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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Since his birth, James Crump has been counting down the hours until Louisville-Wisconsin.

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—Andy Katz is picking Wisconsin to take care of the Cards on Saturday.

—U of L is mourning the passing of former Cardinal baseball coach John Mason.

—Louisville Report looks at the biggest storylines for Saturday’s game between the Cards and Wisconsin.

Another Frontcourt Test

One aspect of Louisville’s early success has been the play of the front court in the absence of defensive anchor and co-captain forward/center Malik Williams. Jae’Lyn Withers, Quinn Slazinski and JJ Traynor were thrust into bigger than anticipated roles when it was announced Williams would be out for 12 weeks, and so far they have produced.

Louisville has had a couple early tests down in the paint when they hosted Seton Hall and Western Kentucky, and they will have another one when they take on the Badgers.

According to KenPom.com, Wisconsin has the No. 7 defense in the nation, and their post presence has a lot to do with it. The Badgers have blocked 36 shots so far this season, which is the sixth-most in the nation. Forward Nate Reuvers is the main threat in this department, as he has collected 13 of his team’s total.

They also are giving up two-point baskets at just a 39.2% clip, which is the 17th best mark in D1. Their style of play also does not allow a ton of free-flowing ball movement, as opposing teams are assisting on just 40.5% of their field goals against them, good for 28th best defensively. For more contest, the national assist/field goals made average is 52.3%.

—Saturday marks the first Louisville-Wisconsin game in 42 years, but Chris Mack and Greg Gard have met twice since 2016, and both games have been pretty wild.

—Pat Forde writes that Tuesday’s College Football Playoff rankings were a new low for the committee in charge of picking the four teams for the sport’s showcase event.

—Annnd we’re off.

—Tom Rinaldi is leaving ESPN for Fox, making an entire nation wonder who will make them sob uncomfortably on fall Saturday mornings now.

—Donovan Mitchell and adidas have teamed up to support current and future Black students at U of L by donating up to $200,000 of the sales of his “D.O.N. Issue #2 x Louisville” sneaker to fund several academic initiatives and scholarships.

—The last tie in CFB history was an NAIA national championship game 25 years ago (Athletic link) and it featured Jon Kitna at QB.

—Some much-needed help for the thin and struggling Zags.

—A new bobblehead of Lamar Jackson riding a cardinal bird is now available.

—Gonzaga and Virginia have agreed to play a game on Dec. 26.

—Cardinal Authority has a Q&A with new U of L football TE signee Christian Pedersen.

—Crean!

—The NCAA is headed towards a ”crisis of confidence” with its biggest conferences.

—Arizona is the latest program to announce that it’s taking its basketball infractions case to the IARP.

—Still a path to the playoff, imo.

—Virginia Tech QB Hendon Hooker, who did a number on Louisville this season, has entered the transfer portal.

—Kelvin Sampson says all 15 of his Houston players have had Covid-19.

—The condition of Florida basketball star Keyontae Johnson continues to improve.

—It appears as though the Badgers will be going with a script uniform for Saturday.

This is a major development. Script unis are awesome.

—The latest CC Podcast episode is here.

—Could the new NCAA rules for next season leave hundreds of players stranded without scholarships? It certainly seems that way.

—UCLA is the latest team to say they won’t play in a bowl game even if they get invited.

—This is the best.

—Cardinal Authority hands out some superlatives for Louisville’s football recruiting class of 2021.

—ACC action from yesterday:

No. 21 Duke 75, Notre Dame 65
Pittsburgh 70, Miami 55
Syracuse 62, Northeastern 56

—ACC action tonight:

NC State at Saint Louis (8 p.m./ESPN+)

—Business First keeps tabs on the Louisville bars and restaurants that have been forced to close up shop for goof this year.

—Vote for the Cards.

—Chris Mack’s Louisville Cardinals should have “seven or eight” scholarship players available for its first road trip of the season.

—And finally, the CJ has an early preview of Saturday’s Louisville-Wisconsin game.