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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

My guy Paxton is Blackout ready.

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—Spread check: Georgia Tech by 5.

—From the Rumble Seat serves up its preview of tonight’s game.

—Aidan Igiehon was not visited by Kentucky and postponed his planned official visit to St. John’s this weekend. Here’s hoping this means good things are on the way whenever he announces his commitment.

—Shoutout to the “new” U of L Villens student section for trying to galvanize the group and improve the environment at home games moving forward. Give them a follow if you’re on Twitter.

—After an unusual period of stability, is ACC football headed for a number of head coaching shakeups in 2018? Sports Illustrated explores.

—With a tough second half of the season schedule looming, there’s significant pressure on Louisville to pick up its first ACC victory tonight.

—If you missed it yesterday, Brian Bowen Sr. took the stand in New York and he did not skimp on the details about his son’s infamous recruitment.

Additionally, Bowen Sr. said he was paid $2,000 a month to have his son attend La Lumiere Academy for high school, was offered $25,000 to have his son play on an Adidas AAU team and 5-8K for him to play on a Nike squad, and that the Louisville offer was originally 60-80K, but was bumped up to $100,000 because that’s how much Billy Preston got paid to go to Kansas.

So. There’s all of that.

Obviously, this gives rise to a number of follow-up questions ...

Is there proof of any of these offers on wire taps or elsewhere?

Were these actual offers, or was noted exaggerator Christian Dawkins doing his thing again when he told Bowen Sr. what was being tossed around?

And if these were legitimate offers, can the NCAA even do anything about it? There is no “conspiracy to pay a student athlete” rule in college athletics. What’s to stop Creighton from claiming that, even if there’s evidence that they offered the Bowens 100K, it was a hollow recruiting promise that was never going to be followed through? (Unfortunately, that defense isn’t available to Louisville)

These are all issues that the NCAA is going to have to wade through whenever this madness finally grinds to a halt. I’m sure they’ll handle it all with total grace and efficiency.

As far as Louisville and yesterday’s revelations are concerned, I’m not sure what to tell you. I tried guessing what the NCAA was going to do at every step of the way over the last two years, and at every step I was wrong. When all is finally said and done, U of L’s punishment will wind up being somewhere between absolutely nothing and the NCAA dropping an actual nuclear bomb on Floyd Street.

There’s no point in breaking down the details, there’s no point in trying to make predictions based off precedent; ultimately, nobody knows what these crazy sons of bitches are going to do.

—Is this good?

—The U of L women’s soccer team was dealt a tough 1-0 loss by No. 8 Virginia Thursday night.

—Jeff Greer of The Athletic (still feels weird) has a really good feature on Joey Gruden, the member of the Gruden family who ditched football to work in basketball. He’s now a graduate assistant at Louisville.

“It didn’t hit me until my first week of college, actually,” said Joey, who is five months into a job as a graduate assistant on Chris Mack’s staff at Louisville. “I went to Dayton to play football. I was going to be a preferred walk-on. My roommate was playing football. It was the first day of practice and I just — something was telling me, ‘I’m done with football.’ It’s not my thing. I enjoy basketball way more. I’d rather go to the rec center and play pickup. … I love watching my dad and seeing what he does every day, so I figured, ‘Why not give basketball coaching a try?’”

It might seem surprising to the outside world, but none of the Grudens were shocked when Joey picked hoops and walked on to Dayton’s basketball team as a college sophomore. And once college-aged Joey started working at youth basketball summer camps at several Division I programs and his high school alma mater, none of his relatives was surprised he enjoyed coaching hoops, either.

Jay thought his calm, observant son would be a good quarterback because of his attention to detail, communication skills and demeanor, but he said those traits would easily carry over to coaching. Sherry admired her son’s ability to get along with anyone and noticed how others seemed to gravitate toward him. Jon saw his nephew’s “appreciation for what it takes” and knack for teaching. Archie Miller, Joey’s first coach at Dayton, loved his adaptability. His high school coaches raved about his dedication to preparation.

“We all knew,” Jon said, “that coaching was in his future.”

—The S&P projections like Georgia Tech over Louisville by 6 tonight.

—Louisville will get the last visit from prized Moore High School defensive end recruit J.J. Weaver. There are a few local guys this staff can’t afford to let get, and Weaver is at the top of that list.

—Dr. Neeli Bendapudi’s inauguration on Thursday appeared to be a wonderful event.

—Getting closer.

—La Salle has “no comment” on the accusation that assistant coach Kenny Johnson directly paid Brian Bowen Sr. $1,300 while he was at Louisville.

—The Atlanta Journal Constitution is going with GT to cover the spread tonight.

—Jeff Goodman got the ACC basketball coaches to rank the league’s programs in a variety of different areas to determine the best coaching jobs in the conference. Duke topped the rankings, but Louisville was No. 2.

