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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Had to happen.

—Spread check: Louisville by 1.5.

NET Rankings Update: No. 44 (down one).

—Louisville will elevate Pete Thomas from quality control coach to quarterbacks coach in order to replace the departed Frank Ponce.

—Highlights from the U of L women’s team’s first ever win as the No. 1 team in America:

Won’t be the last.

—Here’s the GoCards.com recap of the win over ‘Cuse.

—Darrell Griffith will return to U of L as a university ambassador, “working to support our strategic plan and Cardinal Anti-Racism Agenda,” President Neeli Bendapudi announced Friday morning. She’s good at this.

—Hoops Insight tackles the defining issue of our generation: How can Louisville get more out of Samuell Williamson.

So, Samuell Williamson needs to hit shots in order to get going. What can Louisville do to help?

One idea would be to put him in offensive situations early in the game where he’s more likely to score, in order to get his confidence up. What types of situations are those?

Per Synergy, Williamson is most likely to score in the following actions:

—Transition (67%)

—Offensive rebounds (67%)

—Cuts (53%)

It’s a bit difficult to create good transition actions or offensive rebounds, but Louisville could “script” early offense to feature cuts by Williamson off of penetration by Johnson or Jones. These early baskets could get him going.

On the flip side, Louisville should probably avoid using Williamson in spot-up situations from three early in the game. Williamson only scores on 28% of these, per Synergy. While three pointers are worth an extra point (trust me, I did the math), they go in less often, and the mental burden of seeing these shots miss may be hurting Williamson’s offensive focus. I think it’s worth trying to get him going on other types of action early in the game.

In the 5 games where Williamson has scored 12 or more points, he is doing very well in the opening 10 minutes of the game:

—17 points per 40 minutes on 80% eFG% (63% from two, 100% from three)

—20% of his shots as threes

In the other 5 games he’s played, Williamson has struggled in the opening 10 minutes as he’s been used more as an outside shooter

—5 pts per 40 minutes on 30% eFG% (50% from two, 0% from three)

—40% of his shots as threes

It seems like the more Williamson is used as an outside shooter, the worse his offensive game gets. If Louisville can tweak his role on offense, they may be able to avoid the poor starts that have plagued them and develop a strong 3rd scorer.

Gotta make shots.

—The CJ has three takeaways from U of L’s Thursday night win over Syracuse.

—The latest episode of the CC Podcast is here.

—Cardinal Authority looks back at Louisville football’s 2011 recruiting class.

—Malik Cunningham’s brief statement on Louisville losing its offensive coordinator:

—I’m sure there will be plenty of terrific Hank Aaron tributes in the days to come. This is the best I’ve read so far.

—NBC has begun telling distributors and leagues that it is planning to shut down its NBC Sports Network channel by the end of 2021. That’s a bummer for fans of college hoops, auto racing, horse racing and hockey.

—Former Cardinal Lance Thomas, who left Louisville for Memphis State a couple years ago, has entered the NCAA transfer portal for a second time.

—Less than a week from now, we will have our 2021 ACC football schedule.

Here’s hoping it’s the only one that needs to be released this year.

—The Louisville men’s soccer program had a pair of players taken in the 2021 Major League Soccer SuperDraft on Thursday. Elijah Amo was selected in the second round with the 34th overall pick by Real Salt Lake, while Lamine Conte followed six picks later at No. 40 to New York Red Bulls.

—Top Golf has confirmed that it’s still coming to The Ville.

—Brian Bennett has Louisville as an 8-seed taking on 9th-seeded Xavier in his latest mock NCAA tournament bracket for The Athletic.

—El Ellis looks awfully capable of stepping in and running the show for Louisville next season.

—In addition to taking Dwayne Ledford, the Atlanta Falcons have hired Dave Ragone to be their new offensive coordinator. Here’s hoping both guys have more success than the last prominent Louisville figure on the Falcons coaching staff.

—Donovan Mitchell is the fastest player to reach 600 made three-pointers in NBA history.

—The countdown to opening day for ACC baseball is on.

—Kentucky football players are doing the whole “we’re actually too good for Louisville to be our rivals” thing again.

Bohanna, who has declared for the NFL draft, said that he’s never considered Louisville to be a rival as Kentucky has dominated the past two games, winning 45-13 in 2019 and 56-10 in 2018. Louisville last won the Governor’s Cup in 2017 behind former Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson at quarterback, who also led the Cardinals to the win in 2015 to cap off five straight victories that began in 2011.

“Auburn’s got Bama and we got Louisville?,” said Bohanna. “We knew we were going to dominate just off strength. Like I told you, it’s different body types. Even when they had Lamar (Jackson), their O-line wasn’t anything. It wasn’t so much a rivalry to me. Maybe with Randall Cobb back in those days or whatever it was an intense rivalry, but not so much to me.”

Louisville finished 3-7 this past season in the ACC that included Notre Dame and Clemson, both of which played in the College Football Playoffs. Alabama, representing the SEC, won the national title with a 52-24 win over Ohio State.

Over the past two seasons, Kentucky has won bowl games over ACC foes Virginia Tech (2019) and NC State (2020), neither of which impressed Bohanna or Hoskins up front.

“No other team can play like a SEC team,” said Hoskins, who has yet to decide on a possible return for 2021. “I don’t care what nobody in America says. There’s no other team that play like SEC teams do.”

Louisville is 15-11 against Kentucky since the two teams began playing one another annually in 1994. The Cards have also won six of the last nine against the Cats.

—Busting Brackets previews Louisville-Duke.

—The Fayetteville Observer says it’s not time for Duke basketball to panic, but it is time for the Devils to start winning.

“They’re 18, 19 and 20. There should be no panic buttons on young people who have a chance to play at this level of college basketball,” Coach K told media Tuesday. ”If there was a panic button, it would be for 73-year old people who have coached for 46 years, and I don’t have one.”

In lieu of panic, there has been plenty of experimentation with this young team.

Seven different starting lineups have hit the floor in nine games — partially due to the foot injury of freshman forward Jalen Johnson and a lack of depth in the post — and on Tuesday night, Coach K unveiled a zone defense, something rarely used by Duke teams.

“We’re going to need some zone going forward because we’re not a big team, we’re not a physical team,” he said. “With the small perimeter that we have, it lends itself to that zone.”

With the exception of Johnson and sophomore Matthew Hurt, the Blue Devils have gotten very little production from their big men.

Seven-foot freshman Mark Williams is averaging 1.2 points and two rebounds a game. Graduate transfer Patrick Tape has done even less. Freshman Jaemyn Brakefield, who early on emerged as another scoring option, has four total points in the last four games.

“They got to get tougher,” Coach K said. ”This is such a young team and it’s as young of a team as we’ve had for a long time. We can’t afford to be down, we have to respond.”

—Louisville Report likes the Cards by a bucket tomorrow.

—And finally, beat Duke.