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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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My man’s got the full 2020 ensemble down.

—The second-ranked Louisville women’s basketball team will finally return to action this Friday, Jan. 1 with a noon home game against North Carolina.

UPDATE: This game has now been postponed.

—The Athletic’s Brian Bennett tells the story of Carlik Jones finally being recruited at a high-level after being passed over by nearly every D-I program (including Chris Mack and Xavier) when he was coming out of high school.

Growing up, Jones had gone to Mack’s camps when Mack was the coach at Xavier. Mack was aware of him but never strongly considered recruiting him. The Musketeers had four-star guards such as Quintin Goodin and Edmond Sumner in the pipeline. In the spring of 2020, though, Mack put on the full-court press for Jones, who heard from more than 50 programs after he entered the transfer portal. It turns out that Mack’s parents and Jones’ family live less than three miles from each other on the far north side of Cincinnati. Mack grew up with several of Jones’ youth league coaches and trainers. Mack called all of them. He checked in with Rosemond almost every day for weeks. She was skeptical at first, although she didn’t express it to him.

“I was like, you were here when he was here, and you weren’t really interested then,” she says. “So what’s different now? I would talk to Carlik and be like, tell me again why you’re considering Louisville?”

Jones didn’t hold a grudge, however. “I looked at it like, he didn’t need me at the time,” he says. “He had other guards at (Xavier). I understood.”

Jones could at least give Mack a hard time about passing him up originally, but he refrains. At practice about a month ago, though, Louisville players were talking about who had recruited them. Jones told everybody that he always knew he was going to be a Cardinal. To which Mack responded, “Then why did you make me court you for four weeks?”

The decision to come to Louisville had a lot to do with playing close to his family. But with the pandemic and protocols, Jones’ parents have barely interacted with him in person since the season began. They have come to games at the KFC Yum! Center, which is allowing limited capacity, but they don’t get to spend time with their son afterward. That’s OK, because Jones has found a home here. He, Mack and strength coach Andy Kettler are all Cincinnati guys who share in the misery of being Bengals fans and bond over talk about Skyline Chili. Recently, Mack and Kettler each sent Jones a text message about a discount promotion at United Dairy Farmers, a Cincinnati chain that’s like a 7-Eleven but with pretty good ice cream. Only Ohioans would understand.

—Vote for the 2020 Card Chronicle Person of the Year here.

—Scott Davenport discusses transitioning to Division-I during the strangest of circumstances.

—Jeff Greer serves up a film breakdown of David Johnson’s sophomore season to date.

—With Duke-Pitt being canceled because of a positive test within the Panther program, we’ve only got two ACC tilts tonight:

Miami at No. 24 Virginia Tech (6 p.m./ACC Network)
No. 18 Florida State at Clemson (7 p.m./ACC Network Extra)

—Bowl games tonight:

Cheez-It-Bowl: No. 18 Miami vs. No. 21 Oklahoma State (5:30 p.m./ESPN)
Alamo Bowl: No. 20 Texas vs. Colorado (9 p.m./ESPN)

—Robbie Bell is returning to Louisville for one last go in 2021.

—With Bell back, Louisville now has three senior football players who have decided to utilize the NCAA’s extra year of eligibility. The CJ’s Cameron Teague Robinson keeps tabs on who’s staying, who’s going, and who hasn’t decided yet.

—Bell’s return should bolster an already deep and experienced O-Line in 2021.

—The Atlanta Hawks once drafted a baby. It didn’t work out.

—The first Fox College Hoops mock bracket of the season has Louisville as a 6-seed facing Florida in the first round.

—In 2020, COVID-19 laid bare the harsh reality of the NCAA: Revenue sports don’t prop the whole thing up—they are the whole thing.

—Cincinnati Moeller tight end Josh Kattus has a Louisville offer.

—Imagine being a powerhouse program from the state of Kentucky in need of a game this week, but choosing to scrimmage Transy instead of playing one for real against Bellarmine. That’d be an odd decision to make, don’t you think?

—Another night, another former Card hitting an NBA game-winner. This time it was Donovan Mitchell, who netted the final 12 points of the game for Utah Monday evening.

—How former Cards in the NFL fared in week 16.

—Business First makes Louisville predictions for 2021.

—All the stats seem to indicate that Lamar Jackson is still very good at football.

—The CJ’s Dominique Yates and Shannon Russell break down what they’ve learned from Louisville’s 6-1 start.

—Congrats to Fresh Kimble, who has signed a deal to play for the Worcester Wolves of the British Basketball League.

—Porn.

—As 2020 draws to a close, Louisville’s restaurant and business woes continue.

—247 Sports’ ACC power rankings have Louisville at No. 8.

—And finally, best of luck to Puma Pass, who has announced on his Instagram page that he’ll be playing his final season of college football at Towson State.