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Thursday evening Cardinal news and notes

L’s up from Hawaii.

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NET Rankings Update: No. 16 (up one spot)

—The U of L women’s basketball team is back in action tonight at Miami. Here’s a preview.

—Louisville makes a pair of appearances in this list of the 84 plays that defined college football in 2010s.

—Victory videos are back.

—The CJ looks at the dwindling number of kids playing football across the city.

—Despite becoming one of the biggest athletes in the world, Lamar Jackson still loves serving as Micale Cunningham’s unofficial big brother.

—When Lamar met with his personal QB coach last offseason, it wasn’t long (Athletic link) before the topic of his struggles in last year’s playoff loss to the Chargers came up.

“That game motivated me. It’s still motivating me,” Jackson said. “I still haven’t played my second playoff game, yet. So when we get into that, when I’m in that game, after that game, then I have an answer for that. But that game is over with. We’ve been having a great year this year, and we just have to keep it going. Like I said, I want a Super Bowl, so I’m not really worried about that, that first playoff game. That was my rookie season.”

Jackson was asked about the game again later in his news conference last week and he gave everybody a glimpse of just how much that loss still bothers him.

“Bro, I really hate it,” Jackson said. “I can’t wait to play this week coming up. So, I don’t really want to talk about it anymore. It’s over.”

What seemingly bothers Jackson most is the lingering feeling that he let down his teammates.

“That’s exactly it,” Harris said. “That’s the biggest letdown for him. Lamar is very respectful of the game. Eric Weddle and Terrell Suggs, guys like that, he really wanted to make something happen for those veterans in a Super Bowl run. He’s very cognizant about that kind of stuff.”

—If Chris Mack does wade into the transfer waters again this offseason, there are already a ton of attractive candidates to don the red and black.

—More Louisville basketball in the summer would be a very fun development.

—It’s still new, but life in the NBA hasn’t been overly kind to John Beilien so far.

—Tom Fornelli of CBS ranks all 39 bowl games so far and has Louisville’s win over Mississippi State at No. 15.

15. Music City Bowl (31) -- Louisville 38, Mississippi State 28: Mississippi State initially led this game 14-0, but then Louisville exploded like the orbital bone of a quarterback being punched by a linebacker on his own team, scoring 31 straight to put it away. Mississippi State scored a couple of fourth-quarter touchdowns to make it look better. It wasn’t enough, however, as Mississippi State fired coach Joe Moorhead after the game and is now in the middle of its second coaching search in three seasons. First bowl win since 2016 for Louisville, which had a very nice bounce-back 8-5 season in Year 1 under Scott Satterfield.

—Mississippi State fired head coach Jo Moorhead after that game, and Thursday they hired Mike Leach, making the SEC three times more entertaining that it was yesterday.

—Cassius Stanley: Athletic.

—TCU is the latest college hoops program to confirm that they have received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA. Creighton will not confirm that they have as well, but there is PALPABLE BUZZ that they have.

—Lamar Jackson received all 52 MVP votes from the NFL writers over at The Athletic.

—This is fairly ridiculous.

—U of L men’s soccer standout Cherif Dieye was selected 15th overall by the New York Red Bulls in the first round of the 2020 Major League Soccer SuperDraft on Thursday.

Dana Evans and Jordan Nwora are both included on their respective Wooden Award midseason watch lists.

—Louisville’s game against Duke in two Saturdays will be the site of the first 2019-20 installment of ESPN’s College GameDay.

—Montrezl Harrell opens up about his sneaker obsession with USA Today.

—ACC hoops results from last night:

No. 2 Duke 73, Georgia Tech 64

No. 10 Florida State 78, Wake Forest 68

Pittsburgh 73, North Carolina 65

NC State 73, Notre Dame 68

No league action tonight.

—Chris Mack has some of the same issues with his team that his fan base seems to.

“I worry more about our team at times when things go well – we get up eight points, or we get up 10 points, and then we take an ill-advised shot or have a complete defensive breakdown, or combine the one with the other, and now a 10-point lead goes down to six,” Mack said. “Those are the areas that we have to teach and coach and get better at in a hurry.”

One of the buzzwords of the year in college basketball is “connected.” It’s used to denote a team that is playing well together, whose players seem in sync with each other. At times lately, Louisville doesn’t play like a team that is connected.

When up by double digits, the Cardinals seem to drift into the mode of players hunting shots, instead of continuing to work to create shots for each other.

With one of the most experienced teams in the nation, they should be one of the more mentally tough teams in the country. But they have not been. They went 9-for-20 from the free-throw line in Rupp Arena, clanking away what would’ve been a valuable victory. While they have good shooters, they are more streaky than consistent, leaving their coach to wonder why at times open shots don’t fall.

On Wednesday night, when Rogers asked Mack if he thinks his team is better now than it was in November, Mack’s answer was telling.

“I don’t think so,” Mack said. “I think if I were being very honest, I think trying to fit David (Johnson) and Malik (Williams) in (from preseason injuries), knowing that they’re two of our better players, and Malik is one of the best defensive players in the ACC, but when I look back, it’s really hard to gauge. I think offensively we were playing better. I think defensively we’ve had really good stretches in the past 5-6 games, but overall, I don’t think we’re far off, but I don’t think we’ve made the progress that I would’ve liked. I hope our team understands that, and it’s our job to make sure they do understand it and get better.”

—The Palm Beach Post looks at the best photos of Lamar Jackson from over the years.

—And finally, Louisville needs your help in the Helmet Bowl III championship match. Vote for the red chrome helmet here.