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Monday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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This was Bennett William Mercke's face when he heard the news about Deng and Mangok. He's come around since then though.

I_medium Spread check: Virginia by 6.5.

I_medium The Louisville women will be taking on Notre Dame in a huge game that will be taking place on ESPN2 at the same time the men are facing Virginia on ESPN. That is dumb.

I_medium Might I interest you in video of Louisville's new five-star point guard commit talking about wanting to spend four years in college?

I_mediumLouisville will attempt to solve the mystery of Virginia with just seven available scholarship players tonight. Perhaps that was the solution the whole time.

I_medium Eric Crawford takes a deeper look at what the Adel and Mathiang suspensions mean for Louisville.

Pitino is planning to play differently in tonight's game, asking his better offensive drivers to be aggressive with the ball and try to beat Cavaliers' defenders one-on-one off the dribble. Instead of ball screens and pick-and-roll pays, he planned to use isolation to beat defenders, then look for open teammates after breaking down defenders.

Adel has had more success scoring in isolation situations than any player on the team this season, but advanced metrics don't measure how well a player finds teammates out of those situations. His ball-handling can be shaky at times. Still, he was one of those players who figured to have a prominent role in the offensive plan at Virginia.

There is some good news, at least offensively, in that his replacement, V.J. King, was almost as productive in 13 minutes against Virginia in December as Adel was in 27. King scored six points and went 2-3 from the field. He and Hicks (4-5) were the only players to shoot better than 50 percent in the game.

So this game figured to be a chance for King to shine, anyway. And he has been making strides, averaging 10 points and 5 rebounds in his past two games.

But no one is going to replace the defensive things Adel does.

Mathiang, in December, did not score in 15 minutes against Virginia. He did have five rebounds, but didn't take a shot.

But he's been a different player in the last three weeks. He has averaged 12.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and shot 67 percent from the field over the last five games, scoring nine or more points in each game. He scored a season-high 16 points at Boston College in the Cardinals' last game. He had 13 points, matched a career-best with 13 rebounds and blocked two shots at Florida State for his first double-double of the season and second of his career.

In the absence of Snider, the team's other co-captain, Mathiang had stepped forward. Now, he steps aside. Not only will he miss tonight's game, Pitino has replaced him as captain with Mitchell.

This team, now, is Donovan Mitchell's. It has been anyway, since Snider's departure. But this move makes it official.

I_medium Last night's Super Bowl capped off an amazing 12-month stretch of championship games.

I_medium Sports Illustrated's Bracket Watch has Louisville within striking distance of the top line.

I_medium I literally didn't even say his name this time.

We all handle crushes differently.

I_medium Louisville is No. 3 in the latest RPI.

I_medium Trinity WR Rondale Moore has received a scholarship offer from Louisville.

I_medium If you are an absolute basketball junkie, the Louisville Diesel is a minor league basketball team not many around here know about which features former Cards like Chris Jones, Nate Johnson and Luke Hancock. The team plays all of its home games at Walden, and its full schedule can be found here. Shoutout to the Diesel.

I_medium Campus Insiders is riding with the Cavaliers tonight.

Louisville vs. Virginia Prediction

The Cardinals will just be too short-handed against a Virginia team that will be very salty following Saturday's loss to the Orange. Bennett's squad puts the second-half clamps on a cold-shooting Cardinals squad.

Louisville vs. Virginia final score prediction: Virginia 60, Louisville 55

I_medium Gary Parrish has the Cards at No. 5 in his daily rankings.

I_medium The relationship between Rick Pitino and New England is like Steve Martin's 8th-best movie; it's complicated.

I_medium Terry Rozier made an appearance at the Louisville-Boston College game on Saturday, and was also kind enough to pose for pictures with the Louisville fans who made the trip -- including Brian Sansbury -- afterward.

I_medium The U of L women's tennis team remained unbeaten with an easy win over Liberty.

I_medium Suck it, Harvard, and suck it, MIT.

I_medium Critics said Louisville's scandal would destroy its recruiting. That has not happened.

I_medium The Sporting News has Louisville at No. 12 in its early top 25 for next football season.

12. Louisville Cardinals

Is this too low for a team that returns Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson? The late-season slide is a bit of a concern, and the Cardinals are stuck in a tough division. The Cardinals will have to prove themselves all over again in the ACC.

I_medium This is the official Card Chronicle party line if we lose tonight.

I_medium UVA's student newspaper previews tonight's game.

I_medium New U of L football o-line signee Mekhi Becton can also throw down on the hardwood.

I_medium Jeff Goodman updates his college hoops hot seat list.

I_medium Sometimes you're bummed about being down four scholarship players for a game called by Dan Dakich and officiated by Teddy Valentine, and then you stumble upon a video of a dog going down a water slide by himself and everything's ok again.

I_medium Just two members of the meaty staff over at Tar Heel Blog like Louisville tonight.

I_medium Kansas is a mess off the court right now.

I_medium News and notes worthy.

I_medium Sam Vecenie updates his NBA Draft big board for The Sporting News.

I_medium Montrezl Harrell was named the Houston Rockets "power player" for January.

I_medium Malik Williams is about to be a monster problem for the rest of the ACC.

The football Malik Williams, too, but this was obviously about the basketball one.

I_medium And finally, beat Virginia.