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Thursday morning Cardinal news and notes

Todd Powers takes the summer tour to Great American Ballpark, home of the hottest team in Major League Baseball.

—The U of L women’s basketball team will play in the South point Thanksgiving Shootout this November in Las Vegas. Perennial power Baylor and noted sideline flail artist Kim Mulkey will also be in the field.

—Jon Rothstein has Louisville at No. 8 in his early ACC power rankings, but expects the Cards to make the NCAA tournament in Chris Mack’s first year on the job.

4. What are the expectations for Chris Mack in Year One at Louisville?

To make the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals don’t have great depth, but there’s still enough left over from both Rick Pitino and David Padgett for this program to hear its name called on Selection Sunday. Mack inherits six players — V.J. King, Darius Perry, Ryan McMahon, Jordan Nwora, Malik Williams, and Dwayne Sutton — who all averaged double-figure minutes a year ago and adds a potential starter in UConn transfer Steve Enoch. Grad transfers Khwan Fore and Christen Cunningham will also be counted upon to provide depth. Louisville can’t afford a major injury and won’t necessarily have enough players on a daily basis to scrimmage, but there’s still enough talent in this program to play meaningful games in March of 2019.

—Alabama is getting paid $1.75 million more than Louisville to play in the Sept. 1 season-opener between the two teams.

—Jason Frakes breaks down the five best non-football Louisville area high school rivalries currently going.


Is it just me or do our guys look noticeably stronger?

I’m fine with our dudes looking the way Bob Huggins’ guys at West Virginia have looked for the past decade. Just as long as they shoot better than the Mountaineers have.

—Ten U of L track and field athletes were named to the ACC’s All-Academic team.

—Lamar Jackson explains that it was comments from a Chargers scout that made him decide not to run the 40 at the combine.

Lamar Jackson recently disclosed he wasn’t aware some teams wanted him to run routes at the NFL Scouting Combine until he was approached by a Los Angeles Chargers scout who inquired about the possibility of seeing him work out as a receiver.

”It was a Chargers scout who told me about it,” Jackson told the Baltimore RavensThe Lounge Podcast (h/t Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio). “He was the first one to come to me about it. I’m like, ‘What?’ He caught me off guard with it. I even made a face at first like, ‘What?’ I thought he was trying to be funny, but he kept going with it. So it just became blown out of proportion.”

Jackson added he opted not to run the 40-yard dash because he only wanted teams to view him as a quarterback prospect:

”So that was the first time I heard it, I was like, ‘What?’ Like he was like, ‘Oh, Lamar are you gonna go out for wide receiver routes?’ I was like...’No...I don’t recall saying that, I don’t remember telling you guys I’d go out for receiver routes.’ I’m like, ‘No, quarterback only.’ So that made me not run the 40 and participate in all the other stuff.”

—Bucky Brooks says (video) that Baltimore is the perfect environment for Lamar.

—ESPN’s updated early college hoops rankings for 2018-19 now have Kentucky at No. 1. If Louisville were to play both Kansas and Tennessee (they’re guaranteed to play at least one) in the preseason NIT, they would have games against seven of the top 10 teams.

—I will not be watching.

Never forget.

—Donovan Mitchell has picked up an ESPY nomination for Best Breakthrough Athlete.

—The NCAA is coming after AAU basketball.

—I’ll take updates whenever and wherever I can get them.

—Teddy Bridgewater is still fighting, and still winning.

—David Padgett — who is surprisingly still available for hire — believes Ray Spalding can be the steal of the 2018 draft.

—Aspire Academy’s academic partner will now be Holy Cross High School instead of DeSales.

—Love the original sign, but I also have to admit I enjoyed the Calipari response.

—The CJ is the latest to write about 6’7 incoming Holy Cross freshman Kiyaunta Goodwin, who picked up scholarship offers from Alabama and Florida State earlier this month.

—The Orlando Sentinel has Louisville at No. 66 in its preseason college football countdown.

Strengths: Jackson’s departure will drastically alter Louisville’s offense.

