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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Charlotte Williams recently bumped into her idol, Donovan Mitchell, who of course was every bit as nice in person as she wanted him to be. He always is.

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I_medium Charlotte gets a double-helping of N&N glory because she also got to meet Brendan McKay on the same day.

I_medium ESPN's C.L. Brown says Louisville is looking like a team built for a Final Four run in 2017-18.

I_medium Book now. Dates are going to fill up fast.

I_medium Fansided lists five things to watch for in tomorrow's spring game.

I_medium A lot of people wondered what the focus for Lamar Jackson would be heading into a season after he won the Heisman Trophy. Now we know.

Once Jackson returned from his travels, coach Bobby Petrino and the offensive staff had one sheet of paper waiting for him. On it, they listed seven areas in which they want Jackson to improve, based on film study from the 2016 season. A season, remember, in which Jackson finished with 1,571 yards rushing, 3,543 yards passing and 51 total touchdowns.

1. Improve on progression reads
2. Improve on sets in the pocket
3. Improve on seeing the defense and understanding coverages
4. Get better protected
5. Get better at throwing the ball away
6. Ball security
7. Get to 100 percent on run reads

There is another item not included on the list: Add snaps from under center back into the offense, including play-action from under center.

Jackson looked at the sheet, listened to his coaches and immediately went to work. Winning awards did nothing to dampen his competitive drive, nor his perfectionism. Jackson understands that to be the best quarterback, and to prepare himself for a future in the NFL, he needs to check everything off this list.

Petrino and his staff are trying to take Jackson to an even higher level, adding new layers to his already impressive repertoire. As a freshman, Jackson survived on his athleticism and instincts. Last season, he improved his knowledge of the playbook, technique and overall understanding of the offense and won the Heisman.

This season, the goal is for Jackson to evolve not physically, but mentally. Once Jackson understands defenses as well as he understands his own offense, he will be able to make checks at the line and make better decisions. That will lead to fewer sacks, improved accuracy and even better results. And that, in turn, will make him more ready for his NFL future.

"He was pretty darn good last year, but you're always working to improve," Petrino said. "I think if he can do all of this, it will be like the great Magic Johnson years -- one year he's the scorer, the next year he's dishing assists. He's making everyone around him better and that's really the goal.

"If he's distributing the ball, hitting the checkdowns, seeing this, making this check, it's going to make all of us better. Whether he'll ever have numbers like he did last year, I don't know that. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. But it will make the offense more efficient, which makes him better."

I_medium As expected, North Carolina's Justin Jackson has declared for the draft.

I_medium Updated 2018 national championship odds after the early round of draft declarations:

Odds to win the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship

Team              4/5/17               Current Odds (4/14/17)

