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Tuesday evening Cardinal news and notes

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The Clifton boys are champions.

I_medium As they have in years past, the Louisville baseball team has banded together for a new postseason haircut. Devin Mann, not wanting to get read of his glorious locks, opted to put his hair in cornrows. His teammates, especially Brendan McKay, are not fans.

I_medium Malik Cunningham says (video interview) he's excited to learn from Lamar Jackson this year and that his biggest focus during his redshirt season will be grasping as much of the offense as possible.

I_medium Here's Erich Kline throwing the L in the clouds atop the Zugspitze, 9,718 feet high in the Alps between Germany and Austria:

I_medium Hogs Haven takes a closer look at draft pick Josh Harvey-Clemons.

I_medium Both are also in need of some better O-line play in 2017.

I_medium CBS lays out 100 reasons to be excited about the 2017 college football season, and Louisville gets a handful of mentions.

I_medium A couple of events over the course of the past two months have suddenly taken Missouri basketball from laughing stock to intriguing contender.

I_medium Athlon ranks the ACC's 15 mascots and has Louie (old version, I guess) at No. 4.

4. Louisville's Cardinal Bird

Kudos to Louisville for keeping it simple. They are the Cardinals. The mascot is quite obviously a cardinal. The colors are accurate. The costume does not look cheap and the character is not overly friendly. In fact, he looks like he is about to scream at a bunch of kids who are currently hanging out on his lawn. Behavior-wise, he's top notch. I was in the press box at the College World Series a few year back when the Cardinal Bird rolled up into the joint and made himself at home, even picking food off of the plate of a few journalists.

The Duke Blue Devil is No. 1, which is absurd.

I_medium David Roth says goodbye to the San Antonio Spurs' weird machine that was especially intriguing in its twilight years.

I_medium Definitely good for a news & notes blurb.

I_medium Vance Bedford provides his take on what went wrong for Charlie Strong at Texas.

I_medium Louisville is No. 7 in the updated early college hoops rankings from CBS.

7. Louisville Cardinals

Coach: Rick Pitino
2016-17 record: 25-9

Notable players definitely gone: Donovan Mitchell, Mangok Mathiang, Tony Hicks, David Levitch, Jaylen Johnson
Notable players also expected to leave: None
Notable players expected to return: Quentin Snider, Deng Adel, Ray Spalding, Anas Mahmoud, V.J. King
Notable newcomers: Malik Williams, Darius Perry, Jordan Nwora, Lance Thomas

Why the Cardinals are here: If Donovan Mitchell had returned, Louisville could've been the preseason No. 1. But he isn't. So Louisville won't. But the Cardinals should still be good enough to make a Final Four. It would be the eighth of Rick Pitino's career.

I_medium Mohamed Bamba is the most interesting basketball prospect in the world right now.

I_medium Police need your help in finding the killer of a 7-year-old boy who was struck by a stray bullet while he was sitting at his kitchen table and having cake on Sunday.

I_medium Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated outlines the matchups that will define the 2017 college football season. Louisville at NC State on Oct. 5 gets a nod.

Oct. 5

Louisville at NC State
Pivot point for: Both

If someone is going to challenge Clemson and Florida State for the ACC Atlantic title, it likely will be the winner of this Thursday showcase. Lamar Jackson destroyed the Wolfpack defense as Louisville built a 44-point halftime lead en route to a 54-€”13 win last season, but Jackson should find a far less hospitable atmosphere—and defense—in Raleigh this season.

I_medium Joey Votto's clapback game is grade A.

I_medium USA Today says that at the moment, the ACC is unquestionably the best conference in all of college sports.

"I think we're the best league in ball," said Florida State's Jimbo Fisher

He meant football — which is the biggest catalyst in the ACC's surge — and he's got a pretty good argument.

Clemson's victory against Alabama to win the College Football Playoff completed the ACC's best year in the sport. The ACC went 9-3 in bowl games, including 4-1 against the SEC. Add the regular season, and it's 10-4 against that other league — and that's the constant comparison.

Yeah, there are three other Power Five leagues. But the ACC essentially shares its geographic footprint with the SEC. For years, they've endured talk of being a "basketball league" — and that's not an acknowledgment of the ACC's status as a traditional hoops powerhouse, but a statement that the ACC was not a football power.

It is now. North Carolina's basketball title is a reminder that nothing much has changed in that department. But ACC football's rise runs deeper than Clemson's victory vs. Alabama — which was the league's second national title in four seasons (ACC teams have played for three in that span, and been in the College Football Playoff each year of its short existence). It's the league's overall depth. Along with Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Miami (Fla.) and Louisville were ranked in the final Amway Coaches Poll.

It's more than football, of course. Swofford tracked the ACC's reason for celebration to before the school year even began. Last summer, the ACC announced its members had extended their grant of rights agreement to 2035-36 — an indication of the league's stability as it emerged from several rounds of realignment. Not long after, the launch of the ACC Network in collaboration with ESPN was announced. The network will provide more exposure — and as important, more money, which will help the ACC close part of the gap between the Big Ten and SEC in revenue. (In fiscal year 2016, the ACC reported $373.4 million, according to its federal tax return. The per-school distribution ranged from $22.6 million to $27.9 million, lowest among Power Five conferences. By comparison, the SEC's distribution ranged from $41.9 million to $39.1 million.)

I_medium Lorenzo Mauldin is helping to speak out against bullying.

I_medium Eric Crawford writes about the return of Deng Adel.

I_medium It appears as though Damion Lee is dating Stephen Curry's little sister.

The younger Curry was a volleyball player at Elon. If they have kids, I would enjoy seeing them play a sport at the University of Louisville.

I_medium And finally, here's your schedule for tomorrow's ACC tournament action at Slugger Field:

No. 12 Notre Dame vs. No. 8 Florida State, 11 a.m. (RSN)
No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 11 Boston College, 3 p.m. (RSN)
No. 3 Wake Forest vs. No. 10 Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. (RSN)