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Thursday morning Cardinal news and notes

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Devon Arnold and his crew bring the 2017 CC Summer Tour to Tokyo.

  • An Inside Higher Ed story from 2011 in which Kentucky defends celebrating John Calipari’s 500 victories, including the vacated ones, popped up on my feed yesterday. I share it with you now in large part because of super compliance director Sandy Bell’s quote.

But Kentucky officials fired back in a letter of their own in April, saying Calipari felt he was being “singled out by the NCAA” and that they believe the NCAA inconsistently enforces penalties regarding vacation of wins.

“The University of Kentucky has never had any intention of failing to comply with the Committee’s actions involving Calipari’s career record,” wrote Sandra D. Bell, senior associate athletics director at Kentucky. “Our only intention was to recognize the fact that, during his career, Coach John Calipari had indeed led his teams to 500 victories on the court. Regardless of how the 42 victories are statistically noted, they did in fact occur…. The recognition was followed immediately by an announcement to the media that the number being recognized included the vacated wins. There was no attempt to misrepresent the number, ignore the vacations or mislead the media.”

The war of words continued until early June, when Thomas sent a five-page response back to Kentucky, demanding that the university “issue a statement to the media announcing that, after consulting with the NCAA, its honoring of Mr. Calipari for his purported 500th career victory on February 26 was in error and that, henceforth, it will reflect Mr. Calipari’s career record in its media guides, internet sites and other publications consistent with the NCAA’s official records and statistics.”

Thomas further wrote that the Committee on Infractions found it “extremely troubling” that Kentucky “did not take timely steps to ensure that it was in compliance” and “dismissed the vacation of wins as a ‘statistical note.’ ” He also lambasted Bell for agreeing with Calipari “that he is somehow being ‘picked on’ ” by the NCAA. Finally, he wrote that the Committee on Infractions staff “does not have the manpower or time to retroactively review all instances of vacation made during the 60-year history of the NCAA enforcement program.”

Given all this, I’m sure everyone in Lexington will respect the Louisville fans who celebrate the 2013 national title regardless of how the NCAA ultimately winds up viewing it.

All of this is eerily reminiscent of when of the time Kentucky fans mercilessly ridiculed U of L for giving Damion Lee and Trey Lewis rings at the end of a season where the team was banned from the postseason, and then ...

Yeah ... Yeah

  • 247 Sports now has U of L commit Anfernee Simons as the No. 6 overall player in their updated class of 2018 rankings. Simons is the only player ranked in the top 10 who has committed to a school.
  • Donovan Mitchell is on board with the hype.
  • No athletic director in America has a better compensation to revenue rate than Tom Jurich. It’s weird how all these different metrics and ranking rationales keep saying that no AD in the country is better at their job than he is.
  • The ACC Digital Network counts down Lamar Jackson’s five most explosive plays from 2016.
  • According to Kentucky’s weight room, the Wildcat football team is preparing itself for a playoff run.

GG Robinson ain’t having it.

  • Lamar Jackson has added the Davey O’Brien Award watch list to his lengthy preseason resume.
  • I am a big fan of when people take terrible stances, are overly aggressive in doing so, and then see it all blow up in their face (see bullet point one for further evidence). Such is the case with Dan Dakich’s kid transferring (as a graduate student like Trey Lewis and Damion Lee) to two different schools in the span of three months.

Karma is a mutha.

  • Updated college football win totals from Bovada still set Louisville’s over/under at 9.

2017 Regular Season Wins - Louisville Cardinals

Over 9 (-140, 5/7)

Under 9 (+110, 11/10)

Kentucky is set at 7, while both Florida State and Clemson are at 9 1/2.

  • This dog saved the fawn on purpose and I won’t believe otherwise. Also a big fan of the correction at the bottom of the story.
  • I have a new favorite non-Cardinal.

By the way he ended up getting every single question he thought he’d get.

  • Athlon ranks the toughest games on Louisville’s 2017 football schedule, and I am in total agreement with the top five.

5. Nov. 25 at Kentucky

The Wildcats handed Louisville one of its four losses a year ago at Papa John's Stadium, so it would not be out of the realm to see them do it again on their home turf. Also, any rivalry game breeds upset potential.

4. Sept. 9 at North Carolina

A year ago, this would have been a much more dangerous game. However, the Tar Heels lost a boatload of starters to graduation and the NFL, so although this should still be a test, look for the Cardinals to pass it.

3. Oct. 5 at NC State

Ah, yes, the dreaded Thursday night road game. At least for the Cardinals, it comes on the heels of the Murray State matchup. Still, the Wolfpack nearly beat Clemson last year and are a dark horse to make some serious noise in the ACC Atlantic Division.