1. Duke (105.5) – Mike Krzyzewski, who arrived in 1980, has turned Duke into arguably the best program in the entire country. He’s won five national titles (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015), put a ton of guys into the NBA, and has basically whatever he wants in terms of resources.

Where they win: Incredible tradition, NBA players, tremendous recruiting base, non-stop national media attention and also arguably the best environment in the country. “That little bandbox is mythical now, kind of like Fenway Park or Wrigley Field.” – ACC coach

The knock: Can the program withstand the success once K leaves? This program has been built on one individual more than any other in college sports.

2. Louisville (104) – The Cardinals have won a trio of national titles — though the banner has been taken down from the last one in 2013 — and been to 10 Final Fours. Denny Crum went to a half-dozen of them and also went to 23 NCAA Tournaments with the Cards. Rick Pitino took over for Crum in 2001, and while there was plenty of off-court drama, he went to three Final Fours.

Where they win: Elite facilities, incredible resources, big-time fan base, winning tradition and plenty of former and current NBA players.

The knock: “Basketball is king there. There’s not much you can really pick apart, other than maybe the fact that Louisville is like the little brother to that program down the road in Lexington.” – ACC head coach

3. North Carolina (100.5) – Six national titles and considered one of the elite programs in the country, many will be shocked to see that UNC ranks third in its own league. The area that proved to be the difference-maker between UNC and both Duke and Louisville comes with the Dean Dome. While it’s still considered one of the better venues, it’s not at the level of Cameron or the Yum! Center in terms of the atmosphere.

Where they win: The tradition, Michael Jordan, the Nike affiliation and the Jordan Brand. They have the resources, recruiting base and everything you’d want in Chapel Hill. There’s also a fraternity among ex-players (not named Rashad McCants) that you won’t find anywhere else.

The knock: Maybe the fact that there is more scrutiny on UNC after the NCAA academic fraud investigation, meaning the program won’t get the exceptions that some others are given. “There’s really not much, except for maybe that Roy hasn’t produced NBA stars. They used to spit out NBA All-Stars and Roy, believe it or not, hasn’t had one since he’s been there.” – ACC assistant

Louisville was in the top four of every voting category outside of “recruiting base.”

—The Service Academy Exchange Program is all fun and games until it gets to rivalry week.

—Athlon’s Mitch Light likes Louisville to pull the slight upset tonight.

—Pretty well done.

—WRAL’s week six ACC GIF previews like Georgia Tech by two touchdowns tonight.

—On the latest episode of his new podcast, Jeff Goodman tells the story of how Marvin Bagley Sr. danced up and down the isles of a restaurant after Kentucky lost to Kansas State in the NCAA tournament.

—The folks over at CBB Central preview the ACC and pick Louisville to finish 11th.

#11. Louisville

I love me some Chris Mack, but it’s hard to see the Cardinals being much better than 11th this season. Mack has done a good job getting Louisville back on the right track from a recruiting perspective for 2019, but didn’t bring in any elite talent for this season. Grad transfers Christen Cunningham and Kwhan Fore should provide adequate backcourt play alongside returner Darius Perry, while VJ King and Jordan Nwora have a lot of upside on the wing. The frontcourt is dicey at best, with Akoy Agau, Steven Enoch, and Malik Williams the only options. Any optimism with this team has to be betting on all-conference-level play from King and/or Nwora. Otherwise, this looks like an NIT team.

—The Crunch Zone gives us five keys to a victory over Georgia Tech.

—The NBA is unlikely to expand before the year 2025.

—The U of L women’s basketball team spent a chunk of their Thursday morning spreading love at Locust Grove Elementary.

—The Louisville men’s tennis team is headed to Notre Dame this weekend for the Bobby Bayliss Invitational.

—Shoutout to Kentucky Wesleyan on apparently being the state of Kentucky’s pre-eminent college basketball program.

Also, I love this Kentucky fan tagging UK players in an attempt to get them fired up.

They’re gonna be sooo effing jacked to ... not play Kentucky Wesleyan?

—FanSided lists Bobby Petrino as one of the five coaches on its hot seat watch.

—GT site Yellow Jacked Up previews tonight’s game and predicts the Yellow Jackets to cover.

—Friday Irrelevance:

—Fish are swimming in the Dead Sea which apparently means the end of the world is coming. I’d like to head into the afterlife seeing at least one more Louisville football win, so let’s get this done tonight.

—Every member of the staff over at Big Red Louie is picking the Cards to beat Georgia Tech.

—Congrats to coach Crum on being a Bell Award recipient last night.

—Tomahawk Nation reviews the film from Louisville-FSU. You don’t have to click that link. In fact, I wouldn’t.

—Is former interim president Greg Postel leaving U of L? The school won’t say, but it certainly appears as though he is.

—The Ramsey & Rutherford show today will double as the Cardinal GameDay Pregame Show. Will be live at the Trager Center from 3-6. Listen here.

—And finally, beat Georgia Tech.