clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

New, 46 comments

Pumpkin week rolls on.

—Spread check: Virginia Tech by 3.5.

—U of L’s board of trustees unanimously approved a plan on Wednesday for a new dormitory across the street from the Kueber Center on Floyd Street that will serve as the new on campus home for the Louisville men’s and women’s basketball teams. The Southeast Corridor Residence Hall, which is slated to cost $23.5 million, will open in the fall of 2022.

Minardi Hall will still be around, but it will be converted to regular student use.

—A new CC Pod dropped earlier today.

—No ACC campus is closer to Louisville than Virginia Tech is. On Saturday, the two football teams will square off for the first time since the Cardinals joined the conference in 2014.

ACC scheduling remains odd.

Two weeks ago, Duke and North Carolina State, separated by a grueling 25-mile drive, met for the first time in, gulp, seven years. Saturday, Virginia Tech plays at Louisville, the programs’ first encounter since the Cardinals joined the conference in 2014.

At 380-plus miles, Blacksburg is a haul from Louisville. But among full-time members, it is the closest ACC campus to the Derby City.

The above scheduling defects come on the heels of last season, when North Carolina and Wake Forest, two of the ACC’s seven charter members and annual rivals from 1944-2004, staged a non-conference game in Winston-Salem, N.C.

“Yeah,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said Monday, “I find the ACC scheduling model perplexing.”

The good news is the league’s athletic directors, in concert with television partner ESPN, appear motivated to consider alternatives.

Indeed, sources say that before the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March, football scheduling was on the agenda for the ACC’s annual spring meetings in May. Once the health crisis abates, expect those deliberations to resume.

“I would be surprised,” a source said, “if it goes all the way back to the status quo.”

—Joe Lunardi believes that Selection Sunday will return in 2021, but that “it’s going to be a mess” (Athletic link).

—The CJ’s Shannon Russell answers your questions in her very first Louisville basketball mailbag.

—Jeff Goodman of Stadium has Carlik Jones as a preseason Third Team All-American.

PF – Drew Timme, 6-10, 235, Soph., Gonzaga He’s a feisty forward who was extremely productive as a role guy a year ago, playing behind Filip Petrusev and Killian Tillie, who are both gone. Timme is a guy who can dominate in the paint and on the glass. He’s also capable of stepping out and making shots.

2019-20 Stats: 9.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg

C – Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, 6-9, 230, Soph., Villanova Was the Big East Freshman of the Year and nearly averaged a double-double. He’s a skilled forward who probably won’t put up eye-popping scoring numbers due to the abundance of talent in the program.

2019-20 Stats: 10.5 ppg, 9.4 rpg

PG – Remy Martin, 6-0, 170, Sr., Arizona State The Sun Devils are loaded this season, and it’ll be up to Martin to keep everyone happy. He can score, but he’ll need to make sure he takes care of the ball and picks his spots.

2019-20 Stats: 19.1 ppg, 4.1 apg

G – Carlik Jones, 6-1, 185, Grad, Louisville I normally wouldn’t go with a transfer who is jumping up a level, but Jones will likely be Chris Mack’s top player and is a veteran that was the Player of the Year in the Big South last season.

2019-20 Stats: 20.0 ppg, 5.5 apg, 5.1 rpg (at Radford)

SG – Brandon Boston, 6-7, 180, Fr., Kentucky Look for Boston to be John Calipari’s top player on a young and balanced ‘Cats roster. He’s got the size and can score in a variety of ways.

2019-20 Stats: N/A

—Louisville’s Will Smith is now a World Series champion.

—The U of L women’s soccer team will host No. 1 North Carolina on Thursday. Here’s a preview.

Purdue Pete was arrested at a West Lafayette McDonald’s for alleged battery and disorderly conduct.

Here’s an image from the scene:

Not really, but yeah, that kid got arrested.

—A virtual U of L sports trivia competition is coming on Nov. 14. More details here.

—Kentucky lawmakers are whining about not getting free tickets to UK basketball games this season.

