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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Rensha Reeder is repping the Cards in Jamaica.

NET Rankings Update: No. 41 (up one).

—The top-ranked U of L women’s basketball team is back in action today at 4 p.m. against Miami. The ACC Network will have the TV coverage.

—Tomorrow night at Clemson, Louisville will once again be facing an ACC team desperate to get back on track.

—NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has TuTu Atwell at No. 31 on his list of the 50 best prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft.

31) Tutu Atwell, WR

School: Louisville | Year: Junior

Atwell is an undersized wideout who seems like he’s playing with an invisible jetpack on his back. He primarily lined up in the slot at Louisville. He has rare burst and gets up to top speed in an instant. He consistently creates five-plus yards of separation on vertical routes and can tap into another gear when the ball is in the air. He isn’t asked to run a wide variety of routes, but he’s loose/fluid and should be able to handle a bigger menu at the next level. He excels on bubble screens, quick hitters and jet sweeps. He is tough, but he lacks the strength to break tackles. Fortunately, he can use his speed to navigate around defenders in space. Overall, Atwell is going to be a fun toy for his offense at the next level. He’s capable of scoring from anywhere on the field.

—An exhausting January slate has been no problem so far for Jeff Walz and his Cardinals.

—Dana Evans is the USBWA National Player of the Week.

—Seems pretty good.

—Louisville is No. 3 in the ACC power rankings from Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician.

—All-American Matthias Schmid fired a 71 to pace the Louisville men’s golf team to fourth place after the first round of the Southwestern Invitational at the North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village, Calif.

—Three U of L baseball players have been named preseason All-Americans by D1Baseball.com.

—Your ACC dunks of the week (skip the last 10 seconds):

—The Cards are a 7-seed facing LSU in the latest Bracketology from Patrick Stevens of The Washington Post.

—Rick Pitino says he has recovered from Covid-19 after testing positive while he was between doses of the vaccine.

—John Schlarman has been voted the Kentucky Sports Figure of the Year for 2020.

—ACC coaches are well aware of the possibility that some of the league’s best teams may choose to opt out of this year’s conference tournament.

Answers are elusive now, and may continue to be. But the topic is unlikely to vanish before March, as ACC coaches are well aware.

“That question I think will be better answered as we get closer to the ACC tournament,” Louisville’s Chris Mack said. “[But] I don’t think that prevents the ACC from having a Plan B and a Plan C should [infection] numbers continue to escalate. …

“I do believe there are some teams that will opt out of conference tournaments, no matter what they look like, knowing they’re a shoo-in for the NCAA tournament.”

And if his Cardinals were NCAA locks, would Mack recommend that they bail on the ACC tournament?

“I would consider it,” he said. “It probably wouldn’t be my decision alone. I’d talk to our players. I’d talk to obviously our administration. That’d be a hell of a choice I get to make, I tell you that.”

Mack is right on both counts. Barring unexpected and rapid virus progress, some teams are likely to opt out. Indeed, if your medical team concludes the team is safer at home, and if your primary goal is to reach, and advance in, the NCAA bracket, a conference tournament seems an unnecessary risk.

—Halfway through the college hoops season, Andy Katz serves up his top 10 candidates for national coach of the year.

—Louisville is No. 23 in Gary Parrish’s daily hoops rankings for CBS.

—Donovan Mitchell continues to put smiles on faces.

—On the one year anniversary of his untimely death, Cardinal freshman Hailey Van Lith discusses the impact Kobe Bryant had on her game and her life.

—U of L has hired alumnus, football star and tech founder Tendai Charasika to help guide innovations to market.

—Dwayne Ledford says his goodbye to The Ville.

—Pete Thomas and De’Rail Sims both call their new gigs with U of L football a “dream come true.”

—Thomas says he’s ready for the challenge that his promotion will provide.

—Jeff Greer talks with David Padgett on the latest episode of the Floyd Street’s Finest podcast.

—The Cards are a 5-seed facing undefeated Winthrop in the first round here:

—TigerNet previews Wednesday’s Louisville-Clemson game.

—Louisville and NC State are locks, but the rest of the ACC appears to be on the bubble for the women’s NCAA tournament.

—Coach K points to the experience of Carlik Jones as why the Cards are further along than Duke at the moment.

—Louisville Report examines the points of emphasis for tomorrow night’s game at Clemson.

Tenacious D

The Tigers’ defense is unquestionably what powers this team. Before they were picked apart by Virginia to start their three-game skid, Clemson actually had the No. 1 defense according to KenPom, and the fifth-best scoring defense in Division I (57.6 ppg).

Understandably, Clemson’s defensive metrics have taken a bit of a tumble of the course of their losing streak, but they are still way above average. The Tigers currently boast the No. 24 defense in D1 according to KenPom, and have second-best scoring defense at 63.4 points per game, behind only Virginia.

Much of their success on the defensive end is predicated on making teams uncomfortable for all 94 feet of the court, and forcing you to make mistakes. The Tigers excel at executing their man-to-man full court defense, which in turn forces opponents to turn the ball over on 24.2% of their possession - the fourteenth-best mark in college basketball. It also helps that Clemson doesn’t foul at an exceptionally high level despite their play style - just 16.5 per game (7th in ACC, 92nd in D1).

—I’m talking Cards, ACC and pure nonsense on the latest episode of Titus and Tate.

—Sports Illustrated has the Cards as a 10-seed at the moment.

—Tonight in the ACC:

North Carolina at Pitt (7 p.m./ACC Network)
Georgia Tech at Duke (9 p.m./ESPN)

—And finally, David Johnson is rocking the gold jersey in practice this week.