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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Ya gotta understand Louie love the kids.

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NET Rankings Update: No. 10.

—Eric Crawford shares his thoughts on U of L’s steamrolling of Notre Dame in South Bend Thursday night.

—The 2020 Louisville baseball team isn’t worried about preseason expectations, it’s worried about becoming the best team in program history.

—Teddy Bridgewater remains our top human.

—The bill that would legalize sports betting in Kentucky is in trouble, because this is Kentucky and of course it is.

—Lamar Jackson was a “vessel for joy” in 2019.

—Louisville’s Muhammad Ali inspired look is up for the UniSwag Uniform of the Year. You can vote here.

—Highlights from last night’s thumping of Notre Dame in South Bend:

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

—The USA Women’s National Team practiced inside the Kuber Center Friday afternoon. Afterwards, they took some time to talk with the U of L team that they’ll be squaring off against on Sunday.

Tickets to Sunday’s game are still available at GoCards.com/USA.

—I thought this was a really interesting read on the life of George Nicolau, the arbitrator who decided two of the three MLB collusion cases in the ‘80s.

—U of L swimming sensation Mallory Comerford talks about her career and the sport in general on the latest episode of the Olympic Fever podcast.

—If you’re a current or future U of L student who wants to get involved with the football program, here’s your opportunity.

—The Cardinal track and field squads are set for the Power Five Invitational this weekend.

—Chris Mack’s team is No. 6 in the latest college hoops power rankings from Sports Illustrated.

6. Louisville (18-3)

Back-to-back games with at least 80 points have the Cardinals’ offense ticking up. Louisville has shot at least 40% from three in seven of its last eight games, helping it sit at 10th nationally and first in ACC play. On the flip side, though, the Cards’ 45.8% two-point shooting in conference play ranks 14th in the league, ahead of only Pitt.

—This behind-the-scenes account of Prince’s memorable Super Bowl halftime performance in the rain was a solid read.

—Dennis’ Moment leads the way in the first Road to the Kentucky Derby Top 20.

—Imagine trying to shoot free-throws and then seeing Coach K screaming “SHUT UP!” at his own student section like a GD maniac.

I have no idea how you recalibrate your focus after something like that.

—New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton is saying that it’s “unrealistic” to keep quarterbacks Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill on the same roster.

—The latest NBA mock draft from CBS has Jordan Nwora going 24th overall to Toronto.

—Friday Irrelevance:

—U of L Golf Club has a new general manager.

—Danielle Lerner writes for The Athletic about Angel McCoughtry’s homecoming.

“It was a game I wasn’t gonna pass up,” Walz said. “Does it make things a little more difficult for us? Yeah it does, but I talked to the players about it too and they’re like, ‘Coach, we have to play this. We’re gonna play against Olympians and the national team? We’re in.’ And to have Angel McCoughtry come back here, I give her the credit for really starting what we’ve been able to maintain and build.”

It’s easy to take for granted the loyal following the program has amassed in recent years. Although the Cardinals made the NCAA Tournament in each of McCoughtry’s four seasons, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2008 and a runner-up finish in 2009, McCoughtry said she didn’t realize at the time the mark that would leave on the program.

“At that time I was just trying to win,” she explained. “I don’t think it hit me until afterward, seeing the great kids coming in, 10,000 fans, the legacy there. When I was there, we averaged maybe 5,000 per game. It hit me later when I got my jersey retired that I’m a part of history. I helped create an establishment. I was in that gym for hours at night, like we would get off a flight and I’d be in the gym. The reason we went to the next level was because Coach Walz said, ‘Want to win a championship?’ I said yes, and he said, ‘That’s only going to happen if you bring your teammates in the gym with you. You getting better by yourself is not gonna help us.’ I started grabbing girls, taking them to get shots up. That year we took an average team to the national championship game. We beat teams that had tons of All-Americans there, and that’s when the legacy really started at Louisville.”

What has that amounted to? Nine trips to the NCAA Sweet 16, five Elite Eights, three Final Fours and two national title game appearances — all in the last 12 seasons. The Cardinals (21-1, 10-0 ACC) appear just as talented this season, ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press poll and riding a 13-game win streak.

—Bustin Brackets lays out the keys for an NC State upset in Raleigh tomorrow afternoon.

—Charlie Strong is reportedly going to head back to Florida in an analyst role.

—How does the Thorobred Lounge do these signs better than any other place of business in Louisville?

—It was the busiest year ever for traffic at Muhammad Ali International Airport.

—In a game it desperately needs to win, NC State will likely look to attack Louisville in transition on Saturday afternoon.

Ready or not, here come the Cardinals

Louisville plays a version of the Pack Line defense. The Cards don’t double team when the ball comes into the post as Virginia does, but they work collectively and relentlessly to prevent opponents from scoring in the lane. Against Duke, for example, the Cards held the Blue Devils to just 30 paint points while scoring 44 paint points themselves. U of L rotates big men Stephen Enoch and Malik Williams as Chris Mack uses a 1-4 set up on offense similar to NC State. Enoch is the more prolific scorer, but Williams is the better defender. His playing time has increased over the last seven games to 21 minutes per game.

With Williams getting more playing time, Louisville has not allowed more than 73 points in those seven games. Last night Boston College made a strong bid to hit 80, scoring 43 points in a wide open first half in Chestnut Hill. But U of L tightened its defenses in the second half, even throwing in a little zone, holding the Eagles to a mere 26 after intermission.

The Cardinals hold opponents to 39% shooting from the floor, that’s third-best in the ACC, and 32% from three. Duke can attest to the quality of Louisville’s halfcourt defense. The Blue Devils scored just 48 points against the Cards’ stingy Pack Line. Duke made it a close game against the Cardinals only because of transition. The Blue Devils scored an eye opening 25 fast break points. NC State must also get some layups and transition three balls BEFORE the Pack Line gets set.

—Florida LB Jake Cheney was excited to receive a scholarship offer from Louisville.

—MSN has named the Brown Hotel lobby bar as the 15th-best bar in the world.

—I don’t think you can overstate how valuable a weapon the David Johnson skip pass is.

When you see all of them spliced together in a video like that, it really hits home just how special he has a chance to be. These aren’t normal passes that a freshman guard is supposed to be able to make with that level of ease.

—Offense wasn’t supposed to be the issue for this NC State basketball team, and yet here we are.

—Hours after being named an All-Star for the first time, Donovan Mitchell had a rare ugly game.

—The Crunch Zone has a photo gallery from last night’s rout in South Bend.

—And finally, beat NC State.