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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

The Robinson clan is still beaming after last night’s OT win.

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—For anyone who hadn’t heard, I received a call yesterday morning letting me know that I was one of the casualties of iHeart’s nationwide cutbacks. It marks the end of a fun five-year run of R&R and a solid two and a half years at 790.

This is the first time I’ve ever been fired from something. I definitely don’t recommend it. The only thing that made yesterday tolerable was the support of loved ones and all the people who sent supportive tweets, emails, texts, Facebook messages, etc. I spent the entire afternoon reading and responding to them, and it turned the shittiest morning imaginable into a tolerable afternoon. So a heartfelt and sincere thank you to anyone and everyone who participated in that.

This also happened:

A moment so incredible it almost makes losing your job worth it. Almost.

Doug Proffitt on WHAS also apparently read the tweet, and then there was this from the CJ story about the layoffs:

Meanwhile, one of Louisville’s most popular afternoon radio shows, “Ramsey and Rutherford” announced on Twitter it had been canceled Monday.

Mike Rutherford, the founder of, a site under the SB Nation umbrella, wrote that “Yesterday was my final radio show with 790. If it had to end, I’m glad it ended at a Hooters in Jeffersonville.”

This is my legacy now. This is who I am. I’ll see you all at the Hooters in Jeffersonville soon.

Also, now is a solid time to check out and subscribe the Card Chronicle podcast. Episode three dropping shortly.

NET Rankings update: No. 15 (down one spot from Tuesday)

—Chris Mack and his team finished Saturday’s game against Notre Dame the way they want to finish close games for the rest of the season.

“I loved the way we finished the game,” Mack said. “I know everybody’s gonna point to other things, but this team needed to be able to figure out a way to cut through some adversity, and we hadn’t been able to do that.”

Coming off losses to Kentucky and Florida State and a win over Miami that was closer than the box score showed, the Cardinals badly needed a victory Saturday. They did so by getting back to their old ways. In many respects (the oft-lackadaisical rebounding, the inability to sustain a huge lead), that wasn’t such a great thing. But in others, it seemed to be the key to unlocking this team’s potential.

Nwora finished with a game-high 20 points and was 4-of-8 from deep. McMahon broke out of his mini-slump to score a season-high 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting despite taking just one shot in the second half. Sutton ended up with a double-double of 14 rebounds and 10 points that included two clutch 3-pointers.

It would have been easy to crumble as Notre Dame refused to go away. But Louisville hit its last five shots while holding Notre Dame without a field goal for the final 3:01.

The Cardinals buckled down defensively and found unorthodox avenues to score through Sutton 3-pointers, Nwora’s layup in traffic and Kimble’s driving layup off a screen. The turnover on the final possession could have proven disastrous, but, as it often has, the defense saved the game.

“It’s everything. That’s what we talk about all year, is finishing,” McMahon said. “Finishing games, finishing the season, finishing practice, finishing film sessions, everything. So the way we finished the game today is the way we want to finish for the rest of the season.”

—The Raleigh News & Observer goes inside Clemson’s win over North Carolina on Saturday, it’s first in 60 tries in Chapel Hill.

— joins the “Louisville is our preseason No. 1” crowd.

—Highlights from Sunday’s U of L women’s basketball win over Wake Forest:

—Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician (Syracuse) has Louisville at No. 3 in its latest ACC power rankings.

—If Lamar Jackson winds up becoming a Hall of Fame quarterback, he won’t be close to the first who had to wait a little while for his first playoff win.

—Both Javian Hawkins and TuTu Atwell are getting 33/1 from BetOnline to win the 2020 Heisman Trophy.

—Louisville is a 4-seed in Andy Katz’s latest NCAA tournament bracket.

—A Kentucky sports betting bill has passed out of the House committee by a unanimous vote.

—Louisville’s Gabriela Leon has been selected as the ACC Indoor Track and Field Performer of the Week.

—Danielle Lerner of The Athletic looks at the encouraging elements and the troubling takeaways from Louisville’s Tuesday night win at Pitt.

Encouraging signs

The Dwayne Sutton clutch gene. For the second game in a row, Sutton nailed key shots to help Louisville over the hump. His 3-pointer, his lone make of the second half, pulled the Cardinals within two points with under five minutes left in regulation, and he made another dagger triple in the final minutes of overtime. The junior finished with 13 points and nine rebounds, and over the last three games is averaging 10.7 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 5-of-11 from deep. How’s that for cojones?

David Johnson’s breakout game. The freshman point guard played a season-high 20 minutes against Pittsburgh and finished with a season-best 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting and four assists. Johnson’s upside compared with Louisville’s other guards is his ability to use his 6-foot-5 frame to finish in the lane through contact, which he did plenty of Tuesday. He also missed a dunk but stayed composed enough to knock down an open shot from the perimeter off the rebound. Johnson’s downside continues to be his defense and decision-making, which led to three turnovers. But Mack obviously trusted him enough to play him for four minutes in overtime paired with Fresh Kimble.

Defense staying solid. It took a few minutes of running the engine for the defense to warm up, but once it did it fueled a turnaround. Pittsburgh shot 48 percent from the field in the first half, but just 29 percent in the final 25 minutes. The Cardinals didn’t always capitalize on the other end, but they still forced 16 turnovers. Sutton and Williams were dedicated on the glass and in man coverage per usual, combining for 13 defensive rebounds. Kimble was adept at getting around screens and helping in the lane. Jordan Nwora, in addition to scoring a team-high 14 points, once again held his own on defense with the exception of one misjudged lunge for a steal that resulted in an easy bucket for Trey McGowens. One thing that’s wavered over the last couple games and is worth keeping an eye on is the perimeter defense; opponents are taking more 3s when the wings leave their man to help in the lane.

