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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Big shoutout to Danny Stevens, who is recovering at Jewish Hospital after a successful lung transplant. His only demand when he went in for surgery was that he be able to watch the Cards game on Saturday.

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—Spread check: Louisville by 9.5.

—The ACC is expected to be releasing its full 2017-18 hoops schedule today. That means we will know Louisville’s full 2017-18 hoops schedule by the end of the day.

—Rick Pitino has announced a 4:30 press conference today where he will name team captains for 2017-18 and presumably talk about the schedule a little bit. My guess is that he believes it’s going to be difficult.

—Pro Football Focus breaks down the film on the draft eligible college quarterbacks’ performances from week one.

Steve Palazzolo: It was a strong game for Jackson who showed excellent accuracy on a number of passes, particularly in the middle of the field. Aside from one poor decision in which he tried to force a pass through multiple Purdue defenders, Jackson dominated in between the numbers, going 20-for-28 for 282 yards and two touchdowns, good for an NFL passer rating of 127.4. Jackson also did damage throwing the ball outside the pocket where he had an adjusted completion percentage of 71.4 percent and one of his misses was a spectacular effort that barely led the receiver out of bounds along the sideline.

Only Baker Mayfield (86.0) received a higher overall grade.

—Eric Crawford dives into the importance of Louisville taking better care of the football.

—Moses Brown’s father reviews the 5-star center’s recent visit to Louisville.

"The trip (to Louisville) went really, really great" said Malcolm Brown, Moses's father. "I have a lot of respect for (coach) Rick Pitino, more than just as a basketball coach. I think my son would have a lot of success being around him, not just basketball but also being successful in life. My father was a fan of his, and I am, too, from his time with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics."

Brown, who is ranked between 13th and 27th nationally by the four major recruiting services, is one of two big guys still on Louisville's radar. The Cards will host four-star Florida forward Darius Days for a campus visit in two weekends. And five-star wing Romeo Langford, the New Albany High standout, is still at the top of Louisville's wish list.

Brown's dad said Louisville's pitch to his son is straightforward: He is skilled enough to play a lot as a freshman.

"He’s a 7-footer, but he has other tools," Brown's dad said. "He can put it on the floor, and he does other things that the average big man can’t do. They’d utilize him right away if he works hard."

Brown is scheduled to visit Maryland and Kansas later this month.

—I stand by the belief that coaches will never let this “transfers are eligible to play right away” proposal become a reality. Some of these quotes back that up.

—Consolation, depression and drinking; the three stages of football grief.

—The U of L defense has spent this week preparing itself for an up-tempo attack from North Carolina.

—Louisville is 14th in the updated S&P rankings.

—I would probably watch a 30-minute daily show that was nothing but Mike Leach answering questions about all sorts of random shit.

—For anyone making the trip to Chapel Hill this weekend, North Carolina will be implementing the same clear bag policy that Louisville is going to utilize for home games this season. Here are the details.

—U of L’s specialists are the best.


—Jim McDaniels, possibly the greatest Western Kentucky basketball player of all-time, passed away Wednesday night at the age of 69.

McDaniels, a 7-foot center from just down the road in Scottsville, Ky., finished his WKU career with 2,238 points, which ties for the all-time program record.

McDaniels also ranks first in WKU history in career field goals (935), career scoring average (27.6 points per game) and double-doubles (74), second in rebounding average (13.1 per game) and field goals attempted (1,763), fourth in total rebounds (1,118) and ninth in made free throws (368).

"Jim McDaniels was a legendary and iconic figure in the annals of Western Kentucky basketball," WKU Director of Athletics Todd Stewart said. "His Hall of Fame accomplishments resulted in the most successful period in our program's rich history and favorably impacted the Hilltopper Nation and college basketball fans throughout the nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim and his family. RIP Big Mac."

—My pops writes about helping Harvey victims for The Record.

—You don’t even want to know what this little bad ass can do with that blanket.

—Urban Meyer dunked all over Tom Herman on Wednesday.

—Stewart Mandel’s weekly college football mailbag is a solid read.

—Deng Adel is No. 5 on this list of darkhorse POY candidates.

5. Deng Adel, Louisville

2016-17 Stats: 12.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.1 APG, 34.9% 3PT

Every year, there's at least one former top-25 recruit who finally puts it all together and explodes as a junior. In 2016-17, it was Justin Jackson. The year before that, Wayne Selden. Go back another year and Kris Dunn's the guy. And in 2013-14, Khem Birch, DeAndre Daniels, Jabari Brown and Nick Johnson all fit that description.

There aren't many players left from the 2015 class who could even qualify for that spot this year, but Deng Adel is undeniably at the top of the list.

That's because the breakout was already underway last February. Adel scored at least 16 points in five of his final six games, including a pair of contests with at least 21 points when Donovan Mitchell was unable to get anything going on offense. And playing well while Mitchell struggled is a great omen for Adel's role on a 2017-18 roster without the current member of the Utah Jazz.

Will Adel discover an identity, though?

