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New Year’s Eve Cardinal news and notes

Stay safe tonight, kids.

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—Spread check: Cards by a million in 2020.

—Saturday Night Lamar is coming to the NFL playoffs in two weeks.

—The latest episode the Big Game Pod recaps Louisville vs. Kentucky.

—With the NFL regular season now in the books, the Lamar record stats are flowing.

—For Whom the Cowbell Tolls recaps Mississippi State’s loss to Louisville in the Music City Bowl.

—The future is bright for Louisville football under Scott Satterfield, but it was the program’s departing seniors who stepped up the most in the team’s final game of 2019.

—Jay Scrubb is already ready to take his shot at the Cats.

—The CJ lays out every national list that gave the city of Louisville props in 2019.

—Sports Illustrated counts down the 10 best college hoops games of the decade.

—U of L commit Bryce Hopkins put on a show at the prestigious Proviso West Holiday Tournament in Chicago.

His Fenwick squad earned third place at the event.

—Not to be outdone, U of L women’s signee Hailey Van Lith also dropped 44 over the weekend.

—During Miami’s Sunday upset of New England, DeVante Parker became just the fifth Dolphins wide receiver in franchise history to top the 1,200-yard receiving mark in a season. The man deserves a Pro Bowl spot.

—Jaire Alexander’s meaningful penalties helped save the Green Bay Packers from an embarrassing (dammit) loss to the Lions in week 17.

—Louisville sits at No. 6 in the latest Three-Man-Weave power rankings.

6. Louisville (4)

Much has been made about Jordan Nwora’s double no-show in the Cardinals’ two losses this season, to the point of NBC’s Rob Dauster asking us whether the simulation we all live in is broken:

It’s hard to refute that sentiment: Nwora went a combined 6/26 from the field against Texas Tech and Kentucky, tallying more turnovers (7) than made shots en route to his two worst offensive performances of the season so far.

Of course, those are two outstanding defensive teams, and it’s not entirely Nwora’s fault. On our most recent podcast (150th episode!!), I theorized that Nwora was suffering greatly from his team’s lack of a real dribble-drive threat. None of the Cardinal guards consistently get into gaps against good defenses, meaning he rarely gets the chance to attack a closeout. To confirm this, I watched all 39 possessions he accounted for in those two games (26 shots, 7 turnovers, 6 trips to the FT line) to try and see if there were any common themes.

This could be a much larger article (and maybe it eventually will be), but the general takeaways for me were twofold: 1) Nwora just missed some shots he normally makes. He had seven possessions off screens, and he missed a few open threes that he’ll make in most instances. 2) He’s almost impossible to stop when the defender has to race out at him. Problem is, I only counted him catching against a recovering opponent six times out of the 39 possessions. The Cards’ distributors to need to be able to create more opportunities like this:

Texas Tech’s Avery Benson has to choose: sell out against the three, or chop his feet in his closeout to stay on balance against a potential drive. He chose the latter, and Nwora buried a rhythm jumper. But the next time, he can just as easily pump fake and blow by the off-balance defender.

—Danielle Lerner writes (Athletic link) that even though the U of L women are sporting a gaudy record, Jeff Walz’s team is still figuring itself out.

—I’m not sure Izzo understands how Twitter, American elections or New Years Resolutions work.

—The 19 most absurd sports photos of the decade.

—Ken Pomeroy projects (Athletic link) the champions in all 32 college hoops conferences, and sees Louisville as the second choice in the ACC.


Duke* 69 percent, Louisville 41 percent

Louisville is playing like a team on course for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament, but save for the stunning upset against Stephen F. Austin, Duke has looked like the team expected to win the league. Tre Jones and Cassius Stanley have missed recent games with injuries, but if the Blue Devils stay healthy, they could win their first regular-season title since 2010. The weak upper crust of the league has really opened the door for the drought to end.

—The Seattle Seahawks have signed Jaylen Smith to their practice squad.

—So many things about the season Louisville just wrapped up are unreal, but the improvement of Micale Cunningham as a passer might be at the top of the list.

—Micale certainly seems to appreciate the hell out of the coaches who laid the foundation for that improvement.

—Jon Bois highlights the 10 least consequential athletes of the decade.

—Louisville is No. 6 in Gary Parrish’s daily rankings for CBS.

—That is a monster number.

—WLKY looks at the biggest local stories of 2019.

—Team Speed Kills recaps the Music City Bowl from an MSU perspective.

—Eric Crawford writes about the capper on Louisville football’s season of redemption.

—Highlights from the women’s team’s close call against Syracuse:

—Here’s what Scott Satterfield had to say after last night’s win.

—I’m solo on the radio this afternoon from 3-6 talking Music City Bowl win, Cards hoops and the key to a successful NYE. You can listen here.

—And finally, a monster thanks from me to all of you on this final night of the decade. The decade started with me in law school staring down a career I was 99 percent sure I would have hated. I never would have guessed that this site would still be around at the end of the decade, that I would still be running it, and that it would be one of three jobs that I truly and genuinely love. That doesn’t happen without you guys and without everyone who was contributed to Card Chronicle over the last 10 years.

Here’s to another 10 years, and to a great decade ahead for all of us and our loved ones.

Go Cards.