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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Gavin showcasing the collective mood of the Cardinal fan base all week.

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—It’s finally a home game day again for the Louisville women’s basketball team, which hosts No. 9 Michigan tonight at 7.

—The Only Colors reacts to Michigan State’s win over Louisville.

—Spartan Avenue has three big takeaways from MSU’s win.

—Jeff Greer’s latest Louisville hoops newsletter covers the team’s strong performance in the Bahamas as well as its loss in East Lansing Wednesday night.

Let’s start with this: I did not anticipate the fury from so many Louisville fans during and after the Michigan State loss. I have to think really high tensions related to the football program (don’t blame you) influenced that reaction quite a bit, because otherwise, I’m not sure I get it. Michigan State is a top-25 opponent (in KenPom) with the second-most efficient defense in the country, hosting the game in one of the toughest places to play in college basketball, and hit 10 of 18 from 3. Most teams lose a game like that in East Lansing. And don’t forget: Louisville beat two good teams in the Bahamas with back-to-back strong performances, too.

That said, I do understand the frustration with a few lingering issues, namely the turnovers and shot selection, and I want to dive into them while also exploring the areas where Louisville has done well or improved over the past three games. There is a lot to like about the past week for Louisville — even with its loss Wednesday night — and plenty to build on. There’s also a lot that Chris Mack and his staff still have to figure out.


Nobody likes losing. There are high expectations here in Louisville, and people take each game very seriously, which I love. All that said, Louisville’s entire offseason narrative was about building an NCAA Tournament team with toughness that plays much more entertaining basketball. The entertaining part has been iffy so far, I’ll grant you that, but this group is considerably better and tougher than last season. And from watching an unhealthy amount of college hoops the last three weeks, I can confidently say this team is clearly a bona fide NCAA Tournament team. Isn’t that the goal?

Last season’s Louisville squad would’ve lost the Michigan State game by 30 after the Spartans’ run early in the second half. Not sure the 2020-21 Cards beat Maryland, either. This season’s team, over the past three games, including Michigan State, produced surges or full-on runs that got them back into games or into the lead, thanks in large part to strong defense and rebounding. The Cards are no doubt a work in progress, but they have a lot to work with, and it’s Dec. 2.

—Matt McGavic writes that Louisville’s offense still being a work in progress was on full display Wednesday night.

—Louisville football has offered two prospects in the transfer portal: Temple safety MJ Griffin and FIU offensive lineman Miles Frazier.

—I’ve gotta know who voted for Satterfield and who voted for Dabo.

—Cincinnati is the big winner of the college football coaching carousel. At least for now.

—The Courier Journal’s Brett Dawson writes that while the Louisville defense has made significant strides in recent weeks, the offense needs to catch up.

—The Athletic’s Brendan Quinn has a feature piece on Chris Mack’s return and the tough road that now lies in front of him.

Playing a Michigan State team rated as the No. 1 defense in the country, the Cards staggered through a 73-64 loss that saw the Spartans lead by as many as 20 with eight minutes to go. In a campaign that many see as carrying some notable weight in Mack’s tenure at Louisville, the fourth-year head coach is trying to dial up some offense in hope of getting away from the stigma of stagnant play. He brought in new assistant coach Ross McMains to insert fresh ideas, increase tempo and bring more of a pace-and-space style of play.

So far, the changes are spelled out in the metrics. The Cards rank 27th in the country in average possession length (15.5) and 101st in tempo (70.1 possessions per game). Under Mack, the program has never finished ranked higher than 169th in possession length and 199th in tempo. Last year it averaged 65.7 possessions (ranking 300th) and 17.9 seconds per possession (246th).

“That’s how we want to play,” Mack said Wednesday. “That’s been the emphasis.”

Question is, does Louisville have the offensive personnel to thrive and make shots?

On Wednesday, it did not.

Neither Michigan State nor Louisville started particularly well, putting forth the type of wrestling match one might expect from these two programs, but then the Spartans started making shots and the Cards looked incapable of matching them.

—Good story here on Nic Schutte, the Male High QB who will be trying to win a state championship on Saturday just days after losing his father.

—Regardless of what happens with the MLB lockout, there will be a Louisville Bats season in 2022.

—Brett McMurphy’s latest bowl projections have Louisville taking on UAB in the Cure Bowl (Dec. 17 in Orlando).


—Monty Montgomery remains the man.

—Michigan State freshman sharpshooter Max Christie had been a defensive liability before Wednesday night, when he held Louisville’s leading scorer to 0-for-7 from the field.

—The Athletic’s Tony Jones and Christopher Kamrani write about how Donovan Mitchell has galvanized Salt Lake City’s black community.

“As a Black male in this state, I feel like it’s my job to speak for people who don’t necessarily have a voice, who don’t feel like they have a voice, which is sad,” Mitchell said recently. “Y’all do. I want to continue to implore people that you all do, especially Black people in this community, because it’s no secret that there’s not many of us here.”

To get there, though, those involved with the Black community in Utah have awaited high-profile representation that they have never had. And Mitchell is using his widening platform to not only stimulate more voices being heard, but also to shed light on the fact that race-related injustices in this predominantly White state should not be tolerated anywhere.

“When you have a Donovan Mitchell, who is choosing not to turn his back on his community, to lend his voice, his body, his energy, his time for causes that make a difference, that’s giving back. That’s not only for the now, but also for the future,” said Darlene McDonald, a member of the Utah Black Roundtable and the Salt Lake City Commission on Racial Equity in Policing. “I applaud him. It’s a heavy load that he’s going to carry. This is tiresome, grueling, debilitating, soul-crushing work. It’s going to be heavy for him.”

—The logo for the 2023 men’s Final Four in Houston has been unveiled.

—Virginia Tech has announced the contract details for new football head coach Brent Pry.

—Yasir will be a CC favorite forever.

—The College Football Playoff board was unable to come to an agreement on playoff expansion during its meeting on Wednesday. They’ll meet again in January.

—The Big Ten locked up a third straight win in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge Wednesday night, but the ACC gave easily its best collective performance of the week. Here are the results from the final evening of competition:

No. 22 Michigan State 73, Louisville 64
No. 23 Wisconsin 70, Georgia Tech 66
North Carolina 72, No. 24 Michigan 51
NC State 104, Nebraska 100 (4 OT)
Virginia Tech 62, Maryland 58
Miami 63, Penn State 58

—Single game tickets for the U of L men’s basketball ACC season are now on sale.


—U of L serves up its preview of the top-seeded Louisville volleyball team’s NCAA tournament opener against Illinois-Chicago on Friday.

—Eric Crawford shares his takeaways from Louisville-Michigan State.

—This is cool.

—Here’s everything Tom Izzo said after last night’s game.

—A look at how Louisville players in the NFL fared in week 12.

—And finally, beat Michigan.