Instead of a dual-threat quarterback, Pass is a pocket passer who will allow Petrino to employ more pro-style elements into the mix.

During Louisville’s spring game, Pass completed 26 of 37 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns.

And he already has a favorite target in the passing game in Dez Fitzpatrick, who had eight catches for 174 yards with two touchdowns during the spring game. Fitzpatrick led the Cardinals with nine touchdowns and 699 yards receiving last season.

Weaknesses: The Cardinals’ defense was in the bottom five of the ACC, giving up averages 27.4 points and 388.1 yards per game last season. And an already porous unit loses eight of its starters heading into next season.

But Petrino is counting on new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder to help the unit make some strides. Linebacker Dorian Etheridge, who led the team with 83 total tackles last season, is emerging as a leader of the defense, which loses strong players such as cornerback Jaire Alexander, defensive end James Hearns, linebacker Stacy Thomas and defensive tackle Trevon Young.

Outlook: Petrino’s team could surely experience growing pains, with a new quarterback leading the offense and a new defensive coordinator implementing a new system.

Outside of matchups against Alabama, FSU and Clemson, Louisville could be a team in transition or an overachiever this season.

—Help vote Slugger Field as the best Triple-A stadium in America.

—Louisville City FC suffered its first home loss of the USL season Wednesday night.

—Congrats to Greg.

—Angel McCoughtry has been named the WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

—Jeff Greer breaks down five potential starting lineups for Chris Mack’s first Louisville team.

—These videos from the Chris Mack Basketball Camp are pretty terrific.

I love how into it both V.J. and Darius are.

—Kyle Kuric will spend the upcoming season playing in Barcelona.

—The NCAA is re-evaluating its academic integrity rules in an apparent attempt to avoid another UNC situation.

—I’m not necessarily saying I disapprove, but are recruits bringing personal videographers on campus visits with them now?

If this makes Kobe Brown to Louisville more likely, then I’m all for it.

—SB Nation’s college football staff says the power five conferences should scrap divisions, and they have a plan for how that could happen.

—UConn is trying to argue that they fired Kevin Ollie for reasons other than him not winning enough basketball games. Their arguments are pretty hollow, and now Ollie is threatening to sue.

There are gonna be some wild ass stories told at the 2013-14 AAC basketball coaches five-year reunion.

—I enjoy jamming Jordan Nwora.

—Trey Lewis has been added to the Utah Jazz’s summer league roster.

—State of the U remembers Miami’s 2004 win over Louisville. It remains decidedly uncool.

—Teddy Bridgewater is entering Jets camp second on the QB depth chart. Bilal Powell is currently penciled in as the starting RB.

—Athlon ranks Louisville’s 2018 schedule from weakest to toughest games.

4. Oct. 13 at Boston College

The Eagles could be one of the surprise teams in the country. Running back AJ Dillion is one of the best at his position and is one of 15 total starters returning. Outside of Clemson and Florida State, Boston College could emerge as the Atlantic Division’s best team.

3. Sept. 29 vs. Florida State

While there’s some transition at Tallahassee, the Seminoles should reclaim their spot among the best in the ACC. Florida State has two solid options at quarterback in Deondre Francois and James Blackman. While the Seminoles probably won’t challenge Clemson in the Atlantic this year, getting back to double-digit wins is possible.

2. Nov. 3 at Clemson

There’s a case to be made that the Tigers are the most talented team entering the 2018 season. Clemson returns 14 starters, including the nation’s best defensive line. The Tigers could go undefeated during the regular season, and no one would be surprised.

1. Sept. 1 vs. Alabama (in Orlando, Fla.)

Louisville hasn’t shied away from playing tough opponents to start the season, but the defending national champions present an entirely different kind of challenge. The Crimson Tide will be loaded again defensively, making this a less-than-ideal matchup for Jawon Pass’ debut as the Cardinals’ starting quarterback.

—Yellow Jacked Up says Louisville is Georgia Tech’s fourth most important game of the upcoming season.

—And finally, a good read here on Kevin Ware, who reflects on his playing career both at Louisville and overseas.