clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

New, comments

The Reynolds, Bell and Smolenski families are wishing they were back in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Checking in with Cardinal quarterback Evan Conley, who is staying ready for the return of football.

—Matt Norlander of CBS ranks Chris Mack No. 2 in his list of the 10 coaches next in line to win their first national championship.

2. Chris Mack, Louisville

Age: 50

Career record: 256-115 (.690)

NCAA Tournament record: 11-9 (.550)

Top-25 KenPom finishes: 5

It’s kind of surprising that Mack’s already half a hundred, but he’s obviously in a prime spot to win a national championship. Forget what may or may not happen with any NCAA sanctions looming over the program — Mack’s likely to settle in for years and years and build Louisville into a national title contender with some regularity. Any hurdles in the short-term aren’t going to clip Mack’s prospects in the big picture. The Cardinals should play at eye level with Kentucky for the most part of the next decade, which incrementally helps in recruiting, which helps the overall objective. Mack has a near-flawless coaching record in regard to the NCAA Tournament: he’s only missed it once since he became coach at Xavier a little more than a decade ago. If you have Mack, you’re going to the tournament. And if you’re Louisville, the chances only increase.

Gonzaga’s Mark Few is No. 1.

—New U of L football commit Ryheem Craig appears to be a perfect fit for Bryan Brown’s system.

—Former U of L women’s basketball guard Lindsay Duvall is transferring to Northern Kentucky. Best of luck to Lindsay with the Norse.

—Three-star QB Terrance Lewis from Georgia has received a Louisville offer.

—Former Louisville safety TreSean Smith is headed to Illinois.

—The ACC concluded its virtual spring meetings on Thursday. Commissioner John Swofford had plenty of interesting things to say.

—Swofford definitely expects there to be a 2020-21(?) college football season.

—Keith Oddo shares some thoughts on David Johnson over at Cardinal Sports Zone.

—Another Louisville boy will be on a video game cover this year.

—The Sports Illustrated “daily cover” story for today is a deep dive into what it will take to make college football happen in 2020.

—Bill Bender of The Sporting News does not have Micale Cunningham in his top 25 quarterbacks for the 2020 college football seasons.

—The Athletic’s Danielle Lerner writes that the backcourt of David Johnson and Carlik Jones holds the key to success for Louisville in 2020-21.

Because both Jones and Johnson can play on and off the ball, coach Chris Mack has plenty of flexibility when choosing how to execute his playbook.

The first thing to consider is how having Johnson and Jones on the floor together massively expands Louisville’s pick-and-roll capabilities. As a pick-and-roll ballhandler this season, Jones averaged 0.972 points per possession and shot 47.2 percent from the field, which has him rated in the 91st percentile by Synergy. Jones most often dribbles off the pick, but whether he does that or goes away from the pick, he is most effective when he takes the ball to the basket or shoots a jumper off the dribble. Although he is only 6-foot-1, once he gets two feet in the paint he is adept at using the glass to finish from either side of the basket.

Johnson is a capable pick-and-roll ball-handler as well (0.684 PPP) because of how well he gets downhill, but he is more of a threat when he passes to someone else to finish the play (1.095 PPP). That being said, he has a 24.1 percent turnover rate. Johnson’s mistakes included poor dribbles, unforced traveling violations and misplaced passes. “Freshman-like moments we’re hoping will disappear,” Mack said. While Johnson’s instincts are sharp, there’s no denying that experience counts for a lot when making reads in the pick-and-roll. Coaches expect him to develop naturally during his sophomore season, but it doesn’t hurt to have Jones as insurance.

Johnson and Jones also thrive in transition, an area in which the Cardinals averaged 1.139 PPP and shot 55 percent this season, which is in the 94th percentile according to Synergy. Johnson (1.184 PPP in transition) and Jones (1.247 PPP) can manufacture points from the drag screens Louisville likes to employ. Imagine a scenario where Johnson brings the ball up the floor and Malik Williams sets a high screen to let Johnson go to the hoop while Jones and Samuell Williamson linger on the wings as spot-up options.

—Howard Schnellenberger not being in the College Football Hall of Fame because of a stupid technicality remains absurd (Athletic link).

—Scott Satterfield’s son, Bryce Satterfield, is headed to Western Carolina to continue his football career.

—According to Hoop Vision’s data, Louisville had the third-deepest playbook in all of college basketball during the 2019-20 season.

[3] Louisville — 76 plays

If you made me take an educated guess — without any further research — at which tournament-caliber teams had the largest playbook, Louisville would be right at the top.

Chris Mack will take a play and progressively add different layers to it over the course of the season. The best example of that is in their “Buckeye Series” — a set of plays most prominently used by several coaches in the Thad Matta coaching tree.

Louisville is able to disguise different options (like backdoor cuts) by starting their plays with the same basic formation and action. In total, the Cardinals had 11 different options out of the Buckeye Series.

Mack also tinkered with Louisville’s base offense throughout the season. Against Kentucky, the Cardinals surprisingly ran a significant amount of Chin Continuity, despite not using it at all in their first 12 games. With that type of tinkering, it’s no surprise Louisville was near the top of the playbook-depth leaderboard in 2019-20.

Related: Full HV+ Louisville Scouting Breakdown

—A Louisville resident trapped as a “quarantine prisoner” in Argentina is finally back home.

—Less than 24 hours after announcing he was transferring from Purdue and subsequently being (indirectly) blasted by Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter, Nojel Eastern announced that he was signing with conference rival Michigan.

—Louisville has made the first cut for RB Anthony Williams.

—New U of L football commit Ryheem Craig gets some ink from his local paper.

—Mekhi Becton seems to be exactly the type of player the New York Jets need.

—Friday Irrelevance:

—Louisville makes the top 10 for WR Demetrius Cannon.

—Brian Snow of 247 Sports ranks the 10 college hoops teams that have added the most from the transfer market. Louisville tops the list.

Team: Louisville

Team Rank: No. 1

Transfers: Carlik Jones (No. 1 graduate transfer), Charles Minlend (No. 13 graduate transfer)

Chris Mack and his staff had some major holes to fill this off season, and they were able to do that in a big way by snagging two of the top graduate transfers in the country.

Leading the way for Louisville is Jones. The Cincinnati native was one of the best point guards in college basketball last year, and he should step in right away and play a huge role. Point guard, and guard play in general, was the biggest need for the Cardinals, and that is where Jones can come in. He can play on or off the ball and has the ability to change games shooting or distributing.

Minlend isn’t a shooter, but he has the ability to score at a high level. He is a wing who can play a variety of different roles. He loves to attack the rim and score from the mid-range and in. Minlend should absolutely be able to play a key role right away, and will be counted on to contribute to what would be a very young wing.

Kentucky, for those interested, is No. 2.

—The CJ looks at the U of L football players who are the most important when it comes to having a successful 2020 season.

—Do 2013 next, you cowards.

—Fresh off their first regional final appearance, the Louisville volleyball program has pulled in a top 20 recruiting class.

—And finally, racing is back at Churchill Downs tomorrow, where they’ll be honoring graduating seniors with a Twin Spires tribute.