From what we've seen thus far at Louisville, he is a good-not-great shooter who doesn't much care on defense and who doesn't do much rebounding—though, it's been tough to grab boards with some combination of Mangok Mathiang, Jaylen Johnson, Ray Spalding and Anas Mahmoud in the paint. Adel is a gifted athlete, but he's a tweener of a small forward.

Fortunately, that's the exact same boat that Jackson and Selden were in prior to becoming stars in their junior seasons, and Adel should get every opportunity to shine as Louisville's primary shooting guard this year.

“Pick a Kentucky Wildcat” tops the list, which is a total cop out.

—With Michael Jordan serving as UNC’s honorary captain on Saturday, I say Louisville invites LaBradford Smith to make the trip with the team.

These are the highlights before the game where Jordan made up a story about Smith talking trash so that his 47-point performance could seem even cooler.

My first Cardinal hero. LA for life.

—Not sure I like Jordy Mercer's chances of bringing down Saquon Barkley in the open field.

—ESPN projects the five best defensive teams in college basketball for the upcoming season, and the Fighting Cardinals of Louisville check in at the top.

1. Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals have been making their headlines off the court of late, of course, and as a result, Rick Pitino will serve a five-game suspension when his team begins ACC play this season. That alone makes Louisville a risky choice for "best defense in the nation" honors or any superlatives. Duly noted.

Strictly on paper, however, there's a lot to like with this group of Cardinals. Last season, Pitino's guys held ACC opponents to just 1.01 points per trip, despite the fact that Louisville was merely pretty good but not great at both rebounding misses and forcing turnovers. One of those "pretty good" traits might stay merely so-so in 2017-18 (and it might be defensive rebounding), but it's doubtful that both will. Plus, with a front line anchored by Ray Spalding and a reportedly beefed-up Anas Mahmoud, the Cards are going to force a high number of misses. Replacing Donovan Mitchell will be no small challenge on offense, but Pitino should once again have an elite defense when he returns from his suspension.

—For those who love to revel in the misery of others, This Week in Schadenfreude is back.

—With North Carolina’s quarterback situation still unsettled, Louisville is preparing for all options. Or, I guess, both options.

—Pretty much CC Headquarters.

—Bleacher Report has Deng Adel and Quentin Snider as an honorable mention choice in its top college basketball dynamic duos ranking.

—UNC has been using a redshirt freshman QB to act as Lamar Jackson in practice this week.

All week in practice, UNC defensive coordinator John Papuchis has had the challenge of trying to replicate Jackson with the Tar Heel scout team.

He briefly considered using a skill position player in order to simulate Jackson’s speed and acceleration, before deciding to use redshirt freshman quarterback Logan Byrd.

Although Byrd doesn’t have the most mobility in the world, Papuchis reasoned that at least he plays the same position, and possesses a strong arm like Jackson.

“Does he have the same kind of juice and wiggle that Lamar Jackson does?” Papuchis asked reporters about Byrd after practice on Wednesday. “No. But who does?

“At this point, I’d rather our guys know that it could be a run or a pass on any play,” he added. “Because that’s what they do.”

With Jackson already off to a hot start in 2017—putting up 485 total yards in a win over Purdue last week—UNC should expect him to come out firing on all cylinders.

Although the key to pulling off an upset seems simple on paper—finding a way to stop just one player—the reality is that task is something much easier said than done.

Not only will the Tar Heels need to find a way to score the ball themselves, they’ll also have to stop one of the most special talents to come around in a long time.

—Dave Pasch, Greg McElroy, and Tom Luginbill will be on the call for Saturday’s game.

—Dez Fitzpatrick’s performance was the second best college football debut from week one.

—Jeff Greer profiles Ryan McMahon as he heads into his sophomore season.

—I dub thee: Baby Blanton Creque.

—Tar Heel Blog analyzes the key matchups for Saturday’s game.

—Keeping it Heel (such a good name) gives its scouting report for Louisville-UNC.

Matchup to watch…

Louisville’s front seven vs. UNC’s offensive line will be key to this game.

The Cardinals are very good up front as we previously noted led by Trevon Young, who missed the 2016 season.

Young recorded an interception and had a nice game on the edge against Purdue. He’s joined by De’Asian Richardson and Drew Bailey on the line as the trio hopes to make life hell for whoever starts at quarterback for UNC.

On the other side, UNC’s line struggled in the loss to Cal on Saturday. Penalties, poor protection and poor blocking doomed the line.

It’s an inexperienced line and can be vulnerable at all times.

If UNC wants to win this game, they have to find a way to slow down Young and the rest of the front seven. Louisville will likely try and bring a lot of pressure early and often.

Can UNC protect their quarterback and keep drives alive?

—In another post, Keeping it Heel picks North Carolina to pull off the upset of Louisville by a final score of 24-20.

—North Carolina’s Scout site looks at UNC’s history of defending dual threat quarterbacks.

—And finally, the new CBS mock draft has the New York Jets selecting Lamar Jackson with the No. 3 overall pick. My how things can change in a week.