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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Oona Sample is either picker her nose or throwing an L. Either way, she thinks Clemson is going down this weekend.

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—Spread check: Clemson by 4.

—The U of L women’s basketball team is in exhibition action tonight inside the KFC Yum Center. Here’s a preview.

—Male High football star Selah Brown will announce his college commitment tonight at 6. All accounts are that Louisville is in a good place.

—The latest Card Chronicle Podcast episode is here.

—ACC basketball players talked anonymously to The Athletic about the rest of the conference, and the only mention Louisville received was a second place finish in the “Favorite Arena to Play In” section.

—Four-star guard George Washington III from Christian Academy has committed to Ohio State. I’ll never forgive the Buckeyes for stealing all those low-hanging jokes from us.

—Former Cardinal/Butler Bear Adam Duvall is a World Champion. It marks the second straight year a Dan McDonnell product has been a part of a World Series win.

—After winning the ACC regular season title, the Louisville field hockey team cleaned up when the league announced its individual award winners on Wednesday.

The University of Louisville’s Alli Bitting has been named the Atlantic Coach Conference Field Hockey Defensive Player of the Year, while goalkeeper Mila de Kuijer was selected as the conference’s Freshman of the Year and Justine Sowry was tabbed as ACC Coach of the Year in a vote by the league’s head coaches.

In addition to earning two of the league’s major awards, Bitting and de Kuijer joined teammates Julie Kouijzer and Aimee Plumb on the All-ACC first team while Katie Schneider was named to the second team. Louisville led all schools with four first-team selections.

The top-seeded Cardinals will play in the ACC tournament semifinals on Friday. You can find the bracket for the event, which is being hosted by Syracuse, right here.

—Our guy CardinalStrong answered some questions for Shakin’ the Southland about Louisville, horse racing, and how the Clemson game has been a rollercoaster of emotions over the last seven years.

—TCU reportedly planned to honor longtime head coach (and C-USA legend) Gary Patterson with a celebration before he “retired.” That apparently didn’t sit well with the man who built the Frogs into a national title contender.

—The West Coast recruit invasion is coming.

—After securing their first-ever Atlantic Division regular season title, the Louisville men’s soccer team will host Notre Dame in an ACC tournament quarterfinal match on Sunday. Tickets are available here.

—The award for most petty move of 2021 goes to the Colonial Athletic Association, which will not allow teams from James Madison to compete for league championships this year if the school officially announces its move to the Sun Belt.

—Jeff Greer makes 10 observations and 10 predictions about the upcoming season in his latest Louisville men’s basketball newsletter.

1. The pace and space are noticeably different. They still have to make shots and make the right decisions, but the Cardinals have opened up the floor so much more this season. There’s serious determination to get into transition and get early looks. One of Louisville’s biggest problems last season was the inability to score easy baskets, resulting in a stagnant offense that really had to work through the shot clock. I’d imagine Louisville took among the highest number of contested shot attempts in recent program history last season, if not the highest. That’s going to change.

2. Defense is a work in progress. Louisville may struggle defending drivers, which is why Malik Williams staying healthy is really important. He is the primary shot blocker on the team and can erase or alter shots at the rim. This is perhaps where some of that token pressure can help create some turnovers and rush opposing offenses a little more, too. Louisville got better as the game progressed, and Mack pointed out how little his players saw of West Georgia’s offense before the matchup, but the gap help in driving lanes and on-ball defense wasn’t ideal in the opening 5-10 minutes. Opponents will only get more explosive and athletic from here.

3. The early-season depth chart looks like …

PG: West/Ellis

SG: Locke/Ellis/Faulkner

SF: Davis/Williamson

PF: Withers/Cross

C: Williams/Curry or Traynor

Gabe Wiznitzer is a month behind after the wrist injury — curious to see if he ends up redshirting or returning. I do wonder if Roosevelt Wheeler catches up to the rotation at some point, but Sydney Curry is clearly ahead at this point and JJ Traynor is an intriguing option as a 4/5. I’m also very, very curious to see how Mason Faulkner plugs in when he’s ready. That’s 80 minutes to split among four guards.

—The Three-Man-Weave podcast preview of the ACC is here.

—Mike Pegues is spending a chunk of his Thursday visiting with class of 2024 big man Somto Cyril.

Ten key storylines for Lou City entering the playoffs.

—TuTu Atwell will miss the remainder of his rookie season with the Los Angeles Rams.

—Love Lamar the dad.

—LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade was reportedly interviewed across parts of two days last week by Complex Case Unit investigators.

—The second-ranked Louisville volleyball team will look to keep its perfect season going this weekend with road matches at NC State and North Carolina.