—Brandon Marcello of 247 Sports looks at the best and worst cases remaining for every ACC team.

LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (2-4, 1-4)

Best case: 6-5, 5-5

Did Louisville turn a corner last week in a 48-16 victory at Florida State? The offense finally clicked with quarterback Malik Cunningham and the defense forced a turnover for the first time in several weeks. Cunningham threw for 278 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 16 of 24 passing. Tutu Atwell looked the part of one of the ACC’s more versatile and explosive runners in the open field, too, proving once again the more touches the better for the receiver.

Louisville’s blocking has been an issue most of the season, and the defense was a complete mess in the first weeks of the season. Busted coverages were all too common, but senior CJ Avery and junior Monty Montgomery have stepped up at linebacker. The potential has always been there for Louisville. The 12-7 loss at top-10 Notre Dame might have been frustrating because of what could have been, but the Cards used the experience to propel them the next week to the largest margin of victory this season at FSU.

And how about this for a sure sign of improvement: the defense has held its last two Power 5 opponents under 20 points. That hasn’t happened since 2017.

Worst case: 3-8, 2-8

Then again, maybe we’re putting too much stock into the last two weeks. This team did lose by 19 points at Georgia Tech, after all. What if the defense fails them twice more on the road, and Virginia Tech proves to be overwhelming this week at Cardinal Stadium? One more win could be on the docket (Syracuse or Wake Forest).

I would argue that running the table is a very “in play” best case for Louisville, but that’s me.

—VT’s official website previews Saturday’s game at Cardinal Stadium.

—Big Red Louie tells us what we need to know about Virginia Tech.

—Here’s a draft profile video on Jordan Nwora:

—Florida State’s defensive coaches are searching for answers after getting torched by Javian Hawkins and the Cards last weekend.

—Dwayne Ledford and Ean Pfeifer answered questions from the media after practice on Tuesday.

—The Athletic’s “State of the Program” series focuses on U of L women’s basketball.

The ceiling

We could easily see these Cardinals in the Final Four as long as they’re able to run and press the way they want. They have a lot of hungry players on the roster — between those who had their run cut short a season ago to the transfers who are eager to contribute to the freshmen who know that, with Walz going 12-players deep, their number will be called. If that hunger is funneled into momentum and led by a player like Evans, this team could be dangerous.

The floor

It doesn’t take a basketball savant to look at this roster and realize the lack of post depth. If opponents are able to get Dixon into foul trouble and send her to the bench, they know they’ll be facing a true freshman big or a guard on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Either way, that’s not a bad matchup if you’re calling the plays. Expect opponents to try to turn it into a half-court game, attack the paint and draw fouls against Louisville. If they do that, and Louisville can’t stay out of foul trouble, it could get really frustrating for a team that has so much guard talent and depth.

Final report

Evans became the first player in ACC history to go from Sixth Woman of the Year to the MVP. Her trajectory has been impressive, and don’t expect it to slow down in her senior season. Even if she’s not playing 34 minutes a game this year, she will raise the play of those around her. Evans will score, distribute the ball, and defend. In short: She will do everything she can do, but this can’t be a one-person team.

Walz knows that, in additions to Evans, he’s going to need three big factors for his team to be successful:

1. Solid contributions from his bigs

2. An aggressive full-court press that turns defense into quick offense

3. Scoring contributions from elsewhere

All three of those aspects involve the team relying on true freshmen and less experienced players, but if Louisville can get them consistently (key word: consistently), this team could reach its potential this year.

—Louisville and Virginia Tech enter this weekend’s meeting both in search of consistency.

—Enjoy Javian Hawkins while you can.

—Every single time I see an old highlight video that features Beau Zach Smith, I’m going to post it on this website. That is a Mike Rutherford guarantee.

—Louisville swept the national field hockey players of the week awards.

—And finally, Michael McCammon of Cardinal Authority makes five bold predictions about the second half of Louisville’s football season.