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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

That’s Gavin LaPaille hanging with Lamar Jackson at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a place where Jackson may one day take up a more permanent residence. Or at least his name will. He’s not going to live there or anything.

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—Spread check (football): Louisville by 9.5.

—It’s game day for the 8th-ranked U of L women’s basketball team which will host Chattanooga this evening. Here’s a preview.

—Lucas Aulbach of the CJ writes about Louisville basketball’s response to its first real adversity of the season Wednesday night.

—After last night’s action, Jordan Nwora has taken a comfortable lead in Ken Pomeroy’s Player of the Year standings.

—It’s NCAA tournament match day for both the U of L men’s and women’s soccer teams. The men are at home hosting South Florida in the first round, while the women are on the road to face No. 2 overall seed BYU in the second round.

—Speaking of which, this thing that the women’s soccer team does where every player writes a letter of appreciation to another player is really great.

—The happiest 60th birthday to the greatest of all-time, Sir Kenny Klein.

—Conor Shea of takes a deep dive into the “Chali-Throw” fake field goal play.

—Danielle Lerner of The Athletic recaps an “eerie” Wednesday night inside the KFC Yum Center.

That paradox, and the anxious spells of silence from the stands, lent itself to an atmosphere Louisville coach Chris Mack described as an “eeriness.”

The Cardinals forced the Spartans to play deep into the shot clock, but once the first few shots fell anyway, Mack said, “Our guys responded the wrong way. It was almost as if they’re supposed to miss those shots, and this was supposed to be an easier game. And sometimes you fall prey to human nature.”

Louisville pulled it together in the final 12 minutes with a combination of defensive intensity and transition offense to end the game on a 32-7 run, punctuated by the debut of freshman guard David Johnson and the return of junior center Malik Williams.

The Cardinals weathered a sluggish start and avoided a colossal upset, the likes of which we have already seen plenty of around the college basketball landscape.

But it’s all uphill from here, and that’s precisely the message Mack delivered to his team at the conclusion of Wednesday’s game.

“We are going to be put in some tough moments,” he said. “To be honest with you, tonight wasn’t as tough a moment as we’re gonna find in the next month or two, but it’s good for a team to figure it out.”

—Every few years this story gets written and it’s always fascinating: College hoops doesn’t have a regulation basketball, which means road teams often have to play with balls that feel significantly different than the ones they’re used to. And yes, I’m aware of the 85 layers of double entendre in that last sentence, but I’m also too lazy to spend any amount of time thinking of a different way to phrase it.

—Andy Staples writes (Athletic link) that if Grand Canyon can create the biggest party in college basketball out of thin air, other schools have no excuse for putting on boring games.

—Donovan Mitchell agrees.

—Cameron Teague of the CJ has three keys to success for Louisville against Syracuse.

—It’s nice to hear that Louisville helped out in the process to get former QB Jordan Travis eligible immediately at Florida State.

In February, the ACC decided to get rid of the rule requiring a player to be in residence at his school for at least a year before transferring. As for the intraconference aspect, Florida State received cooperation from Louisville about the transfer. That left the NCAA rule.

While all this was going on, Travis fully participated in spring practice without knowing if he would be allowed to play in the 2019 season.

“It was very stressful,” Travis said of the process in August. “But my supporting cast — my family, my coaches, my teammates — everyone helped me get through it. I know at the end of the day, God had a plan for me.

“(Devon’s) probably been the most supportive person to me. That’s my guy. He’s my best friend. He’s been there for everything. He’s been giving me encouragement every day and pushing me. Even on tough days, he’s calling me every day and just pushing me through it.”

Florida State submitted Travis’ waiver request, which included a one-page statement he wrote, to the NCAA in April. It was denied in June. The Seminoles appealed the decision to the NCAA’s Committee on Legislative Relief, which approved the waiver in late July. Next up was the ACC; FSU had held off on formally submitting a request to the league until getting word from the NCAA. It took until August, but the ACC ruled Travis eligible for the 2019 season.

—Lamar Jackson currently leads all NFL players in Pro Bowl voting.

—I went on the Fundamentally Sound podcast to talk about the big week ahead in college hoops and how the Maui Invitational final moving to earlier in the day on Thanksgiving Eve is a crime against humanity.

—Jordan Nwora would like to clarify the whole “biggest fear is guinea pigs” thing.

—The updated future lines at Westgate in Las Vegas would have Louisville football as a 3.5-point underdog at Kentucky if the game was being played today.

—ESPN has U of L as the biggest winner from the early signing period of national signing week in women’s basketball.


Louisville climbed into the top five of the class rankings with a late commit, No. 8 prospect Hailey Van Lith, a silky-smooth lefty guard. The Cardinals also signed No. 18 Olivia Cochran, a gold medalist with Team USA’s U18 3-on-3 team in the FIBA World Cup in 2018 and a physical dominator in the block. They also landed three-star guard Merissah Russell and top junior college guard Ahlana Smith, who transferred from UCLA to juco powerhouse Gulf Coast State and could contribute right away at Louisville next season.

—Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician has a fake preview of this weekend’s game against the Cards.

—Daytime college basketball on national TV is officially back today with the start of the Myrtle beach Invitational and Charleston Classic tournaments. Here’s your full guide to this year’s early season tournaments.

And also a reminder: You are allowed to walk out of class or work when live college basketball is being played on national TV. It’s one of the amendments.

—If you have the means to do so, help out the Turkey Stock crew today.

—Eric Crawford writes about the win over USC Upstate.

—College Football News likes Louisville over Syracuse by a touchdown this weekend.

—ACC hoops from last night (besides Louisville-USC Upstate):

No. 5 North Carolina 75, Elon 61

Florida State 89, Chattanooga 53

Boston College 72, Eastern Washington 68

Georgia 82, Georgia Tech 78

Virginia Tech 100, Delaware State 64

Syracuse 72, Cornell 53

—ACC hoops today/tonight:

Miami vs. Missouri State (Charleston Classic First Round — 11:30 a.m./ESPNU)

Pittsburgh vs. Arkansas Pine-Bluff (7 p.m./ACCNx)

Clemson vs. Alabama A&M (7 p.m./ACCNx)

Notre Dame vs. Toledo (8:30 p.m./ACC Network)

No. 1 Duke vs. California (2K Empire Classic semifinals — 9 p.m./ESPN2)

—The official art for the 2020 Kentucky Derby and Oaks has been revealed.

—Scott Satterfield went one-on-one with WDRB to talk about the surprising level of success Louisville has achieved in his first year on the job.

—The CJ looks at the Louisville schools still alive in the Kentucky high school football playoffs.

—And finally, R&R will be live from the Roosters on Shelbyville Rd. this afternoon from 3-6:10 (10 extra minutes!). Scott Satterfield will join for his weekly sit-down. You can listen here.