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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Both Reggie and New Louie have been bulking up to take down UNC tomorrow night.

—Happy baseball season. The 13th-ranked Cardinal Nine kick off their 2018 campaign this afternoon against Richmond.

—Louisville is one of the last four teams in Chris Dobbertean’s newest Bracketology for SB Nation.

Last four in

Avoiding Dayton: 39. Houston, 40. Kansas State, 41. N.C. State, 42. Washington

Houston was Thursday’s biggest winner, as the Cougars’ home victory over Cincinnati bought them some real breathing room. On the other hand, Washington is in serious trouble after dropping a home game to the Utah Utes.

43. Louisville Cardinals

(18-8, 8-5 ACC); RPI: 41; KenPom: 29; “Super Average”: 33; SOS: 43; non-conf. SOS: 77

With just two Group 1 wins (over Florida State and Notre Dame), the Cardinals’ lack of bad losses is mainly what’s keeping them afloat. (Louisville’s worst loss by RPI was at No. 49 Syracuse.) But with all of the Cards’ remaining five games qualifying for Group 1 status, they have a real chance of improving their seed during the closing stretch. A word of caution, however. David Padgett’s team last won a game over a team in this projected field way back on Jan. 13 (Virginia Tech).

Next game: vs. North Carolina, Saturday 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)

Saturday is kiiiindddd of a big deal.

—I need a Terry Rozier “Scary Terry” t-shirt like I need air.

—Jeff Greer gives us seven numbers that every Cardinal fan should know as Louisville enters the home stretch of its season.


That is Louisville’s offensive rebounding percentage, the lowest for the program since at least the 2001-02 season, when Pomeroy’s site started. The Cards’ defensive rebounding percentage is worse, ranking 274th in Division I hoops, but their low offensive rebounding rate is a factor in their offense ranking just 56th nationally in efficiency.

It’s fair to note, however, that Louisville shooting 51.8 percent on 2-pointers and 36.3 percent on 3-pointers, two of their best shooting clips in recent seasons, cuts back on available offensive rebounds.


Jordan Nwora is 19-of-43, or 44.2 percent, on 3-pointers this season. But surprisingly, he is far better in halfcourt, non-transition situations, making 16 of 29, or 55.2 percent, in that setting. He is just 3-of-14, or 21.4 percent, on 3-pointers in transition, according to

—I wrote about the five best conference championship races in college basketball. The ACC doesn’t make the list because Virginia ruins everything.

—Tim Sullivan says NCAA justice is an oxymoron. Nobody should be surprised by anything the organization does.

—Very cool.

—At least 47 people have applied to be the next president of the University of Louisville. No word yet on if any of them are Russ Smith.

—The NBA seems to be the only major American sport with rising regular season television ratings.

—The national Donovan love continues to build.

—A ref got so mad at Bobby Hurley last night that he ejected an Arizona cheerleader.

—Dan Issel has been brought to Louisville to try and help the movement to get an NBA team here.

Every league franchise is now worth at least $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine’s 2018 estimate of NBA franchise values, published last week. And many of the revenue sources on which NBA teams rely are controlled by the university, according to U of L’s arena lease.

“Most cities have to have an arena situation in place,” Issel said. “In Louisville, we have two alternatives: the Yum Center is already there, and a renovated Freedom Hall. ... I don’t know that much about the situation with the Yum Center. I’ve never been in it. I understand it’s a beautiful building and that would be something we’d want to look at.

“But I think the first step is identifying who the majority owner is going to be. The second step is kind of a grassroots development of a fan base. And after that, we can make decisions about where we play.”

Realistically, there is no great rush. The NBA team most commonly considered to be a candidate for relocation, the New Orleans Pelicans, is bound by its lease through 2024. Though Silver has acknowledged expansion as an inevitability, league owners have thus far been reluctant to split their pie into any more pieces. The appeal of one-time expansion fees has been reduced by the NBA’s rapid growth and a nine-year television package worth $24 billion.

—The 23 steps involved in every NCAA investigation ever.

—100 percent in favor.

