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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Hank Christian is ready for the madness.

NET Rankings Update: No. 8.

—Louisville’s seniors say they had two goals for this season: Win a national title and mentor the freshmen.

—The Athletic’s Danielle Lerner looks at Louisville’s options at center if Malik Williams is once again sidelined this weekend.

Through the last four games, Sutton has played center for a total of 26:23, the bulk of which occurred after Williams went down against Florida State. Lineups with Sutton as the 5 typically include Samuell Williamson as the 3 and Jordan Nwora as the 4, but it’s not unusual to see three guards on the floor either.

So how does putting Sutton at center change the way Louisville runs its offense? Not much, Mack said. The main difference is movement. The Cardinals want to take advantage of Sutton’s ability to finish around the rim and act as a cleanup man on the glass, but they don’t necessarily expect him to consistently post up on the blocks as Williams and Enoch do.

“First of all, Dwayne is like a computer on offense. He can run every position every play,” Mack said. “We still run the same stuff, but the emphasis may not be to get the ball into Dwayne in the post. You know, we certainly set pick-and-rolls, and where often he would pop, he has to roll because there’s limited space for five guys on the perimeter and spacing on the basket.”

Of course, the success of Sutton as a 5 man partly depends on the size of the opposing team. Against a Florida State squad that ranks first in the nation in average height, the small lineup initially threw the Seminoles off but then struggled in the second half. It was more successful against a smaller Virginia Tech team, when Sutton could shoot over defenders in the paint and outmuscle opponents for rebounds.

Virginia’s starting frontcourt of 7-foot-1 Jay Huff and 6-foot-9 Mamdi Diakite poses more of a challenge. Louisville strictly played Enoch and Williams at center (20 minutes each) in its Feb. 8 victory over the Cavaliers, so it will be interesting to see how a smaller lineup could fare this time out.

—The Louisville baseball team won its eighth straight with a 16-3 pounding of Morehead State Tuesday afternoon.

—Kentucky’s home loss to Tennessee on Tuesday night — Have you guys seen this? Have you heard about this? — bumped Louisville back up to a 2-seed in the eyes of Joe Lunardi.

—It was also a rough night in the crowd for BBN.

Yikes.

That should be the final time she sets foot inside Rupp Arena.

—Lucas Dunn is slowly returning to form for the U of L baseball team.

—Blanton Creque talks with the folks over at Cardinal Sports Zone about his time as a Cardinal.

—North Carolina has now won three in a row since losing to Louisville on Feb. 22, and Cole Anthony is feeling it a little bit.

The biggest achievement for North Carolina coach Roy Williams with this team is that he’s somehow managed to keep their confidence at a level that belies their record. Speaking on the upcoming ACC tournament, which the Heels would have to win in order to earn a NCAA Tournament bid, freshman guard Cole Anthony uttered words that have probably never been said before by a team in last place.

“I guarantee that no one wants to see us,” Anthony said. “…This is the scariest bottom seed you ever want to see. We hungry. I think the level we’re playing at now we’re a top 10 team in the country, easily. College basketball is having a little bit of a weird year there aren’t that many great teams. I think at this point we’re a great team.”

News that Georgia Tech had withdrawn their NCAA appeal and will sit out of postseason play opened the door for Carolina to dream about avoiding the Tuesday round of games in the league tournament by earning a 10seed. At best, starting in Wednesday’s second round would mean the Heels would have to win four games in four days. At worst means they’d start on Tuesday and have to win five straight. Neither task is daunting to Anthony, who was quick to respond, “I don’t see any reason why we cannot.”

—A 2020 NCAA Tournament with empty arenas? It can’t be ruled out.

—WDRB has the latest on Katina Powell’s latest legal troubles, which appear destined to end in prison time.

—David Johnson was in the house for last night’s 7th Region quarterfinal matchup between Trinity and St. X.

The Tigers knocked off the reigning state champs, 58-47.

Other 7th Region scores:

Ballard 92, Manual 50

Male 84, Seneca 53

Eastern 55, Central 38

The semifinals will go down Saturday night at Valley.

