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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Since it’s her last day as an only child, Virginia’s getting the cover.

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—Spread check: Louisville by 6.5.

—U of L football commit Popeye Williams has been selected to participate in the prestigious Under Armour All-American Game. It’s the third straight year Louisville has had at least one recruit selected for the game.

—Malik Cunningham is one of 16 semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award.

—This is a volleyball “blog” now.

—Jeff Goodman is the guest on the latest episode of the Starting 502 Podcast. Highlights include Goodman saying that Mason Faulkner was the best player when he watched practice on Friday, and Goodman calling Chris Mack’s 6-game suspension “honestly one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen.”

—Gary Parrish of CBS previews the upcoming ACC hoops season and predicts a sixth-place finish for Louisville.

6. Louisville

The Cardinals battled COVID-19 issues last season so much that they twice had at least 18-day breaks between games. The byproduct was that they only played a total of 20 games, which tied Boston College for the lowest in the league. In other words, it was an uneven season filled with interruptions that ended with a double-digit loss to Duke that pushed Louisville to the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble and led to Chris Mack making multiple staff changes. So the Cardinals are very much in need of a bounce-back season — and the expectation here is that they’ll have one despite losing their top two scorers (Carlik Jones and David Johnson). Like so many other programs, Louisville will be reliant on incoming transfers — namely Jarrod West, Noah Locke, Matt Cross and El Ellis, the latter of whom was ranked as the No. 1 JUCO prospect in the country.

None of CBS’ five writers had Louisville picked below 6th, but none had them higher than 5th.

—Another analytical college hoops site has Louisville in its preseason top 25. This time it’s

—U of L field hockey sits at No. 5 in the latest top 25 poll.

—Football victory recap videos are back.

—Racing Louisville is announcing a new partnership with the Kentucky Fertility Institute that is designed to provide players with options for starting a family while playing professionally.

—Louisville women’s basketball transfer Emily Engstler is a “perfect match” for Jeff Walz’s program.

—I was surprised to see Hailey Van Lith receive zero love from the AP preseason All-America team voters.

—Not enough people are talking about how Kentucky sold its soul to Kroger for a dream season.

—Louisville fan Devon Arnold has co-written a fun Halloween game that is safe for all ages. Check out the desktop version of “Howloween Hero” here.

—Two of Brian Rauf’s five biggest sleeper teams for the upcoming college basketball season will be joining Louisville in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving weekend.

—Last Word on Sports has Louisville at No. 7 in its ACC hoops preview.

7: Louisville Cardinals

Crucial Returners: Samuell Williamson, Jae’lyn Withers, Malik Williams, Dre Davis

Critical Losses: Carlik Jones, David Johnson

Key Newcomers: Elbert Ellis (JUCO), Jarrod West (Marshall), Noah Locke (Florida), Matt Cross (Miami FL), Roosevelt Wheeler, Michael James, Sydney Curry (JUCO)

The talent is there for Louisville. Despite losing his two best players, Chris Mack somehow restocked his team with the best JUCO player in Ellis and some amazing talent. So why is Louisville 7th? Simply put, I believe Chris Mack will be the downfall of this team. There were reports of him threatening to revoke scholarships from his players, and footage of him cursing his players became public. To further the Mack issues, he was suspended for six games, leaving this team without its head coach. But one cannot ignore the talent on the hardwood.

Ellis shot 42% from 3 while averaging 18 points in JUCO. If Mack, or whoever the coach is, utilizes him in a pick and roll, he could be lethal. Locke and West should also help provide shooting for the team, something Mack loves to do with his team. Even Cross can shoot the ball for the Cardinals, giving this team flexibility around the wing. Williamson could be poised for a breakout season, but time will only tell depending on how many opportunities he gets. It’d be amazing to see Williamson become a major player in the ACC, but with such a loaded team, will he get those opportunities? On top of those questions, Louisville also has t0 address its glaring issue with the center position. Williams is returning from an injury, but Mack seemed anxious about reintegrating him.

When looking at the remaining six teams, Louisville stacks up with them talent wise. However, the controversy surrounding the Cardinals seems destined to weigh them down. One can hope this doesn’t happen because a boatload of amazing players will miss the NCAA Tournament.

—The Athletic’s preseason top 25 for college hoops does not include Louisville.

— has Louisville at No. 6 in its updated football power rankings.

—Louisville Report discusses how the Cards will handle life without Chris Mack next month.

—Josh Minkins’ mom was very excited to see her son make a big play in the endzone on Saturday.

—Louisville senior guard Kianna Smith is one of 20 watch list candidates for the 2022 Ann Meyers-Drysdale Award, which is given each year to the top shooting guard in women’s college basketball.

—Ed Reed has some constructive criticism for Lamar Jackson.

—Guy Brooks, a freestyle sprinter from South Africa, has committed to U of L swimming.

—The U of L women’s basketball team surprised Jeff Walz during his media day session this afternoon. Walz turns 50 tomorrow.

—I was surprised to see Louisville at No. 19 on this list of the biggest recruiting spenders in college football.

—Despite last week’s loss to Miami, NC State will welcome Louisville to Raleigh with thoughts of a trip to the ACC title game still on their mind.

—And finally, tomorrow is eviction day for baby boy Rutherford so I won’t be around much for the next few days. If you have any issues, as always, take them up with Keith Wynne.

See all of you on the other side. Go Cards.