shirt.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino, when asked for his reaction by the Courier-Journal, said:

"I said to my assistant coaches, ‘Is [Buzz] wearing a T-shirt?' And they said, ‘Yes.' I said, ‘Why?' and they said, ‘He's hot.' Not only is he a great coach, but he's a great character and brings a lot of laughter to the game. I just get the greatest kick out of him, you know, in an orange T-shirt. I may try that one time."

The game was also the latest episode of Donovan Mitchell, Elite Scorer, as he hit five threes en route to 26 points and set up many of his shots with impressive, off-ball movement.

One play in particular that I liked was a sideline out-of-bounds in the first half, in which Louisville leveraged the way Virginia Tech was defending center Anas Mahmoud. Because Mahmoud has attempted a grand total of zero three-pointers in his three college seasons, it was understandable that his defender (circled in red) refused to leave the paint when Mahmoud ventured out to receive the inbounds pass:

But Louisville capitalized on that distance to set up a staggered, downscreen/handoff combo for Mitchell, and the help came too late to stop him from hitting a three. Check out the full play in this GIF:

Next up: 2/26 vs. Syracuse, 3/1 at Wake Forest

I_medium Louisville's loaded pitching staff is off to a very hot start in 2017.

I_medium Bellarmine took down fellow top 10 team Southern Indiana to extend its home winning streak to 43 games and lock up an outright GLVC championship. Little known fact: Bellarmine has actually never lost at home or failed to win a conference championship in seasons where I've spoken to the team before a game. Use that at the bars this weekend.

I_medium Speaking of last night at Knights Hall, this was pretty cool:

I_medium Bleacher Report's CJ Moore says that North Carolina looks more like a national champion than any other team in the country right now.

I_medium One of the biggest stories of the next three weeks is going to be Northwestern's effort to make its first NCAA Tournament appearance. While everyone seems to be rooting for the Wildcats, Will Leitch makes the case to pull against them.

I_medium The U of L baseball team opens its first home weekend series of the season today at 2.

I_medium Gonzaga is in the process of making all the other teams in the West Coast Conference give up basketball.

I_medium The NCAA probably goes a little too far when it comes to protecting its trademark of "March Madness."

I_medium Marcus Keene is the coolest.

I_medium Bleacher Report predicts that Louisville will be the 10th highest-scoring team in college football next season.

Last season's late collapse by Louisville could go one of two ways: First, it could mean college defenses around the country are learning how to scheme star quarterback Lamar Jackson. Or, it could mean Jackson spent this offseason working on diversifying his skill set to improve.

If it's option B, the rest of the college football world should be scared.

The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback is far and away the sport's most dynamic player on this level, especially now that Deshaun Watson is gone to the NFL. But the onus is now on head coach Bobby Petrino and the rest of the Cardinals coaching staff to not put so much on his shoulders.

They've got to build a better team around him.

Jaylen Smith is a star receiver in the making, but Jackson must have more time to throw the ball. That's why Petrino brought in former Florida offensive line coach Mike Summers to help solidify that unit.

At running back, Colin Wilson was a big signee who could come in and help a group that needs a proven playmaker with Brandon Radcliff gone. Jeremy Smith and Malik Williams return, as well as Trey Smith and Dae Williams, who redshirted this past year.

But Jackson's top three receivers are gone from the team, and there are still plenty of reasons about which to be concerned. If the Cardinals can't answer those questions, Jackson has proven he's elite. But is he enough to win the biggest games without much help?

The final two games of 2016 answered that.

I_medium Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician gives an early preview of Sunday's game.

I_medium I don't know how this "Brainy Bracket" works, but the fact that it picked UConn to win it all in 2014 is both impressive and insane.

I_medium Probably the best one of these so far.

I_medium The men's tennis team topped Georgia State, 4-3.

I_medium Joe Lunardi wants teams that have losing records to be automatically eliminated from playing in the NCAA Tournament. Mike DeCourcy says that's really dumb.

I_medium U of L student Jackson Logsdon won 38 grand last night at halftime of the women's game by hitting a lay-up, free-throw, three-pointer and halfcourt shot in 25 seconds. WAVE-3 has the video (with an incredible Don Russell cameo).

I_medium And finally, I'm by myself today on R&R so it will get weird. Listen here.