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Sunday morning Cardinal news and notes

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Soon, Indy. Soon.

I_medium Spread check: Louisville by 3.5.

I_medium My full wrap of the tournament's third day is here. It's also on Apple news on your phone if you just swipe left on your phone's home screen. That's cool. But you're on this website, so the easiest route is probably just to click that link in the first sentence. Or just move on to the next blurb.

I_medium We had a thing happen last night that completely shifted my outlook on today's game. I'll let the tweets tell the story.

Shoutout to Donovan/Spudz and his owner for both being awesome. Also, given the fact that Don's handkerchief/bandana was maize and blue, I'm feeling like this is some really good karma for the Cards today. Seriously, this is the way I actually think.

If Louisville wins, then Don's coming back over to party at 1 a.m. on the night before the Sweet 16 game.

I_medium So that celebration thing that Deng Adel does? Yeah, it's based off an anime character.

The first time Deng Adel broke out his Naruto impression in Louisville was two summers ago, when he and Donovan Mitchell were walking to 4th & Cardinal Food Mart on U of L's campus late one night.

The roommates, then newly enrolled freshmen, were bantering back and forth when Adel took off sprinting, his head out over his feet, his arms back, almost like airplane wings. He was screaming at the top of his lungs.

Mitchell had no clue what his friend was doing, but he found out later that Adel was imitating the main character from a Japanese manga comic and anime television series that he grew up watching in Melbourne, Australia.

"Every time he screams now I think of that time," Mitchell said, laughing and shaking his head in unison.

It took Adel another 18 months to make the Naruto run and scream his regular "thing" in actual basketball games, but it's a good sign for U of L if he is doing it. That means it's "go-time" for Adel, that he is making big plays, said long-time friend and fellow Australian Mangok Mathiang, who is also a fan of the comic and show.

Seriously. Deng and Don reality show. Someone can make this happen.

I_medium U of L's game notes and preview can be found here.

I_medium There have been cooler stats.

I_medium The Louisville baseball team set a new school record for best start with its 6-4 win over Boston College on Saturday. The top-ranked Cards are now 18-0.

I_medium Rick Bozich compares John Calipari's first eight years at Kentucky with the eight seasons Rick Pitino spent there.

I_medium Gonna go with both here.

I_medium Business Insider calculates that the average Louisville basketball player is worth $1.7 million per year to his school.

I_medium In order to beat Michigan, Louisville will have to keep the Wolverines from torching them from the outside. That's easier said than done.

David Levitch knows the game. He's a frequent target of Pitino's criticism for defensive issues -- but not because he doesn't know the defense.

"You just have to run them off the line," he said of Michigan. "You just have to jam their shooting hand, force them to their off hand, if they're a righty force them left, and don't put your feet below the (three-point line). Even if he's 10 feet behind the line and you're below the line, then he can make it, because they're good shooters."

Deng Adel smiled covered his face when I asked him about stopping the three.

"Don't ask me that," he said, smiling. "I did it twice yesterday."

The toughest thing for him, Adel said, is judging what's close enough to challenge the three, without being so close that he's susceptible to the dribble drive.

"It's tough to play, because you get that close, they're going to blow by you," Adel said. "So when that happened to me yesterday, that's what I was thinking, I didn't want to get blown by, or possibly pick up a foul or have one of our bigs get into foul trouble. But I understand what coach is saying. You've just got to get out there and pressure and run them off the line, especially late in the shot clock. Not a lot of people look to drive late in the clock. It's a learning process. And we needed that, what happened yesterday, with how well Michigan shoots it from the three-point line."

The best way to defend Michigan's threes, center Anas Mahmoud said, might be preventing the Wolverines from taking them at all. That'll be difficult. They've taken more threes (52) than twos (51) over their past two games.

"Watching film yesterday, we realize that we have to limit their attempts, not just contest them," Mahmoud said. "We have to try to make them do something other than shoot the three."

I_medium The U of L women will get Tennessee in a clash of regional powerhouses on Monday at the Yum Center.

I_medium The New York Post likes the Cards over Michigan today, mostly because of Rick Pitino.

I_medium Athlon is also predicting a U of L victory.

Final Analysis

Michigan-Louisville will be a tale of a great offensive team facing a great defensive team. More often than not, a great defense usually neutralizes an attack that can score. The Wolverines have been on an incredible run since the Big Ten Tournament, but they will have their hands full trying to score against the Cardinals. Expect Louisville to march on to the Sweet 16.

Prediction: Louisville 75, Michigan 69

I_medium Against Louisville's press, Michigan plans to lean on its experience and its poise.

I_medium The U of L swimming and diving team added a new national champion and finished sixth as a team at the NCAA championships this weekend.

I_medium John Beilein and Rick Pitino obviously have great admiration for one another, but Beilein isn't buying Pitino's hyperbole about Michigan being the college version of the Golden State Warriors.

"Rick was exaggerating a lot," Beilein said. "This is the part before they kick your butt. They try to butter you up a little bit."

He gave it right back, as well.

"We played against each other in the Big East and in the tournament a few times," Beilein said. "They are really hard for us. He's the hardest coach that I've ever had to prepare for. How about that for a touché? It's usually one-day prep. ... So styles may be different and just getting your kids to understand certain concepts, but he's done pretty well prepping for us. He's got a pretty good record in these preps."

But watching Michigan set an NCAA tournament record for made three-pointers with 16 and hit 11 of 15 in the second half in the 92-91 win over Oklahoma State had the Cardinals fired up.

"We all sat there with our mouths open watching one shot after another from 6, 7 feet behind the line go in," Pitino said. "Immediately, I saw (my) team rooting for Oklahoma State."

The Golden State comment was straight from the hot-shooting game. But Beilein, who has always loved the three-pointer, wasn't stomaching that one either.

"First of all, it's a huge exaggeration," he said. "I would not put us in that ballpark in any way. But the style sometimes would be we resemble each other. Here's what I love about this, there's not too many people that are coaching as head coaches right now that were head coaches before the shot clock, before the three-point line. I'm one of those guys. As you watch the evolution of the game, you just embrace it. It's incredible how the game keeps changing. Those that have made the rules 99% of the time, they've made great adjustments, and everybody keeps adjusting to it."

I_medium The Detroit News says the world should be gearing up for another Louisville-Michigan classic.

I_medium Michigan knows it's going to see a wide variety of defenses from Louisville, and they've prepared for them all.

I_medium John Beilein says thinking about the 2013 title game still hurts, and he doesn't seem to be thrilled with the way the officiating went.

"At the time that we were making that great run, it was what's next? What's next? What's next? Let's keep going. Let's keep going," Beilein said.

"I don't think you ever understand the sense of the prize being there and what could you have done, until it's a couple of years later, when you realize, you may not get there again in your life, no matter what type of team you have. You may have an injury. You might have a referee's call. You might not get there. And then you say, is there anything I could've done to be better in that year to be better in that game?

"Yeah, it bothers me. I'm not going to go through my life, though, in torment because of it. But I do wish we'd won that national championship for the University of Michigan.

"We didn't get it. We're trying to do it again."

...

"It hurts to watch it, actually," Beilein. "I saw a couple of, what should I call those ... mistakes made by some people who were in the game and they weren't on either team. That bothers me to this day."

Three to the dome. That's my response to that statement right there. Three to the dome.

I_medium All three of the writers for isportsweb like Michigan, and they all like the Wolverines by six points or more.

I_medium Maize N Brew previews today's game.

I_medium If you don't watch this at least once before tip, I don't know what you're doing.

I_medium And finally, beat Michigan.