—The U of L men’s tennis team swept both Xavier and Kennesaw State on Tuesday.

—Josh Speidel’s Senior Night at Vermont might be the best thing we see all month.

—Higher seeds went 12-0 on the first day of college basketball’s postseason.

—Texas beat Oklahoma last night on a banked in shot at the buzzer that may wind up getting them in the tournament and saving Shaka Smart’s job.

—The NCAA’s first use of its new IARP will be the Memphis State/James Wiseman infractions case.

The IARP was launched in August in response to recommendations issued by the Commission on College Basketball. It’s made up of “independent investigators, advocates and adjudicators” who will be asked the by the NCAA to review select infractions cases in Division-I.

The biggest thing with the IARP cases is that there is no appeal. If the IARP decided to punt Memphis into the sun, the Tigers will be punted into the sun and that will be the end of it.

—Dana Evans and Jazmine Jones have both been named to the ACC’s All-Academic Team.

—This is madness:

Kimble, for what it’s worth, is the ref who got into it with Chris Mack and ultimately T’d him up during the Virginia game.

—Jeff Walz is one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year award. Fans get one vote for the award, and you can cast yours for Walz by going here.

—The only prediction on Aminu Mohammed’s crystal ball page has the No. 14 overall player in the 2021 class headed to Louisville.

—Snacks runs the SWAC.

—The Atlantic 10 is forcing its players to perform “forearm bumps” instead of handshakes after games at the league tournament because of the coronavirus. That seems like sort of an absurd request after a 40-minute game where the players will be in almost constant contact and touching the same ball, but whatever.

—The ACC women’s tournament gets underway today. Louisville, which won’t take the court until Friday, is the betting favorite to cut down the nets.

Everything you need to know about the Louisville Zoo’s lantern festival.

—It’s not hard to see why Chris Mack called the Virginia Tech game Jordan Nwora’s most complete performance.

—Mekhi Becton is one of five players whose NFL draft stock soared after the combine.

—There are only four days left in the ACC’s regular season, but the league still has plenty of questions to answer.

—Isaiah Hayes appears ready to contribute at safety for the Cardinal football team this fall.

—I would not have guessed that the EKU team we saw at the Yum Center back in December would be capable of finishing in fourth place in the OVC. Congrats to A.W. Hamilton on a deserved honor here.

—Jeff Borzello is the only ESPN college hoops writer who thinks Louisville will win next week’s ACC men’s basketball tournament.

—ACC hoops tonight:

Clemson at Virginia Tech (7 p.m./ACC Network)

No. 7 Florida State at Notre Dame (9 p.m./ESPN2)

No. 22 Virginia at Miami (9 p.m./ACC Network)

Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech (9 p.m./ACCNx)

The big one out of that group for Louisville fans is, of course, FSU at Notre Dame. If the Fighting Irish are able to pull off the upset, the Cards will win the ACC regular season title outright if they can win at Virginia on Saturday.

—At this point why not just leave them up until next year?

This story on the resolve of the local volleyball team that lost two of its players in a fatal car wreck last month is extremely uplifting.

—Louisville isn’t worried about Virginia’s pace on Saturday.

Louisville has only one game remaining, Saturday’s finale at Virginia. Mack knows winning at JPJ is not a stroll in the park.

While media and fans talk about tempo being important when teams face Virginia’s slower, deliberate pace, Mack said that’s not something his Cardinals think much about.

“Teams talk about tempo, pace and going to the electric chair,” Mack jabbed about playing UVA. “None of our guys worry about that. Our guys know Virginia is going to walk the ball up, put you in half court. You’re not going to speed them up.

“If the game ends 7-6, we’re not concerned. Or 105 to 102, which, unless it goes 15 overtimes, I doubt that’s the score. We don’t worry about that either. We worry about trying to get really good shots, which is hard to do against Virginia, and not giving them good shots.”

—We’re recapping Senior Day and other nonsense on the latest episode of the CC Podcast.

—And finally, go Notre Dame. Beat FSU.