—As he does every year, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says Louisville presents plenty of problems for his team.

—The Athletic’s Chantel Jennings names Emily Engstler as one of the 25 most intriguing women’s college basketball players for the upcoming season.

14. Emily Engstler, Louisville

Engstler reminds Louisville coach Jeff Walz of former Cardinals forward Candyce Bingham, who was also a transfer into the program and was a huge part of Louisville’s success in its first Final Four run (2009). She fills a need in terms of size and length for Louisville and will be a player who can find ways to score around the basket. With a driver like Hailey Van Lith, there are going to be opportunities to make plays around the rim. Engstler’s size, length, athleticism and timing make her an intriguing WNBA prospect. This season — her last at the college level, she says — is going to be huge for her to put her full game on display. I’m excited to see what that looks like.

Former Card Elizabeth Balogun, now at Duke, is also on the list.

—Louisville women’s golfer Carmen Griffiths is set to compete at The 2021 Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship.

—Covid issues have canceled this Friday’s planned swim meet between Louisville, Notre Dame and Miami.

—Disney is shutting down ESPN Classic at the end of the year.

—Pickle Winkler is destined to be a U of L fan favorite.

—The latest episode of the Cardinal Sports Zone podcast is here.

—The community is rallying behind an Eastern High School basketball star after his cancer diagnosis.

—U of L has landed a commitment from Conner High School kicker Nick Keller.

—Backing the Pack has a film review of NC State’s win over Louisville.

—At least there are plenty of nearby options for Kentuckians to spend their money.

—Former U of L QB commit Chubba Purdy is transferring from Florida State.

—Papa John remains the weirdest.

—Andrea Adelson nails the hypocrisy inherent in the College Football Playoff selection process.

—Bill Connelly’s S&P Projections like Clemson over Louisville by 9.

—In the midst of the great “What Makes a Fan” debate of 2021, this is a good move by U of L.

—Sports Illustrated’s Kevin Sweeney ranks all 358 Division-I men’s basketball teams, and has Louisville at No. 45.

—A bipartisan group in Congress wants to create a new federal law that would force the NCAA to change the way it investigates and punishes member schools that break the association’s rules.

—Louisville’s Jiri Zuska has been named the ACC Men’s Golfer of the Month.

—Team Mike Boynton.

—The Athletic’s Dana O’Neil writes that Oklahoma State is the latest victim of the typically fault NCAA investigation process.

—Jalen Mitchell and Bryan Brown met with the media after practice on Wednesday.

—Lynn Family Stadium is a finalist for TheStadiumBusiness Awards 2021’s Project of the Year.

—It should surprise no one that Mykassa Robinson has stepped up to be a true leader for Jeff Walz’s 2021-22 Cardinals.

—This remains an issue.

—Even with the Tigers being down this year, Scott Satterfield knows that a win over Clemson would be huge for the Louisville program.

—Louisville Report’s Matt McGavic is taking Clemson over Louisville in a low-scoring affair.

—In its second exhibition game Wednesday night, U of L upped its efficiency.

—Tre Clark has no regrets.

—TigerNet takes an advanced look at Louisville-Clemson.

—Streaking the Lawn has Louisville at No. 9 in its latest ACC football power rankings.

—Big man Sydney Curry’s progress was on full display Wednesday night.

—Athlon previews the upcoming Louisville men’s basketball season.

Final Analysis

The Cards underachieved last season, falling out of the NCAA Tournament after getting thumped by 45 points at North Carolina and 37 at Wisconsin and then losing their last two games to Virginia and Duke.

If Williams can stay healthy and Williamson improves — no sure things — the frontcourt should be solid. While the backcourt has a number of intriguing pieces, they’re all new to the program and have never played together.

Everybody will be adjusting to a faster offensive tempo thanks to new assistant coach Ross McMains, who arrives with credentials from the NBA G-League.

That’s a challenging scenario for winning in the ACC, where the Cards figure to settle into the middle of the pack.

Postseason Prediction: NCAA Tournament Round of 32

ACC Prediction: 6

—Greenville Online has five things to watch for on Saturday night.

—Malik Cunningham provides Brent Venables and the Clemson defense with another unique challenge.

—Here’s everything Chris Mack had to say after Wednesday night’s exhibition victory.

—Highlights from last night:

Fixing their fourth quarter woes is on Louisville football’s to-do list.

—The CJ looks at the keys to victory for the Cards against Clemson.

—The top-ranked prospect in the state of Idaho is visiting U of L this weekend.

—And finally, the Mike Rutherford Show is back this afternoon from 3-6 on 1450 The Big X. It’s time to ramp up the Clemson disdain. You can stream the show here.