Kentucky                      9/1                    10/1

Michigan State              20/1                  10/1

Duke                            14/1                  12/1

Louisville                      14/1                  12/1

North Carolina               12/1                  12/1

Gonzaga                       14/1                  14/1

Kansas                         14/1                  14/1

Villanova                       14/1                  14/1

Arizona                         16/1                  16/1

Florida                          25/1                  25/1

Indiana                          22/1                  25/1

Michigan                       20/1                  25/1

Wichita State                 28/1                  25/1

UCLA                            25/1                  25/1

Butler                            28/1                  28/1

Missouri                        250/1                28/1

West Virginia                 28/1                  28/1

Virginia                         33/1                  33/1

Baylor                           250/1                40/1

Florida State                 33/1                  40/1

Oklahoma                     33/1                  40/1

Oregon                         33/1                  40/1

Miami Florida                40/1                  50/1

Notre Dame                  40/1                  50/1

St. Mary's CA                40/1                  50/1

Purdue                          50/1                  50/1

USC                             50/1                  50/1

Alabama                       66/1                  66/1

Seton Hall                     50/1                  66/1

Cincinnati                      75/1                  75/1

Connecticut                   66/1                  75/1

Creighton                      75/1                  75/1

Iowa State                     66/1                  75/1

Minnesota                     75/1                  75/1

SMU                             75/1                  75/1

Vanderbilt                     66/1                  75/1

Wisconsin                     66/1                  75/1

Xavier                           66/1                  75/1

Arkansas                      100/1                100/1

Illinois                           100/1                100/1

Marquette                     100/1                100/1

Maryland                       100/1                100/1

Northwestern                 100/1                100/1

San Diego State            100/1                100/1

South Carolina              100/1                100/1

Syracuse                      100/1                100/1

Texas A&M                   100/1                100/1

Utah                             100/1                100/1

VCU                             100/1                100/1

Virginia Tech                 300/1                100/1

Georgetown                  150/1                150/1

BYU                             50/1                  200/1

Ohio State                    150/1                200/1

Providence                   150/1                200/1

Stanford                       300/1                200/1

TCU                              250/1                200/1

Arizona State                250/1                250/1

Auburn                          250/1                250/1

California                      250/1                250/1

Clemson                       250/1                250/1

Colorado                      250/1                250/1

Dayton                         250/1                250/1

Georgia                        250/1                250/1

Iowa                             250/1                250/1

Kansas State                250/1                250/1

Mississippi                   250/1                250/1

Mississippi State           250/1                250/1

Rhode Island                 250/1                250/1

Tennessee                    250/1                250/1

Texas                           250/1                250/1

Oklahoma State            250/1                300/1

Penn State                    300/1                300/1

Texas Tech                   300/1                300/1

Wake Forest                 300/1                300/1

Boise State                   500/1                500/1

Boston College             500/1                500/1

Colorado State              500/1                500/1

Harvard                         500/1                500/1

LSU                              500/1                500/1

Memphis                       500/1                500/1

NC State                       300/1                500/1

Northern Iowa                500/1                500/1

Oregon State                500/1                500/1

Pittsburgh                     300/1                500/1

UNLV                            500/1                500/1

Washington State          500/1                500/1

Washington                   500/1                500/1

Mount St. Mary's           1000/1              Off the Board

Saint Joseph's              1000/1              Off the Board

Temple                         1000/1              Off the Board

Rough nine days for  Mount St. Mary's apparently.

I_medium Let hype video season begin.

I_medium The U of L spirit groups won four of the five possible national championships in Daytona. That makes (unofficially) ten billion national titles for Todd Sharp's troops.

I_medium Yep.

I_mediumJared Shanker's latest ACC mailbag for ESPN talks which Louisville team we should expect to see in 2017. Jared

Shanker: I won't cop out and settle for an answer in between those two. Given the options, I'd go with the team that limped to an 0-3 finish. The Cardinals are clearly a better team than what they showed in that ambush at Houston and stodgy performance against LSU, but they don't strike me as a team in 2017 that will push for the playoff. In January I labeled them a pretender because there are concerns about the pass protection and defense. Will a new O-line coach help? Will a new defensive coordinator (coaching several new starters) hurt? Lamar Jackson is Houdini holding a football, but he might not escape a second straight season without injury if he's sacked 47 times again.

I_medium The NCAA's D-I council voted for three big changes to college football today. They are:

An early signing period

The addition of a 10th assistant coach

No more two-a-days

I_medium Eli Rogers posted a pretty cool goodbye message/story to Dan Rooney on Instagram.

I_medium Athlon has Louisville at No. 8 in its very early college hoops rankings for next season. I believe that's the lowest I've seen.

I_medium This might be the worst call I've seen at a sporting event this year, and it was a huge one.

I_medium Matt Norlander grades the college hoops coaching hires of the past year and from four years ago.

I_medium Jon Bois' chart party is always worth your time.

I_medium SVP casually funding Maryland's student sports radio station is awesome.

I_medium Jeff Greer continues his freshman profile series with a closer look at Lance Thomas.

I_medium Jalen Rose says the newly retired Steve Fisher needs more love (and also takes some shots at Chris Webber).

I_medium Justin Thomas can drive the ball longer and more accurately with a putt-putt club than I can with a driver.

I_medium The U of L men's tennis team will take on Clemson and No. 1 Wake Forest this weekend.

I_medium As expected, the John Calipari 30 for 30 was essentially a two-hour recruiting infomercial.

Still, there was this at the beginning ....

Oscar campaign starts now. You're all invited as my dates.

I_medium Pat Forde looks at the 12 most intriguing (or confusing) hires of the college basketball offseason so far.

I_medium Blast from the past.

I_medium First Team All-ACC performer John Collins has also declared for the draft, and will sign with an agent.

I_medium Here's an update on the injured Wright State basketball player story from a couple days ago.

Wanted to give you a quick update here. In just a few days, nearly $70K has been raised to help Ryan Custer in his recovery. More information, and a video from Scott Nagy, the head Men's Basketball coach at Wright State, here:

According to a new post from Ryan's dad on a Facebook page created to help in his recovery, Ryan is ready to fight, mouthing the words, "I Got This." Here's a link to the page:

I_medium Steve Jones says highly-touted freshman DB C.J. Avery is already making an impact for U of L football.

I_medium Draft stock is up for Louisville's Keith Towbridge according to one service.

I_medium Bobby Petrino was on Sirius XM's College Sports Nation program yesterday. You can hear his interview here.

I_medium A reminder that you can see Malik Williams, Darius Perry and Lance Thomas all in action tonight at the KDF's "Night of the Future Stars" at IUS starting at 7 p.m.

I_medium And finally, today gives us new Kendrick Lamar, new Mystery Science Theater 3000, and this video:

Feel good Friday.