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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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You’re next, Deacon.

—Spread check: Louisville by 15.5.

NET Rankings Update: No. 7.

—The Carolina Panthers have re-signed Reggie Bonnafon to a 1-year deal that will pay him $585,000 in 2020. Bonnafon served as Christian McCaffrey’s primary backup in 2019.

—Nine years at Wake Forest helped mold Dino Gaudio, now Louisville is reaping the rewards.

—The U of L football staff continues to make the wise move of bringing in local talent as preferred walk-ons. St. Xavier linebacker Hale Bohler is the latest to commit to the Cards.

—Along the same lines, the CJ’s Cameron Teague writes about how Ballard product Marshon Ford went from a walk-on to a starter and one of the best tight ends in the ACC.

—The Jeff Walz Notre Dame shade will never fail to entertain me.

—I’m back talking hoops on The Fundamentally Sound podcast.

—Scott Satterfield and company being able to get a healthy chunk of their 2020 signees on campus early is “huge” for their development.

—Jordan Nwora’s supporting cast stepping up in recent weeks has Louisville looking like a Final Four team.

—The Three-Man Weave folks think that while it might take a miracle for Wake to upset Louisville tonight, the stage appears to be set for the Deacs to cover the spread.

Wake Forest at No. 5 Louisville

3MW Pick: Wake Forest +15.5

A minor miracle.

That’s what it’ll take for Wake Forest to pull off the improbable tonight, facing the daunting task of taking down a red-hot Cardinals squad in a hostile environment.

Fortunately, the Demon Deacons have a proven miracle worker on their sidelines, Danny Manning, the once ringleader of Kansas’s beloved 1988 national championship team “Danny and Miracles.”

Fortunately, for us, an upset of historical magnitude isn’t what’s necessary from a betting perspective. We just need the Deacons to keep it moderately competitive for 40 minutes and squeak inside +15, a mountainous number for a February conference game.

The Deacons enter tonight’s tilt healthy for the first time in nearly a month. A myriad of players spent time on the training table in January, but Chaundee Brown is the key soldier who’s been recently revived. The burly 6’5” wing missed all but one game in the month of January, coinciding with two separate three-game losing streaks. Just before Brown suffered his lower leg injury, the Deacons knocked off Xavier and Pitt in the span of two weeks, which succeeded a pesky performance at the Wooden Legacy Classic just after Thanksgiving. In fact, dating back to the end of November, Wake is 6-3 against the spread when Brown hits the hardwood, an appropriate indicator of his value. Brown only clocked 12 minutes in his return to action last game against Clemson, but four days off in between should set up for a substantial minutes spike tonight, especially against the class of the conference.

To put the icing on the cake, consider the fact that Louisville might be sleepwalking, potentially unmotivated by an uninspiring and unintimidating opponent. The Cardinals’ monumental win over Duke in Cameron Indoor on Jan. 18 concluded a brutal three-game road trip, which also featured two gritty wins over Notre Dame and Pitt. Then, like a cyclist on an interval training circuit, the Cardinals downshifted into recovery gear for the latter half of January, cruising to victories over Georgia Tech and Clemson in the friendly confines of the KFC Yum! Center, before dispatching Boston College and N.C. State on the road with relative ease.

However, this conference cake walk is about to expire, as the Cardinals will ramp back to high-intensity resistance mode when Virginia comes to town this Saturday. Louisville’s accumulating boredom with the ACC’s cellar dwellers, combined with an eagerness for this weekend’s showdown with UVA, could be the perfect storm against a rejuvenated and motivated Wake squad, who’s playing with house money at this point in the season.

—Louisville lacrosse’s Carolina Blalock is a preseason All-ACC honoree.

—Mark Dantonio has stepped down as Michigan State’s football coach. The fact that his contract paid him $4.3 million if he stuck around through Jan. 15, 2020 may have had something to do with the timing.

—The complete TV schedule for the 2020 Louisville baseball season is here.

—I choose to remember the good times.

—Rick Bozich writes about how Louisville is more focused on the ACC standings than any mock bracket floating around the internet.

—The U ofL rowing squad has announced its captains for the 2020 season.

—Big Red Louie has three locks and three predictions for tonight’s game.

—Lefkoe!

—Golden State Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown will coach the Nigerian national team in the 2020 Olympics. Alex Nwora, Jordan’s father, had been the coach of the team and was the man responsible for getting them qualified for the Olympics. Judging solely from the response on Twitter, fans of the national team seem to be less than thrilled that this change is being made.

—Here are the need-to-know details for Saturday’s bracket reveal show on CBS, which will almost certainly feature Louisville fairly prominently.

For the fourth straight year, Turner Sports and CBS Sports will present the NCAA March Madness Bracket Preview. The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Selection Committee will offer teams and fans an in-season look at the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship bracket, airing Saturday, Feb. 8, at 12:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee Chair and Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White will be in-studio for the reveal of the nation’s top 16 seeds, identifying the top four teams in each region as they stand on Feb. 8.

Host Greg Gumbel, analysts Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis, and White will discuss the selection, seeding process and reasoning behind the current rankings.

CBSSports.com bracketologist Jerry Palm will also join the show to project out the remainder of the 68-team bracket, analyze bubble teams and highlight key story lines as March rapidly approaches.

The NCAA’s official website and social media channels will feature insider Andy Katz’s immediate reaction to the bracket reveal, an interview with a member of the selection committee, and a full 68-team bracket prediction.

—Cardinal Authority catches up with U of L football signee Yaya Diaby.

—And finally, beat Wake Forest.