—Spread check (Music City Bowl): Mississippi State by 4.
—Louisville has made the final three for class of 2020 point guard Jalen Terry out of Michigan. Oregon and LSU are the other finalists for Terry’s services.
—Louisville’s men’s basketball players are getting a mini-break to go home and spend a couple days with family before setting their full sights on the Dec. 28 game in Lexington.
“It’s good that our guys get a chance to see their families — even though it’s not on Christmas, it’s around Christmas. They’ll adjust and figure out when Santa’s coming down the chimney for each of the households,” Mack joked Wednesday night. “Meanwhile, the coaches will be doing everything we can to get ready for a really good team on the 28th.”
Junior guard Darius Perry said he was looking forward to taking some time to see his family. As he was speaking, Kentucky was just beginning its late Wednesday loss to Utah — and you could bet Perry would be keeping a close eye on the game when he left the podium.
”It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be a good time to go see the family and enjoy ourselves, but I don’t think me or any other guys really take many days off,” Perry said. ”I think we’re all going to be in the gym working out and doing what we’re supposed to be doing to get better, and then we’re looking forward to our next game.”
—Jeff Walz wasn’t thrilled with his team’s performance Thursday night at UT-Martin, but he was thrilled that they found a way to win.
—Louisville signee JJ Traynor scored 23 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked five shots, but his Bardstown squad fell to the David Levitch-led North Oldham Mustangs in the King of the Bluegrass tournament.
—If you have the opportunity to have Lamar Jackson autograph a photoshopped picture of him carrying your dog like a football, you take it.
The best thing @Lj_era8 has ever autographed? I think so! (Credit to @alyssacrosby for the artwork)— Pete Nochta (@pete_nochta13) December 20, 2019
@SquirtTheDog8 appreciates the love! pic.twitter.com/Bj6cYVzcMx
—Jeff Walz’s U19 gold medal squad has been named one of USA Basketball’s Teams of the Year.
—After his monster last couple of years, Montrezl Harrell is expected to make at least $20 million annually in free agency.
—Congrats to Kylee Shook on becoming Louisville’s all-time blocked shots leader.
BLOCKING SHOTS & !!!— Louisville WBB (@UofLWBB) December 20, 2019
Kylee Shook is now the leader for all-time blocked shots!#GoCards pic.twitter.com/Srvf0ILhqY
—I got David Halberstam’s Best American Sportswriting of the Century one year for Christmas as a kid and probably read Tom Wolfe’s famous “The Last American Hero” Esquire piece 15 times growing up. RIP, Junior Johnson.
—Danielle Lerner focuses (Athletic link) on David Johnson, who may be Louisville’s long term answer at point guard.
“I want to be able to give him some freedom out there to make mistakes, to play through them,” Mack says. “I think long term, his potential is through the roof. As long as he’s giving great effort in practice, he’s improving, I want to be able to figure out a way to get him on the floor at times.”
If that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement for Johnson as the Cardinals’ go-to showrunner, that’s because it’s not. Perry and Kimble might not be comparable to dominant Louisville guards of years past such as Peyton Siva and Russ Smith, and both struggled mightily in a Dec. 10 loss to Texas Tech, but that doesn’t mean Johnson has proven he deserves to replace them.
Johnson is confident but not presumptuous. He knows Perry, a junior, and Kimble, a grad transfer, have a substantial edge in experience, and he can see flaws in his own game. After going 2-of-3 from the field for five points with two assists and three turnovers in a season-high 17 minutes against Eastern Kentucky last Saturday, Johnson conservatively grades his performance a C-minus.
“I mean, I wish they never happened but mistakes are going to happen,” he says. “Now, going forward I know that those can’t happen. I’ll be a lot sharper when I’m playing and thinking about stuff like that.”
—Heading into a loaded Saturday, Louisville is No. 4 in Gary Parrish’s daily rankings for CBS.
—Who said kids are hard to please this time of year?