2. Sept. 16 vs. Clemson

The beginning of the year is exactly when you want to catch Clemson, where the Tigers struggled last season. This time around, they will be breaking in a new quarterback. This game was close in 2016 and Louisville will be at home this time. Even though the Tigers will have a terrific defensive line going up against a Louisville O-line that struggled mightily last year, this game is winnable for the Cards.

1. Oct. 21 at Florida State

There is a very good chance that the Cardinals come into this game undefeated with a chance to make a major statement to the College Football Playoff committee members. Remember, last season Louisville rolled to a 63-20 romp over the Seminoles that seemed even more lopsided than the score indicated. However, Florida State brings back nearly everyone and will be thirsting for revenge in Tallahassee. Expect a classic.

These are the true White Walkers.

  • The death of former IU football standout James Hardy has been ruled a suicide, which is just terribly sad. He was only 31.
  • Oklahoma State punter Zach Sinor has taken his Heisman campaign to a new level with this incredible website.
  • In other Oklahoma State news, head coach Mike Gundy claims his mullet is worth “millions” for OSU in marketing value.
  • If you like soccer, Louisville and tequila, next Monday is your day.

On Monday, July 24, to celebrate National Tequila Day, six Louisville City FC players will be attending an el Jimador Tequila Happy Hour at Molly Malone’s in St. Matthews from 5-7pm.

Richard Ballard, Ilija Ilic, Oscar Jimenez, Tim Dobrowolski, Kyle Smith and George Davis IV, who will be signing autographs and giving away select merchandise to fans. El Jimador Tequila Margaritas and Sunrises will be on special all evening for attendees.

  • I watched “At All Costs” on Netflix last night, a documentary that takes a deep dive into the summer AAU circuit. Spoiler: The summer AAU circuit is creepy. Also there are like seven shots of Rick Pitino.
  • Coach K says Grayson Allen is “fully recovered” from an offseason ankle injury.
  • In all seriousness, the fact that a Westworld-style place is becoming a reality is creepy as hell.
  • SB Nation wizard and Louisville boy Jon Bois gets some more love from The New Yorker.
  • Two-time OVC Player of the Year Evan Bradds (Belmont) has joined the staff over at Mid-Major Madness.
  • Best thing seen at GABP all year.

I’m actually going up to Cincy for a game and a night out on Saturday with a group of friends. It’s been planned for a while, and when it became apparent that the Reds weren’t going to compete this year (Opening Day), I chose to view this game as like a bowl game for the season.

It’s all that matters to be. Reds vs. Marlins in the Andy’s TV Bowl. Let’s get it, Scott Feldman.

  • The behind-the-scenes story of how O.J. Simpson wound up in prison is even more batshit crazy than you would imagine.
  • Cort Dennison has been a surprise monster for Louisville on the recruiting trail. Get to know the promising young coach better here.
  • The AAC refuses to stop trying to make “Power 6” a thing.
  • U of L men’s golf has received the GCAA Academic recognition for the second-straight season.
  • Finally, one of these maps where I agree with Kentucky’s stance.
  • Adam Zagoria posts his All-Peach Jam team.
  • Gary Parrish gives his five biggest takeaways from the summer’s biggest AAU event.
  • If you’re super interested in Steven Enoch’s performances at the U-20 European Championship, the replays of his games are on YouTube.
  • The Chuckmeister loves cheesecake.
  • Pete Thamel, who has made the move from Sports Illustrated to Yahoo, explains why Charlie Strong could be a perfect fit at South Florida.
  • The Poughkeepsie Journal talks about Brendan McKay and his role on his first professional team.
  • Jon Rothstein drops an offseason ACC notebook in which he continues to be very high on the 2017-18 Cardinals.

2. Is Louisville a cut above the rest?

It feels that way following the Cards’ late addition of 5-star freshman Brian Bowen. The 6-7 forward is as gifted an offensive player as there is in the 2017 class. He gives Louisville another dynamic scoring wing to go with both Deng Adel and V.J. King. Veteran point guard Quentin Snider is back for his fourth tour of duty. He’ll be backed by another highly touted freshman in Darius Perry. The frontcourt features two returning veterans in Ray Spalding and Anas Mahmoud with 6-11 freshman Malik Williams likely to have a major role in reserve.

The ACC still boasts more quality teams than any other league in America, but no other team will enter this league with as many answers as Louisville. Duke is a state of transition while North Carolina is attempting to find a secondary big man to pair with Luke Maye. Syracuse and Virginia? They’re both retooling after finishing below their normal marks a year ago. Even without Donovan Mitchell, Rick Pitino still has the best team in the best league in America, led by a senior point guard in Snider who has yet to do the one thing in this career that would forever cement his place in UL history — take a team to the Final Four.

  • And finally, U of L catcher Colby Fitch has advanced to the semifinals of the Elite 90 fan contest. Vote for him here.