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Monday evening Cardinal news and notes

Jour’Nei is calling it right now: Perfect season for the U of L women’s basketball team.

—The 2017 national championship game hasn’t even happened, but there are already national championship odds for 2018. Louisville is a 200/1 longshot.

—The U of L women’s team stays at No. 3 in this week’s AP poll. They’ll definitely have a chance to move up next week since they’re taking on No. 2 on Thursday.

—Villanova is back at the top of the men’s AP poll, which features six ACC teams this week.

—If the rankings look weird it’s because 60 percent of the teams in last week’s poll lost at least once.

—Whatever happens in tonight’s national championship game, it won’t be the most controversial Alabama-Georgia game ever played.

—Jeff Greer gives us five things that will define a crucial January for the Louisville men’s basketball team.

1. Get more efficient play from its starting wings

Deng Adel tested the NBA draft process and came back hoping to prove himself as a first-round pick while guiding his team to a Final Four. But after a strong start to the season, when he averaged 17.2 points, five rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals through six games, Adel slumped. He looks apprehensive on offense and has really struggled on defense. To get back to his old ways, Adel needs to rediscover his aggression, and he must be the disruptive defender he can be. Both of those things require heart and passion.

As for Adel’s fellow starting wing, V.J. King, the issue isn’t persistence. King just needs to play smarter basketball on both ends. He still labors when defending drivers. On offense, his shot selection resembles that of when he played in high school. There are too many pull-up, contested jump shots and too many early in the shot clock. He is a 28.3-percent mid-range shooter for a reason.

—A lengthy history of every call to expand the College Football Playoff.

—Congrats to former U of L futballer Marlon Hairston on being called up to the U.S. National Team.


—Kentucky ranks 37th in WalletHub’s rankings of the best and worst states to raise a family. I can only assume the state of Louisville would be in the top five.

—This is one of the best ice falls I’ve ever seen.

—Drake appears in Andy Katz’s Power 36 rankings, but Louisville does not. We live in strange times.

—Dwayne Sutton seems to have found his niche in Louisville’s rotation.

On a team filled with even-keeled, calm personalities, Sutton is no different. He is soft-spoken and reserved in interviews. But he doesn’t play that way. And with a group continuously in dire need of an energy jolt, Sutton has been the most consistent provider in recent weeks.

Fifteen games into the season, Louisville has outscored opponents by 104 points with Sutton on the floor. At Clemson, he was the only player who registered an even plus/minus for the game.

By percentage, Sutton is also Louisville’s second-best defensive rebounder among its regulars. For that reason, interim coach David Padgett called Sutton “so important” in December.

”He’s like a 6-foot-5 version of (Spalding),” Padgett said. “He just kind of disrupts everything. ... One time we finally got a good trap in the backcourt (vs. Bryant), then he sprints back out of the trap and gets a back tip and dove on the floor, and then we ended up getting a dunk. Those kinds of plays, they don’t show up on the stat sheet, but they don’t go unnoticed by coaches at all. He just is an energy guy off the bench. ... His defensive energy really helps to get us going.”

—The U of L women’s golf team continues to tear it up in the classroom.

—We were 20 years ahead of the game.

—For all of us not overly thrilled with an all-SEC championship game, here’s how you cope.

—The Louisville baseball team is back on campus and getting ready for its 2018 season.

—Unreal that U of L keeps letting this type of in-state talent get away.

—The Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena League have signed former U of L offensive lineman Kahlil Hunter.

—Some Edgar Sosa highlights for your brain.

—The CCBC is the new CCBM.


—The new SB Nation mock draft has Lamar Jackson going sixth overall to the Jets.

6. New York Jets: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The Jets squeezed nearly 3,000 yards and 18 touchdowns passing out of 38-year-old Josh McCown this season. Imagine what they could do with a talent like Jackson. Although he has a propensity to run a little too frequently, Jackson has a really good arm and figured out how to sit back in the pocket more this season.

—And finally, even at 18-0 Jeff Walz is challenging his players to play all four quarters.