—As he begins his 12th season as Louisville’s baseball coach, Dan McDonnell’s national reputation has never been better.

—We have our first offseason update from U of L football, which has started work towards its season opener against Alabama.

“The workouts hurt,” McNeil said. “It’s a grind. Every day is a grind, putting in that work. This is a time when you perfect your craft. This is a time when you make everything perfect.”

The Cardinals started winter workouts in mid-January, and the players already feel a different vibe around the facility during each workout.

”I feel like everyone is buying into what we are trying to do,” Pass said. “I can look around the building and I can see everyone working hard. Everyone is on the same page through the first few weeks of workouts.”

With 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson headed for the NFL, Pass has his embraced his role as the front runner at the quarterback position heading into the start of spring practice on March 20.

”He’s owning it right now,” McNeil said of Pass’ leadership abilities. “I like the atmosphere. He’s the quarterback. When we are doing something right, he’s in our ear, and when he’s not doing it right – we are in his ear.”

—One of the best outside shooters in America utilizes a two-hand set shot.

—College Football attendance in 2017 had the biggest drop in 34 years.

—Shoutout to Brian Bowen’s mom for smashing like on this tweet (seriously).

It’s all coming together.

—Jason Kirk says Notre Dame that in the wake of the NCAA’s recent scratching ruling, the Irish should actually claim more wins, not vacate past wins. I agree and say Louisville does the same if it comes to that.

—Friday Irrelevance:

—The U of L softball team improved to 5-1 on the young season with a 7-6 win over Northwestern this afternoon.

—A mini Sugar Bowl champs reunion is going down a week from Saturday.

—If you’d like to get involved in the fight against childhood cancer, check out the Fight Foundation 5K, which is going down March 24 at Bernheim Forest. Race registration is just 25 bucks. More information here.

—The CJ serves up two keys to a Louisville victory on Saturday.

—ESPN details how a new diet helped Preston Brown become the NFL’s leading tackler.

—Tar Heel Blog tells us three things to watch tomorrow night.

Handling that Deng (Adel) Size

The 6’7” junior is the leading scorer on the team for Louisville this season, and forms a potent force that has size down low. Louisville starts the lean 7’0” Anas Mahmoud, who plays about 25 minutes a game, and the 6’10” Ray Spalding, good for 26. They also can rotate in 6’11” Malik Williams for about 11 minutes. In a lot of ways, the rotation resembles what Carolina had in Meeks, Hicks, and Bradley.

That said, no one in this group is averaging a double double. Spalding is the leading rebounder at 8.8/game, and Adel is snagging 5.1. For perspective, Luke May is averaging 10.1 and Theo Pinson is averaging 6.1, and Carolina has grabbed more rebounds than their opponents in their past six games. This includes Duke and NC State, both of whom have guys significantly taller.

This will probably be the biggest test of the starting lineup to date when it comes to both defending inside and rebounding. Carolina has adjusted their defense to try and account for teams killing them from beyond the arc, but with all of the size that Louisville can throw, one would think that Coach David Padgett will try to pound Carolina inside as much as they can. If Carolina adjusts and slips back into their old ways, it could leave shooters open to bury the Heels. The names to look for there? Ryan McMahon, shooting 40% in 17 minutes a game this season, and Jordan Nwora shooting 49% in 12 minutes. They would follow the script of Allerik Freeman for NC State and John Mooney from Notre Dame. It could be a case of the Heels picking their poison.

On offense, It’ll be interesting to see if Luke Maye repeats his performance from NC State. Louisville’s post is set up very similar to NC State, and Maye outright abused Omer Yurtseven. Looking at the roster, it’s tough to see who can actually come out and guard the junior beyond the arc. Maye would have scored more on Monday night, but he clearly was affected by the third game in five nights, as several short shots couldn’t go down. That shouldn’t be a problem tomorrow.

—There’s more trouble for the Michigan State basketball team.

—There was a lot of buzz that Lukayus McNeil might take his talents to the NFL after last season. He’s back, and he talked about why on Thursday.

—I love how viral this has gone.

—The finalists for Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball have been announced.

—And finally, beat North Carolina.