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Monday evening Cardinal news and notes

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Sometimes you gotta spend Super Bowl Sunday reppin’ the college squad.

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NET Rankings Update: No. 7.

—Congrats to Louisville native and Southern High School product Deon Yelder on getting a Super Bowl ring with the Chiefs last night.

—Louisville checks in at No. 1 in The Athletic’s latest ACC power rankings.

1. Louisville (19-3, 10-1)

Q1: 3-3 Q2: 3-0 Q3: 8-0 Q4: 5-0

Best Wins*: 79-73 at Duke (2/Q1), 58-43 over Michigan (25), 67-64 at Notre Dame (57/Q1), 82-76 over Akron (60), 77-57 at N.C. State (70/Q1)

This team continues to offer the best combination of talent (plenty), depth (nine true regulars) and experience (four seniors and three juniors in the rotation) in the ACC, and it’s on the shortlist nationally, too. Only five schools entered February with top-20 efficiency rankings on both offense and defense, with the Cardinals joining Kansas, Duke, Michigan State and San Diego State. Louisville is exceptional in at least one additional way. While junior forward Jordan Nwora is clearly the main man, in the midst of an All-American campaign, the team’s star on any given night easily could be someone else Chris Mack pulls from his deck of Cards. During their current eight-game winning streak, for example, the game MVPs also included all-purpose forward Dwayne Sutton (vs. Pitt), explosive guard David Johnson (Duke), skilled big man Malik Williams (Georgia Tech), enigmatic point guard Darius Perry (Clemson) and dead-eye shooter Ryan McMahon (N.C. State). Importantly, nobody seems to care who’s getting the credit.

Next: Wake Forest (Wed.), UVa (Sat.), at Georgia Tech (Feb. 12), at Clemson (Feb. 15), Syracuse (Feb. 19)

—As you might expect, Angel McCoughtry received a warm welcome inside the KFC Yum Center on Sunday.

—LJ Nesbitt is back with his latest installment of BucketHatism over at The Crunch Zone.

—Good look here at some of the “point series” action Louisville has been running this year, another set from under the umbrella of the Princeton Offense.

Again, this is all stuff that we didn’t see at any point in year one under Chris Mack.

—Louisville has offered Florida tight end Gunnar Greenwald.

—Chiefs DT Derrick Nnadi celebrated his team’s Super Bowl win by paying the adoption fees for all the dogs currently available at KC Pet Project.

—In a headline that fits perfectly into 2020, the mascot Gritty has been cleared of assault by Philadelphia police.

—Hey, here’s another one:

Sure.

—The CJ says that against NC State, Fresh Kimble showcased why he’s Louisville’s starting point guard.

—The last time the ACC delivered just three teams to the NCAA tournament was 2000 and there were only nine teams in the league. It may happen again (Athletic link) this season despite there being 15 teams in the league.

—During the Michael Avenatti trial on Monday, a Nike consultant testified that the shoe company assisted in paying prospects, including DeAndre Ayton and Bol Bol. A lawyer for Nike did not deny the testimony.

Monday, the fourth day of the trial, a business consultant testified that the Swoosh directed payments to the families and handlers of high school basketball players, and a Nike attorney did not deny the company had made payments to players.

“I’ve never told the government there was no evidence of Nike making payments to players,” Nike attorney Scott Wilson testified Monday.

Wilson had testified on Friday that there is still an “ongoing investigation” of Nike by the Securities and Exchange Commission and that Nike’s internal investigation of corrupt payments to grassroots basketball players was still ongoing.

After Wilson concluded his testimony, consultant Jeff Auerbach of the Los Angeles-based firm Bedford Consulting testified that Nike directed Gary Franklin, the longtime director of the Nike-sponsored Cal Supreme AAU basketball program, to make payments to the families and handlers of Deandre Ayton, Bol Bol and Brandon McCoy, including a $10,000 cash payment to Ayton’s mother Andrea in 2016.

“Gary had been directed to make cash payments to several players’ families,” Auerbach, Franklin’s friend and advisor, testified.

