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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Russ and Sherry Lytle didn’t bring back the result they wanted, but they still had fun supporting the Cards in the Big Apple.

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—Spread check (Music City Bowl): Louisville by 3.5.

Follow-up: There seems to be some confusion about the line for this game. A lot of places have this as Mississippi State -3.5 (or close to it), and even more are refusing to give a line. For now we’ll stick with the Vegas Insider spread.

—CBS’ Matt Norlander serves up his takeaways from Louisville’s first loss of the 2019-20 season.

—Jordan Sperber has a fantastic video breakdown that illustrates a big part of what went wrong for Louisville inside the Garden Tuesday night.

—U of L is now offering three-game ticket packages for the upcoming ACC potion of the men’s basketball season.

—Jordan Nwora and Jay Scrubb both make appearances in Sports Illustrated’s latest NBA mock draft.

18. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville | Junior

Height: 6’7” | Weight: 220 | Age: 21

After flirting with the draft in the spring and returning to Louisville, Nwora has successfully made the leap as one of college basketball’s top scorers. His catch-and-shoot skills are NBA-caliber, he’s a solid rebounder, and has begun to round out his game a bit with improved ball skills. Nwora likely will never be a great perimeter defender or playmaker, but there’s always been plenty to like—projectable perimeter shooting coupled with size and a nice complementary floor game can go a long way. He continues to profile pretty safely as a role player at the next level, and continued strong play from Louisville should help keep his stock steady.


53. Jayden Scrubb, SG, John Logan | Sophomore

Height: 6’6” | Weight: 215 | Age: 19

Scrubb is committed to play at Louisville this season, but it remains to be seen whether or not he makes it to campus or opts to enter the draft. He’s got great physical tools, but lacks a great feel for anything other than scoring, and even then, his stats may be inflated somewhat by a ball-dominant, high-volume role at Logan. NBA teams are keeping an eye on him, but right now he’s more of a curiosity, and would likely benefit from going to college and learning how to fit into a more team-centric role. Scrubb can really score, but he’s extremely left-hand dominant, and the competition at his level isn’t very challenging, either.

—After 21 seasons on the job, U of L men’s golf coach Mark Crabtree announced his retirement on Wednesday.

—The Bellarmine Knights are up to No. 1 in one Division-II poll.

—Louisville is No. 4 in Gary Parrish’s daily rankings for CBS.

—Rob Dauster of NBC Sports ranks the best college basketball teams of the last decade, and has Louisville’s 2012-13 squad at No. 10.


RECORD: 35-5 (14-4 Big East)

WHAT THEY WON: Big East regular season title, Big East tournament title, national title

WHO WERE THE STARS?: Russ Smith, Peyton Siva, Gorgui Dieng, Luke Hancock, Montrezl Harrell

Before we get into it, I need to clarify something: I know you remember this team. I know that you watched them win the national title, and that we all remember Russdiculous doing Russdiculous things and Luke Hancock hitting four straight threes in the title game. But none of that happened. The NCAA erased it all from the history books when they punished Louisville.

So just remember that, as we discuss this group, you are legally barred from actually remembering them. It’s the NCAA’s rule, my hands are tied.

In all seriousness, this was one of my favorite college basketball teams of the decade. It was the last great team from the old Big East, winning a share of the regular season title before taking home the Big East tournament title. They finished the season with the second-best rating in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric in his database, and they did it all with one of the most entertaining players we’ve ever seen in Russ Smith. They played fast, they forced turnovers and they were the crowning achievement for Rick Pitino, who went from building the best team of the 1990s at Kentucky to one of the best teams of the 2010s at Louisville.

—Sheldon Rankins just cannot catch a break. The former Card will miss the remainder of the NFL season because of a severe ankle injury.

—Boston College running back A.J. Dillon is skipping his senior season and will not play in the team’s bowl game later this month.

—An 8-year-old Louisville boy is in desperate need of a living kidney donor. More information here.

—The Athletic has named Javian Hawkins a Freshman All-American.

RB Javian Hawkins, Louisville: The redshirt freshman they call “PlayStation” ranks No. 7 nationally in rushing with his 1,420 yards and eight touchdowns. Hawkins surpassed 100 yards in seven games and ran for 233 against Syracuse. He’s recorded just as many 20-plus yard carries (18) as Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins and Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard.

Recruiting background: 3-star prospect in 2019 class from Cocoa (Fla.) High

—Danielle Lerner examines how Texas Tech took the fight to Louisville Tuesday night and the Cards didn’t respond.

—Jarrett Culver’s brother scored 100 points in an NAIA game Tuesday night. If you have those genes, and are capable of putting up that number, how are you not on a D-I roster?