@CardChronicle only thing my 2 year old wanted for Christmas....go cards! pic.twitter.com/cUDu9QJK8u— Matty B (@mbasham022) December 21, 2019
—Ultimately, James Wiseman decided that he didn’t need the NCAA or college basketball. Both could have used him this year.
—Pat Forde asks if the James Wiseman experienced did anybody any good.
—I won’t listen to this unless he admitted it.
Please tell me he admitted how badly he traveled. https://t.co/1hI79gWIZ7— David Padgett (@coachDPadgett) December 19, 2019
—The Wall Street Journal looks back at the decade where numbers broke sports.
—U of L women’s soccer star Emina Ekic has received a second national honor for her play in 2019.
—Athletes who don’t take themselves too seriously are always awesome.
Ja almost ended my professional career with this dunk...that kid is something special https://t.co/5SxCItAMba— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) December 21, 2019
—The national POY buzz is mounting for Jordan Nwora.
—A very happy birthday to Louisville football coach Scott Satterfield. Thank you for giving us another football game to look forward to this holiday season.
—Louisville signee D’Andre Davis knocked down the game-winner for Indianapolis Lawrence Central Friday night.
COUNT IT! Dre Davis comes up clutch for @LCHSAthletics! Bears lead 65-63 with 8 seconds left in the game! @indyhsscores pic.twitter.com/fWqA9f1N4g— Ryan Gregory (@Ryan_Gregory_) December 21, 2019
—AL.com remembers the 2002 GMAC Bowl, where Louisville got smashed by Marshall and everyone found out at halftime that John L. Smith was leaving for Michigan State.
—Louisville sits at No. 7 in the latest women’s basketball power rankings from CBS.
7. Louisville (11-1)
Louisville is a really good team, but it’s difficult to find a one-loss team that has been on more of a roller coaster the past three weeks than the Cardinals. After a big-time win over Baylor, the Cardinals struggled in their next game against Ohio State, and fell to the Buckeyes 67-60. Last weekend, Louisville traveled to Rupp Arena to take on rival Kentucky and came away with a hard-fought one-point victory. Louisville is a dangerous team. They have one of the country’s best coaches in Jeff Walz and a tough ACC schedule should prepare them quite well for another NCAA Tournamentrun.
Dana Evans has been terrific for the Cardinals so far, averaging 19 PPG and shooting 46% from 3-point range. Jazmine Jones and Kylee Shook have also played key roles in Louisville’s success so far this season and Walz will look for them to build on their strong start as ACC play picks up. I’m struggling to move this team up this week, despite their big win at Kentucky, as they’ve just been too inconsistent with their play. They survived a double overtime game against UT-Martin Thursday, just days after the big win at Rupp. That said, this Louisville team, is likely the favorite to win the ACC, with Florida State and North Carolina State right on its heels. The Cardinals begin ACC play on Dec. 29 when they host Syracuse. Previous: 7
—The Louisville Bats are calling 2020 the “Year of the Fan.” Hopefully it goes better than U of L athletics’ “Year of the Fan.”
—Major shoutout to Mary Robinson for making sure the baby is going to be able to let everyone know that the Cards are Back all winter long.
—Mississippi State is continuing its prep for Louisville in the Music City Bowl.
—It’s unbelievable how wide Lamar Jackson’s appeal has become over the last few months.
Lamar Jackson isn’t just the buzz of the sports world.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) December 19, 2019
Even Al Pacino is talking about him.
Here is Pacino on Jackson (from @jakeks19’s oral history of Any Given Sunday)
(H/t @andrewgrutt) pic.twitter.com/cxiZRettkN
—SEC football will likely be leaving CBS for ESPN/ABC after the 2023 season.
—Are the Buccaneers preparing to make their move for Teddy Bridgewater?
—Lamar is still doing awesome Lamar things.
Nate is the student manager of the Hershey High School football team and it was awesome to have him here today. @Lj_era8 had to stop by to show love. pic.twitter.com/9gOW4ROYYf— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 20, 2019
—And finally, congrats to Will Stein, who has been named the new passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach at UTSA.