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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Derek LaCoste is a 2012 U of L grad now flying F-16’s for the Air Force. He’s ready for the Cards to take their penultimate step towards bowl eligibility.

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—Spread check: Virginia by 3.5.

—If you hadn’t heard, the weather forecast is not looking spectacular for Saturday afternoon.

—”Finish” remains Chris Mack’s primary message (Athletic link) as the 2019-20 Louisville basketball season draws closer.

Many of the Cardinals’ late-game slips started when their lead was nine points or greater and a win was seemingly in hand. Those moments are the most dangerous, McMahon said.

There’s no drills or anything that you can do to teach a team how to finish a game like that,” McMahon said. “It comes down to having the mental strength and fortitude to do what you do every single play. Even when the pressure is gone.”

A lot of that will depend on maturity.

Redshirt senior forward Dwayne Sutton said the Cardinals “played nervous” last season while still getting acclimated to a new system. But that’s no excuse for lack of effort, he said.

“Certain games we were playing not to lose instead of playing to win,” Sutton said. “We were playing to get the game over with. This year if we get up four, get up six or however much you can’t be afraid to make mistakes. You’ve got to play the whole 40 minutes and then whatever happens, happens.”

The story also quotes Sutton as saying that Louisville came out “lackadaisical” for its scrimmage against Ohio State and quickly fell behind by 15 in the first half.

—It’s Hall of Fame induction day for U of L’s 2019 class of Francisco Garcia, Eric Wood, Angel McCoughty, Wesley Korir, Lacy Wood and Cindy LaCrosse. Congrats to all the inductees.

—A handful of former players will be in town for Saturday’s Homecoming game against Virginia (did you hear the Ravens are off this week?), and it looks like they’ll be taking part in the Card March festivities.

—Speaking of that, Lamar spent a solid chunk of his Thursday hanging around with the Louisville football team.

Just like on the basketball side, it’s awesome to see the program’s current pro superstars stay so loyal to U of L despite the staff they played for no longer being around.

—Chris Mack says Darius Perry is “a ton better” from last year.

—CBS is out with its annual ranking of the 101 best players in college basketball, and two Cardinals made the cut this year.

6. Jordan Nwora, Louisville: Lofty praise for the preseason ACC Player of the Year, who averaged 17.0 points and 7.6 rebounds last season. He’s the highest-rated player returning to the conference, and given how big a boost he had from freshman to sophomore year, if he can grow all the more as a junior, he’ll have Louisville contending for an ACC title. — MN

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88. Samuell Williamson, Louisville: Louisville already had a strong returning nucleus from last season, but the addition of a long wing with Williamson’s skill set boosts the Cards up a notch. He’s a tough player with a competitive edge who gives Chris Mack’s team length and shot-making. — KB

—The Daily Progress breaks down the position matchups for tomorrow’s Louisville-Virginia game.

—The UVA student newspaper also serves up its preview of the game.

—Top of the x and y axis. Nbd.

—ESPN has severed ties with the New Mexico Bowl’s title sponsor because it apparently isn’t a real company. Maybe there are too many bowls.

—Streaking the Lawn previews Saturday’s game and likes the visitor’s chances.

Conclusion

Virginia teams over the past decade or so would not win this game. They haven’t been in these situations very often, and it hasn’t gone well when they have. But doesn’t this feel like a different team?

As they say, “defense travels”. The offense has struggled on the road (and at times at home). But the defense has been steady all game. Clemson and Notre Dame are the two best defenses Louisville has played and they averaged just 323 yards and 13 points. Virginia’s defense is in the same league as those two teams. If they hold the Cardinals to that kind of output, they’ll win the game.

Prediction: Virginia 24, Louisville 14 (season record: 7-0)

—C.J. Avery’s versatility has made him one of the most productive players on the defensive side of the ball for Louisville this season.

—The 12th-ranked U of L women’s soccer team took a 3-0 loss at No. 1 Virginia Thursday night. The loss was just the Cards’ second of the season.

—That 22.5 number seems awfully low for this Louisville team given its schedule.

—Dan McDonnell is joining the ranks of those who believe there need to be more scholarships in college baseball.

—Jeff Goodman looks at 20 coaches on the rise in college basketball. One of them is on Louisville’s 2019-20 schedule.

—Rob Dauster of NBC looks at the x-factor for each team in his college hoops preseason top 25.

4. LOUISVILLE: Fresh Kimble

The Cardinals have a point guard problem, and the truth is that the x-factor for that group is going to be whoever actually wins the job. But here’s the thing: Darius Perry isn’t winning that job, and David Johnson is out for a while with a shoulder injury. That leaves Fresh Kimble, the grad transfer from St. Joe’s, with the weight on his shoulders. He averaged 15 points in the Atlantic 10 last season, so he has some scoring ability, but playing on a Cardinals team that is this good means that he is going to be asked to do a lot more than just score.

—While Louisville obviously could make a large statement with an upset of Virginia tomorrow, Streaking the Lawn says the game also represents a huge opportunity for the Cavaliers.

—Athlon serves up its preview of the 2019-20 Louisville basketball team.

—I miss the old NBA Finals logo.

—The CJ highlights three matchups to watch in Louisville-Virginia.

—The full college basketball coaching salary and buyout database for 2019-20 is out, and Chris Mack will be the 8th-highest-paid coach in the sport this season.

8. Chris Mack – Louisville

Total Compensation: $4,000,000

Additional Compensation: None

Notes: $2 million in base salary, $2 million in additional compensation

Max Bonus: $475,000

Buyout if Fired Without Cause: 36 months’ worth of base salary and additional compensation (currently $12 million)

Buyout if Coach Terminates Contract: $5.5 million if on/before March 31, 2020; $5 million between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021

Contract Term Ends: March 31, 2025; Mack’s contract term will be extended by one year for each season that Louisville faces a postseason ban or reduction of scholarships by the NCAA

The five highest-paid coaches (in order): Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari, Mick Cronin(!), Rick Barnes and Bill self.

—Busting Brackets gives an overview of the recruitment of class of 2020 prospect Jalen Terry, who received a scholarship offer from Chris Mack earlier this week.

—Whether he ever admits it or not, this man loves the fact that his team didn’t look the part of a top five squad in its scrimmage against Ohio State.

—Saturday Blitz makes three bold predictions about Louisville vs. Virginia.

—The 5th-ranked Louisville field hockey team dropped a 2-1 double OT decision to William & Mary on Thursday.

—Friday Irrelevance:

—Swish Appeal says that with Notre Dame retooling, Louisville and NC State have a chance to dominate the ACC in women’s basketball this winter.

—The Louisville-Bellarmine game notes indicate that Darius Perry, Ryan McMahon, Jordan Nwora, Dwayne Sutton and Steven Enoch will make up your first starting lineup of the 2019-20 season.

It’ll be awfully interesting to see if that’s the same lineup we see in 11 days at Miami.

—Bryce Perkins is hoping to (figuratively and maybe literally) hurdle Louisville again.

—And finally, beat Virginia.