—In-house recruiting would probably be a lot more fun if you got a cake every time you did it.

—The story of former Texas Tech walk-on Avery Benson was one everyone wanted to tell after Tuesday night.

—Dana O’Neil of The Athletic also told the story.

—Former Louisville linebacker Robert “The Hammer” McCune is one of 10 people charged in a nationwide health care fraud scheme.

—Pro Football Focus pegs TuTu Atwell as one of the most underrated players of the 2019 college football season.


If you don’t know the name Tutu Atwell, be sure to remember it. As a true sophomore, Atwell recorded a PFF receiving grade that ranks fourth at his position, at 90.1. Standing at 5-foot-9 and weighing in at just over 150 pounds, Atwell has been one of the nation’s best receivers after the catch and, in turn, one of the most productive. Along with hauling in the third-most yards after catch per reception, at 11.5, Atwell has averaged 4.17 yards per route run. That’s the second-highest mark in the entire FBS.

Atwell is used extensively in the short passing attack with his after the catch ability, and he clearly thrives in that role. Whenever he was targeted at a depth of five yards or less, Atwell was the leader of the pack in PFF grade, at 91.8 (second at 86.6), and came away with the most explosive plays (9) and yards after catch per reception (15.0) on those. His style of play is unconventional, but it’s also incredibly difficult to contain at the college level.

—This lengthy read on the NCAA looking the other as way too many college athletes go unpunished for sex offenses is worth your time.

—The ACC Digital Network lays out the most memorable moments of the year for the conference.

—The Louisville volleyball team has arrived in Austin, where they’ll face No. 2 Texas in the Sweet 16 Friday at 4 p.m. ET. Here’s a preview.

—Viva the Matadors praises the Texas Tech role players who led the Red Raiders past Louisville on Tuesday.

—Lamar Jackson has become the NFL’s can’t-miss sensation we were all hoping he could be.

He’s out there destroying entire fields and defenses in a way that keeps you glued to your screen. The Ravens, typically known for their defense that will beat the snot out of your favorite team, now have an offense you have to plan your trips to the bathroom around.

Lamar Jackson is now appointment viewing. There’s only a handful of athletes or teams across sports that have reached such a level. Serena Williams and Tiger Woods are a couple that come to mind. Now whenever Lamar is going to be on TV, you’d be mistaken to not gather your closest friends and family around to see what he’ll do next.

And you know he’s great when we refer to him as simply “Lamar.” That’s how it is for all the greats no matter their profession, be it sports, music, art, whatever. We should also try to enjoy every second of it that we can, because the violent nature of football doesn’t promise anything when it comes to the human body.

Lamar has been discussed and viewed as many different things by many different people, but it feels like we’re finally nearing a point where nobody can say anything other than, “Shit, he’s good.”

And that’s just perfect.

—The latest national swim and dive rankings have the U of L women at No. 11 and the men at No. 13.

—Cardinal Authority ranks the five best Louisville bowl wins of all-time.

—Lamar Jackson says his Heisman Trophy vote is going toJoe Burrow.

—Dammit, GMA.

—The CJ looks at notable U of L hoops stats through 10 games.

—Rookie Wire has Jordan Nwora going 26th overall in its latest NBA mock draft.

—The Athletic tells the story of some of the many Tennessee fans who jumped too quickly and bought Music City Bowl tickets on Sunday.

His wife warned him he might want to wait. Fearing a price jump when demand peaked later in the day, he pounced.

Chambers bought three front-row tickets in Section 101, and he felt like he’d come away with a steal for the $397 price tag.

Later that day, he got home and logged onto the bowl website and saw advertisements for Mississippi State versus Louisville. He was confused and called Ticketmaster in hopes of getting a refund.

“They told me they can’t do anything about it and now I’m stuck with three tickets for a game I’m not going to go to,” Chambers said. “The announcements were coming from people with the blue check (verified users on social media), though, you know? That was a done deal, and all the predictions from the night before were saying Music City Bowl, so once I saw it, I pulled the trigger.”

He’s posted his tickets on Facebook Marketplace in the Starkville and Louisville areas with no luck, besides a few spam emails that were less than convincing. He’s also posted them on Ticketmaster’s resale board but hasn’t gotten any nibbles on unloading the tickets that rapidly depreciated in value.

“It’s pretty frustrating. It sucks,” Chambers said. “I’m sitting here out $400 and wondering if I’m going to get any of it back.”

—Winners and Whiners has a succinct preview of the Music City Bowl.

—Rascal Flatts will play at the Music City Bowl’s postgame party.

—And finally, the espnW staff take an in-depth look at this Sunday’s women’s basketball showdown between Louisville and Kentucky.