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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Go Cards. Beat Michigan.

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—Spread check: Louisville by 5.5.

—Token reminder that tonight’s game is a White Out. You should wear white. Jordan Nwora will be wearing white.

—Mekhi Becton and TuTu Atwell are both Pro Football Focus Fist Team All-ACC honorees.

—Louisville’s offense has struggled this season when Ryan McMahon has been on the bench, a trend Hoops Insight dives into here.

What You Should Know: When Ryan McMahon is in the game, UofL’s offense is otherworldly. Take a look at the difference when McMahon is in and out of the game (all stats below exclude garbage time):

With McMahon in, the team hits almost half of their threes. When he sits, they hit a quarter of them. Oddly enough, the team shoots threes just as often regardless of whether McMahon is in or not. As you’d imagine, UofL’s offense drops off considerably when they shoot a lot of threes but hit them much less often.

Luckily, McMahon plays a lot; he’s played over 80% of UofL’s non-garbage time minutes.

What Is Happening? The key is who’s taking the shots. McMahon is UofL’s best outside shooter this season at 54%, so losing him is a big deal, but Dwayne Sutton (53%) and Jordan Nwora (50%) have also been outstanding from outside. Nwora and Sutton play quite a bit when McMahon sits; at least 1 of them has been in for 79 of the 80 possessions McMahon sits, and both have been in together for over half of the time McMahon is out. You wouldn’t expect UofL to fall off so much when they still have 2 serious outside shooting threats...but take a look at how the 3 point shots have been distributed when McMahon sits:

Nwora and Sutton are still unconscious when McMahon sits, but they get a smaller share of the outside shots.

—247 Sports highlights Jawon Pass as a high level player who could potentially enter the NCAA transfer portal.

—One player who has taken that step is Male High School product Keion Wakefield, who had a tough time getting on the field behind Louisville’s talented starting wide receivers. Wakefield, like most U of L transfers before him, was complimentary of the program and Scott Satterfield before announcing his intention to leave.

—Rick Bozich writes that Louisville vs. Michigan is many things, but mainly it’s a reminder of why we love college basketball.

—U of L sits at No. 4 in the final regular season ACC football power rankings from

—Louisville has been the fastest starting team in college basketball so far this season.

—U of L QB commit Tee Webb talks about his in-home visit from Scott Satterfield and two other U of L assistants this week.

—CJ Moore of The Athletic is on the visitors tonight.

No. 4 Michigan at No. 1 Louisville (-6½), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN: Vegas is giving Michigan credit because favors Louisville by eight, and typically the Vegas lines mirror kenpom.

The computers are still having trouble computing how good the Wolverines are. They got a preseason knock because of John Beilein leaving and a rookie coach in Juwan Howard taking over, but the early returns say there hasn’t been a drop off in Ann Arbor. Michigan is just as elite defensively, and Howard’s offense appears to have plenty of Beilein influence, which means the transition hasn’t been difficult.

To really understand why you cannot fully buy into the computers this early in the year, take a look at the adjusted defensive efficiencies of these two teams. The Cardinals rank eighth in adjusted defense; Michigan ranks 12th. But a closer look reveals Michigan’s defense has been the more impressive unit. Louisville is holding opponents to an ever-so-slight lower efficiency (90.5 to 90.6), but Michigan has played the 84th-best strength of schedule compared to Louisville’s schedule ranking 309th.

Louisville has looked great, but its toughest opponent has been Miami, ranked 88th on KenPom. The Cardinals have done what they’re supposed to do, yet they’re only 3-4 against the spread. Michigan, meanwhile, is 5-2 and has two top-15 wins and two more against borderline NCAA Tournament teams.

And to give one final reason to be scared away from Louisville, Michigan point guard Zavier Simpson is one of the best defenders in the country. He puts fear in opposing point guards, and the point guard spot is the one area of concern for the Cardinals. They trot out Darius Perry and Fresh Kimble. Simpson will be ready to pounce. The pick: Michigan

—Louisville is back to being the college basketball center of the world. As it should be.

—Louisville national champion swimmer Mallory Comerford has signed her first professional deal.

—The Cardinal Connect looks at Louisville’s history against top five teams.

—Next June feels like the right time to add the only ring the program is missing.

—The ACC-Big 10 Challenge is tied at one game apiece after the first night of play.

—Juwan Howard discusses what his team needs to do in order to upset Louisville Tuesday night.

—Love that this is happening.

—Jason Osborne says son and future Cardinal JJ Traynor has more game than he did.

— serves up its preview of tonight’s game.

—Kevin Flaherty of 247 Sports breaks down every Louisville-Michigan position matchup and predicts a 72-69 upset by the Wolverines.

—Kyle Boone of CBS likes the Wolverines to cover but the Cards to win tonight, primarily because of what should be a fantastic home atmosphere.


Louisville: Louisville finds itself in a spot it hasn’t been in since the 2012-13 season: Ranked No. 1 in the AP poll and looking to defend its top ranking. The Cardinals thus far have yet to be tested save for a close win over Akron last week, but Michigan is no Akron. This is their first test against a ranked opponent.

Michigan: While Louisville’s largely gone untested, Michigan has arguably had the toughest schedule of any team in the sport thus far. And it has passed them all. It notched wins over Iowa State, North Carolina and Gonzaga this past week that earned it a top-five ranking. A win on the road over a No. 1 Louisville team would be further validation for what we’ve already learned this season: Juwan Howard’s Wolverines are a real threat to be one of the best teams in the country all season long.

Game prediction, picks

Based off how Michigan has played this month, it’s nearly impossible for me to pick against it. But pick against it I shall. I think the Wolverines will keep this one close, but with Louisville earning a No. 1 ranking on Monday, I expect Tuesday’s atmosphere at the KFC Yum! Center to be absolutely electric. If indeed that’s the case, I don’t see the Cardinals losing. Pick: Michigan +6

—ESPN’s BPI gives Louisville a 78 percent chance of winning tonight.

—And finally, beat Michigan.