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Monday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Wes, Winnie and Marcie Napper are all focused and ready for another loaded week of Cardinal hoops.

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NET Rankings Update: No. 42 (up three spots from Saturday).

—Carlik Jones is one of 10 finalists for the Cousy Award, which goes to the top point guard in college basketball.

— recaps the top-ranked Louisville women’s team’s narrow Sunday win over Wake Forest.

—Highlights from the nail-biter in Winston-Salem:

—Louisville baseball is No. 7 in the preseason rankings from Baseball America.

—The Athletic’s Seth Davis hands out some midseason college hoops accolades and lists Louisville as the top overachieving team in America.

1. Louisville (10-3, 5-2 ACC). The Cardinals lost their best player, Jordan Nwora, to the NBA as well as five others from last year. Starting center Malik Williams has yet to play because of a foot injury, and their leading scorer is a grad transfer from Radford, 6-1 guard Carlik Jones. Yet they’ve lost just three games and are in third place in the ACC.

—U of L rowing has unveiled a new oar design.

—Even though his team lost, Jaire Alexander was a star for Green Bay on Sunday, snagging two fourth quarter interceptions to give the Packers a shot at playing in the Super Bowl.

—The Duke victory highlight video is a banger.

—Hopkinsville’s Reece Jesse held over a dozen scholarship offers, but discusses here what made him choose Louisville as his next football stop.

—I am freaked out by how much Samaki Walker’s son looks like him.

Jabari Walker is a 6’8 freshman at Colorado currently averaging 8.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. He was a late bloomer in high school, but he’s going to be a player.

—Kevin Flaherty of 247 Sports says Carlik Jones has been the best transfer in college basketball this season.

—Louisville has offered Pinson, Ala wide receiver Marquarius “Squirrel” White.

Lord, please deliver us another Touchdown Squirrel.

—The Athletic has Louisville at No. 3 and another ACC team, NC State, at No. 1 in its latest women’s basketball power rankings.

If that four-day stretch was a precursor of what the final weeks of the season will look like, we’ve got a fun few weeks ahead of us (and a lot of movement in the Power Rankings). Buckle up.

1. NC State (10-0) | ↑ 1

2. South Carolina (10-1) | ↑ 1

3. Louisville (12-0) ↑ 1

4. Stanford (11-1) | ↓ 3

5. UConn (7-0) | —

The AP poll has an ACC team at No. 1. How do you not put the Wolfpack there?

NC State and Louisville have pretty similar resumes: They’re both 1-0 against current AP top-25 teams, they’re both 5-0 in ACC competition and they had the same largest win margin against their one common opponent (19 points versus Boston College). But NC State is slightly better. They have the better top-25 win (South Carolina over DePaul, no debate) and they have faced more ACC opponents with winning records (two to one).

—Louisville has offered four-star defensive end Wilfredo Aybar from the class of 2022.

—Virginia Tech has suspended second-leading scorer and rebounder Tyrece Radford indefinitely for “not upholding the high standards Virginia Tech has for its students and athletes.” The Cards play at Virginia Tech on Feb. 13.

—When you’re a senior walk-on with one final chance to dunk inside Assembly Hall, you make the most of that opportunity.

—Shaka Smart has tested positive for Covid-19. His Longhorns are set to play Kentucky this weekend.

—Louisville checks in at No. 28 in Jon Rothstein’s weekly rankings.

—The Cards are No. 23 in Gary Parrish’s daily rankings for CBS.

—Should be a national holiday.

—Also because of this:

No one should be working on Jan. 25.

—The U of L women’s basketball team’s Thursday night game against North Carolina has been picked up by the ACC Network and will now tip at 8 p.m.

—David Ubben and Bruce Feldman of The Athletic rank the 30 most bizarre moments for Tennessee football over the last decade. It’s an unbelievable list.

—It appears as though Eastern Kentucky is one of three schools that will be making a move to the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Colonels will lose their in-state OVC rivalries with Murray State and Morehead State, but could pick one up with Bellarmine.

—Former Card Jonathan Gannon has been hired as the new defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles.

—Sacred Heart’s Donna Moir has been selected as the 2019-20 NFHS National Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year.

—Carlik Jones has battled his whole life for the opportunity he now has at Louisville. Suffice it to say, he’s taking full advantage.

“Carlik has always been doing this,” said Carl Jones. “Even though he was at Radford, he had success against Ohio State, Texas, Maryland and all of those schools. We expected this out of him. He is just doing it now in the ACC instead of against high-major schools while not being at one.”

Tucker said, “Once he decided on Louisville, we worked a lot during the pandemic while I was in Cincinnati. We worked on a lot of things. I told him that this wasn’t Radford, he couldn’t just finish at the rim like he used to, he was going against high-major athletes, so he worked hard on how to get his release higher and get his floater better.”

He continued, “I am not surprised by his success at all. Once we got back in the gym, I could tell from the beginning he would have a great season.”

According to Mack he could tell early on once the coaching staff was allowed to do workouts that Jones was a tremendous talent, but as time went on, he saw that competitiveness and drive to be great that he knew would make Jones a success.

“He has that desire that a lot of really good and competitive athletes have,” said Mack. “David West had that chip on his shoulder that drove him to great, and Carlik is the same way.”

Mack continued, “At the same time, I think there is a great appreciation from Carlik to play in the ACC. He is as competitive as any guy I have been around, but he also is very appreciative of the opportunity that he has and that combination has helped him and by extension us this season.”

—Louisville is now “scrambling” to prepare for its adjusted schedule, which includes a Wednesday road game against a team the Cards weren’t supposed to face until March. Thankfully, Clemson is in the same boat.

—The 2021 Cardinal lacrosse schedule is out.

—Last year’s canceled NCAA tournament cost the NCAA $800 million. That’s why you’re absolutely going to see some form of a Big Dance in 2021, no matter what.

—Need to get a Covid test, but also don’t want anything stuck up your nose? You’re in luck!

—Duke Basketball Report says that the Blue Devils may have found an identity in their loss to Louisville.

—Bustin Breakaways has three takeaways from U of L’s triumph over the Blue Devils.

—The latest Cardinal Sports Zone podcast is here.

—Opting out of conference tournaments is about to become a major, major talking point.

—Big Monday slate for tonight:

Syracuse at No. 8 Virginia (7 p.m./ESPN)
No. 10 Texas Tech at No. 11 West Virginia (9 p.m./ESPN)
Oklahoma State at Iowa State (9 p.m./ESPN2)
Arizona State at Arizona (11 p.m./ESPN2)

—Five Cardinals have been recognized on the All-ACC Academic Football Team.

—And finally, Eric Crawford shares his thoughts on Dana Evans’ heroics Sunday afternoon in Winston-Salem.