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Monday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Braylon is ready to see the Cards punch their super regional ticket this afternoon.

—It’s winner take all this afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium. If Louisville beats Illinois State, they’ll host either Campbell or East Carolina in the supers next week. If they lose, season over.

First pitch is set for 1 p.m. ESPN2 has the coverage.

—Sunday saw Dan McDonnell win his 600th game at Louisville, a feat no other coach (or program) has accomplished since McDonnell arrived at U of L in 2007.

—Jeff Goodman updates his early top 25 for 2019-20 and has Louisville at No. 3, trailing only Michigan State and Kansas.

—Drew Campbell finds himself a spot in Sunday night’s SportsCenter top 10.

—Ballard DB Josh Minkins Jr. has been offered a scholarship by Louisville.

—National baseball writers (and national fans) seem to be as furious as Louisville fans over the Michael McAvene ejection.

The Cards will now be without their closer until either game three of the supers or game one of the College World Series.

—What a week it was for former Louisville and KCD star Will Smith.

Even though the camera caught his dad saying he thought it was an error, Smith singled for the Los Angeles Dodgers in his first Major League at-bat Tuesday night.

Smith’s walk-up song made him an instant hit on social media.

And then four nights later he drilled his first MLB home run, which just happened to be a walk-off blast.

Not a bad way to start the summer.

—Former U of L soccer standouts Geoffrey Dee, Daniel Johnson and Paolo DelPiccolo, reflected on their time at Louisville after going head-to-head last week in the U.S. Open Cup

—Louisville checks in at No. 10 in Andy Katz’s Power 36 rankings, which is the lowest I’ve seen the Cards in any set of post-deadline rankings.

10. Louisville: The Cardinals got the news they needed when Jordan Nwora and Stephen Enoch announced they were returning. Both can become highly productive yet again in the ACC. Chris Mack has this team playing with purpose, passion and pride. If Ryan McMahon can continue to be a knock down shooter, too, then the Cardinals should have the pieces for a monster March.

—NBC has the Cards at No. 5.

—Vulture ranks all 74 HBO original series ... except they left out The Life and Times of Tim, a show I’m pretty sure is beloved by me and me alone.

—This seems exciting.

—According to WalletHub, Kentucky is the third-worst state in America for jobs.

—Ryan McMahon is fully focused on making the most out of his final season as a Cardinal.

“I really pride myself on making the right play, or trying to. I know I’m more than just a shooter. Play-making ability was something I kind of improved a lot last year.”

McMahon finished playing in a career-high 34 games. He averaged 7.2 points, 1.8 assists, shot 35.3 percent from 3-point line, and 95 percent from the free-throw line.

A goal all season in practice, McMahon converted 100 of 100 free throws. His said aspirations for his final season include winning either the regular-season ACC title or the ACC tourney, a run in the NCAA tournament, followed by a Louisville appearance in the Final Four.

As for basketball after college, “it would have to outweigh me hanging up the shoes and starting a business career. I don’t want to play in Scandinavia for $20,000.

“There is a certain point where you just got to kind of hang up the shoes and say ‘my career is over and it’s time to play for fun again.’

“I’ll give it my all this year and we’ll see how good of a year I have. Maybe hire an agent, just see what I can do and then that’s when I’ll kind of weigh out my options.”

—The 2019-20 ACC Championship sites and dates have been announced.

—Terry Rozier: Bachelor star.

—A lot of Louisville fans made the trip to Indianapolis to see Asia Durr play over the weekend.

—It was announced last week that Durr has joined the Jordan team.

—ESPN lists Louisville as one of the biggest winners of the NBA Draft declaration deadline.

Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals cemented their status as a preseason top-10 team on Wednesday, as Jordan Nwora announced he was returning for his junior season. Nwora didn’t participate at the combine due to injury, but he took his decision down to the deadline anyway. With Nwora and his 17 points per game back in the fold, Chris Mack has all the pieces to compete at the top of the ACC. Junior forward Steven Enoch also withdrew his name from the draft, and Louisville returns several other rotation players -- plus brings in a top-10 recruiting class.

—As you would expect, Jaire Alexander has sky-high expectations for himself as he heads into year two of his professional career.

—Australian-born shooting guard Jayden Stone (2020) remains an interesting prospect for U of L.

—James Burgess has been picked up by the New York Jets.

—Well done, Ashton.

Cool story on Amber McKenzie — the wife of Louisville running backs coach Norval McKenzie — who balances motherhood and being a professional lacrosse player.

—The Orlando Sentinel has Louisville at No. 83 in its preseason countdown of every team in the FBS.

Weaknesses: Depth is an issue for the Cardinals, who start the season with one tight end on scholarship and saw several defensive linemen transfer from Louisville.

Defensively, Louisville let opponents put up basketball numbers last season, with Clemson scoring 77 points. The Cardinals are switching to a 3-4 defense, but the question is will they have enough talent up front to put pressure on opposing teams’ quarterbacks and stop their opponents from scoring 35-plus points per game.

Outlook: It appears most of Louisville’s mistakes are correctable. There will be a learning curve as projected starting quarterback Jawon Pass shakes off the struggles of last year and adjusts to Satterfield’s new offense. It doesn’t help that Louisville plays in the ACC’s tougher division, with Clemson and Syracuse only getting better, but the Cardinals are expected to improve and could be in the middle of the pack ACC Atlantic Division pack.

—The MLB having its draft in the middle of the NCAA tournament continues to be dumb.

—”And pay the tolls!” guy is the hero this city has been waiting for.

—Quick shoutout to Louisville’s ACC Network crew for winning the Most Outstanding Non-Game LIVE Production award at last week’s College Sports Media Awards. The award was given for the team’s work on the Louisville Live basketball event to kick off the 2018-19 season.

—The 50th anniversary of the Dirt Bowl is being celebrated this month.

—And finally, beat Illinois State.