—Cardiac Hill reacts to Pitt’s loss to Louisville.

—U of L signee D’Andre Davis is having a monster senior season for Indianapolis Lawrence Central, and he’s now a McDonald’s All-American nominee.

—Happy anniversary to the KFC Yum Center’s first truly great moment.

—Bobby Petrino has been hired as the new head coach at FCS Missouri State.

—Rick Bozich shares his thoughts on Petrino landing a new gig.

—Of the 12 outlets that have released early top 25 rankings for next year’s college football season, half of them have included Louisville.

—Cardinal big man reunion in Giza.

—The CJ’s Lucas Aulbach writes about Dwayne Sutton’s clutch play and Louisville’s ability to pull out a tight road game for the second time in a row.

—When Duke hosts Louisville on Saturday, it will be coming off of an “unacceptable” road loss to Clemson. The Blue Devils and Cardinals are currently tied atop the ACC standings at 5-1.

—Please respect their tradition and don’t call it that.

—SB Nation’s latest Bracketology has Louisville as a 4-seed headed out West.

—LJ Nesbitt’s newest BucketHatology for The Crunch Zone is here.

—USA Today’s latest mock NFL draft has Mekhi Becton going to Minnesota with the 25th overall pick.

25. Minnesota Vikings

Mekhi Becton | OT | Louisville

The Vikings have a strong core at the skill positions, but the offensive line continues to be inconsistent at best. After spending last year’s first-rounder on an interior blocker, the Vikings use this one to upgrade at tackle, where Riley Reiff hasn’t lived up to expectations. Becton is a massive mauler with rare athleticism and agility for his size.

— has Louisville at No. 3 in its hoops power rankings.

—U of L football’s eyes are already on 2020.

—The U of L women’s basketball team is back in action on Thursday against Boston College. Here’s a preview.

—Ryan McMahon is embracing the benefits of coming off the bench.

Mack changed Louisville’s guard rotation after its loss to Kentucky Dec. 28. Kimble and Perry start in the backcourt while McMahon and freshman David Johnson come off the bench, typically after the first media timeout.

The reshuffling of the rotation was an effort to get Johnson more playing time earlier in the first half. Mack said McMahon was “all in” for the change in the guard rotation.

“I give Ryan all the credit in the world,” Mack said. “He was very accepting of it, he was all for the team.”

McMahon isn’t a stranger to coming off the bench for Louisville. He had just one start in his first three seasons for the Cardinals. He sees it as an advantage.

“I get to see what the other team is doing defensively and offensively to try to exploit our offense or defense,” McMahon said. “When I get into the game I get to try to combat that or correct it. It is much easier to see the game from the sideline than it is when you’re actually on the court.”

—Former Lou City coach James O’Connor has a new gig.

—Louisville’s Alex Binelas is a top preseason contender for college baseball’s national POY awards.

—This means everything to me.

So does this.

Russ is the rare superstar athlete who in real life is exactly the type of person you hope he is. He’s the best.

—Every coach says they want “to play fast.” Some make good on that promise, others don’t. Hoop Vision’s latest newsletter has a really good look at just how beneficial playing fast actually is.

So should you play fast?

To recap earlier points:

[1] Transition plays are the most efficient…

The average points per transition play is 1.04. The average points per half-court play is 0.87.

[2] …But there are diminishing returns

Creating an advantage out of thin air is much harder to do in transition than converting something like a 2-on-1 advantage from a live-ball turnover.

[3] Certain offensive schemes are great at maximizing transition volume…

For example, developing big men dedicated to rim running the floor on a consistent basis.

[4] …But coaching is a game of trade-offs

It’s nearly impossible for a team to be good at everything. Transition offense may or may not be the best thing for a team to emphasize.


And to finish up, two more added points:

[5] Personnel obviously matters

There are certain players with skill sets — the most obvious skill being speed — that are optimized in open court transition plays. In general, good players in transition tend to still be good players in the half-court. But it makes sense that there are some extremes.

[6] The philosophy of passing up a good shot for a (potential) great shot has changed

Shot selection goes hand-in-hand with pace. The more strict a coach or team is regarding shot selection, the slower they will play. In the past, the idea of passing up a good shot for a great shot has been a pretty mainstream philosophy in coaching.

While that philosophy isn’t completely wrong, it has shifted with our understanding of modern efficiency. The idea that a great shot will actually come later in the possession is a big assumption. Instead, an offense might turn the ball over before finding that shot, or just wind up in a late clock situation.

In late clock (less than four seconds remaining on the shot or game clock) situations since 2010, the national average eFG% is just 36%. In total, late clock plays have produced just 0.70 points per play. Put in a different way, often times good shots are good enough.

—Michael Avenatti was jailed overnight and now faces new fraud and money laundering accusations. Prosecutors say he hid $1 million from his ex-wife and other creditors.

Starting to think this might not be the guy who takes down Nike.

—Hailey Van Lith is gonna be a problem at U of L.

—David Johnson was “incredibly impactful” for Louisville on Tuesday night.

—Eric Crawford shares his thoughts on Louisville’s latest ABC performance.

—ACC hoops tonight:

Boston College at Syracuse (6:30 p.m./ACC Network)

Virginia at No. 9 Florida State (7 p.m./ESPN2)

Miami at NC State (7 p.m./ACC Network Extra)

Notre Dame at Georgia Tech (8:30 p.m./ACC Network)

—And finally, I’ll see everyone at the Hooters in Jeffersonville tonight. Drinks are on them.