Auerbach testified that Franklin was also directed to falsify records and “redirect” wire payments and forward them to players’ handlers.

How much does this matter? Probably not at all, because nothing matters anymore.

—Cardinal track and field finished with a pair of wins at the Power Five Invitational over the weekend.

—The U of L women’s tennis team fell to Furman on Sunday, bringing its 2020 record to 6-1.

—Louisville is No. 5 in Andy Katz’s Power 36 rankings.

—It’s show time.

—Ryan McMahon talked with C.L. Brown following his monster performance against NC State.

—Louisville is No. 5 in ESPN’s latest college hoops power rankings.

5. Louisville Cardinals (19-3)

Previous ranking: 6

This week: vs. Wake Forest (Wednesday), vs. Virginia (Saturday)

The question for the first two months of the season for Louisville was how much consistent support could the Cardinals find for Jordan Nwora. It doesn’t seem to be much of an issue anymore. Nwora has led Louisville in scoring in just one of its past five games, and that was the night he put up 37 points and seven 3-pointers against Boston College. The Cardinals’ complementary pieces have stepped up at different times, with different players pacing them in scoring during that five-game stretch. Chris Mack might not have a second go-to option on the roster, but he’s certainly found plenty of help for Nwora offensively.

—Jaraye Williams, a top 2021 football prospect and the son of former Cardinal basketball star Terrence Williams, has received a scholarship offer from Louisville. In related news, you’re 105-years-old.

—Eight straight.

—The Big Ten has proposed NCAA legislation that would allow one-time transfers in all sports to be eligible immediately at their new schools.

—A 113 spot improvement seems decent.

—The Browns Wire has a draft scouting report on Mekhi Becton.

—Louisville baseball is No. 2 in the NCBWA preseason top 25. In each of the 157 college baseball polls that exist, the Cards have been either No. 1 or No. 2.

—Even though it was a lopsided game, both Team USA and the Louisville women’s team took something positive (Athletic link) out of Sunday’s exhibition.

Louisville spent two days before the game observing Team USA’s practices and soaking up additional knowledge from a lengthy Q&A session with the professional players and USA coaches Cheryl Reeve and Dan Hughes.

“We watched them practice, we saw everything they did and we still couldn’t stop them,” Jones said with a shake of her head. “That’s how good they are.”

As eye-opening as the experience was for the Cardinals, it was equally as nourishing for a USA team that has had limited opportunities to play ahead of Olympic qualifiers, and for its coaches. Hughes, who coaches the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, said he was impressed by the knowledge and passion the Louisville community displayed for women’s basketball, a culture he believes is clearly shaped by Walz’s dedication to the program.

“I ended up being a pro coach, but I wanted to be college coach and after this tour I remember why,” Hughes said. “What (Walz) is doing is so good that it’s permeating Louisville. Boy, you better bottle that. That’s what we all try to do, is feel like people that come to the games feel a part of it because they want to be a part of that culture. It’s more than just basketball.”

That much was clear in the thousands of people who packed the arena on Super Bowl Sunday, some of whom have been attending games since McCoughtry’s tenure at Louisville more than a decade ago, and the raucous cheers they delivered when Jones took the microphone and bid them farewell by saying, “Thank you, Card Nation. See you Thursday!”

—Since it’s a 9 p.m. tip on a weeknight, U of L has announced that it will be selling $9 tickets for Wednesday night’s home game against Wake Forest.

—Backing the Pack recaps Saturday’s 20-point loss to Louisville.

—Shoutout to Jaylen.

—Swish Appeal recaps Sunday’s USA-Louisville exhibition.

—Angel McCoughtry said it was “surreal” to be back hooping in the Derby City.

—If you don’t know the answer you’re banned from the site for a week.

—North State Journal shares its perspective on Louisville’s romp over NC State.

—Chris Mack spent his Sunday checking out a pair of 2021 post players.

—Interesting numbers for sure.

—A look at the most notable numbers from Louisville’s triumph in Raleigh.

—And finally, Scott Gleeson of USA Today writes that Louisville was one of the biggest winners from the college hoops weekend that was.