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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Happy weekend, boys and girls.

—Spread check: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Louisville is a 2.5-point favorite over NC State.

—It’s NCAA tournament match day for your unbeaten and top-seeded Louisville volleyball team. The Cards will face Illinois-Chicago at 7 p.m. Here’s a preview.

—Louisville is an 11-seed in the latest Bracketology from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi.

—Here’s the U of L recap of the women’s basketball team’s throttling of Michigan Thursday night.

—It appears NBC will no longer be your exclusive home for every leg of the Triple Crown.

—Wild news out of Maryland, where the university and Mark Turgeon have mutually agreed to part ways in the middle of the season. Danny Manning will be the Terps’ interim head coach.

The cost of coming up short in the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship.

—Here’s Eric Crawford’s write-up from what has to be the most complete U of L women’s basketball performance of the young season.

—The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks writes that in order for the Utah Jazz to take the next step, they need to make Donovan Mitchell their primary ballhandler.

The best path forward in Utah is to give Mitchell the ball more often. Go back to that list of high-volume 3-point shooters. Mitchell is on a completely different level athletically than the other four. He’s a former dunk contest winner who can mash the turbo button at will. There are only a handful of defenders with even a prayer of staying in front of him. Mitchell is no. 14 in the league in drives per game (14.5) even though his field goal percentage on those drives (52.6) is no. 5 among the 22 players averaging at least 13 per game. Attacking the rim is where he can get back some of those missing free throws. If the refs aren’t calling as many fouls on jumpers, then Mitchell has to go where the fouls are.

Empowering Mitchell would also give the Jazz more room to fix the defensive problems the Clippers exposed. They can put more size and athleticism around him on the perimeter if he doesn’t need to play with another point guard. Utah has been using Mitchell as a wing next to a point guard when he really needs to be a point guard with wings next to him.

—Dillon Lawson, a Louisville native and one of my oldest friends, is about to be named the new hitting coach for the New York Yankees. Wild thing to type. Guy absolutely deserves it.

Still hope the Yankees suck, but I hope the offense isn’t the reason.

—U of L student-athletes achieved a record 91 percent graduation rate to match the Cardinals’ best mark in the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) Report, which was developed 17 years ago.

—Pretty cool to see a Lou City guy called up by the national team.

—Congrats to former Louisville defensive back Russ Yeast, who was named First Team All-Big 12 after a strong season for Kansas State.

—The CJ’s Cam Teague writes about what the return of Malik Cunningham means for Cardinal football.

Embarrassed after his four interception game last week, Lamar Jackson now heads into the portion of the NFL season that he has dominated.

“No excuses,” he said. “That was just a bad performance. Four interceptions. Hope that never, ever happens again. Not ever.”

Jackson is heading into the part of the season where he has flourished. He has won 12 straight games as a starter in December and January. The only starting QBs with longer winning streaks in December/January regular-season games since the start of 1950 are Philip Rivers (19 in a row) and Daryle Lamonica (14), according to Elias Sports Bureau research.

The Ravens are feeling a sense of urgency on offense. When asked what it’s going to take for the offense to play more consistently, Jackson apologized to a reporter for not letting him finish his question, saying, “We just need to do us. It’ll start back soon. We need to right away. Hopefully this week, it’ll start.”

—Cool story here on car enthusiasts delivering thousands of dollars worth of toys to Norton Children’s.

—Stewart Mandel’s latest bowl projections for The Athletic have Louisville facing Air Force in the First Responders Bowl.

—I’ll be honest, I find the opening line way more embarrassing than the on again, off again fake Southern accent.

—Cardinal Authority keeps tabs on the freshmen who saw the field for the Cardinal football team in 2021.

—Matt McGavic of Louisville Report sees Louisville pulling out a two-point win in Raleigh tomorrow afternoon.

—The former Card is still setting world records in the 100 Butterfly.

—Swish Appeal recaps Louisville’s triumph over Michigan.

—Nice story here from David Hale on Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman’s efforts to de-stigmatize mental health in the football world.

—Marilyn Jackson has been named the new president and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center.

—This would be cool.

—Light Up Louisville is this weekend.

—The Louisville Zoo is celebrating the hatching of three new penguins.

—Ballard football alum Jared Casey is transferring from Kentucky. Casey was a four-star prospect coming out of high school in 2019.

—Monty Montgomery is already focused on having a monster 2022.

—A Louisville man won $100,000 on a Kentucky Lottery scratch-off.

—The latest bowl projections for Louisville football.

—John Dodge, a Louisville resident and pro baseball player who was killed by a pitch in 1916, was honored at Cave Hill Cemetery on Thursday.

—Friday Irrelevance:

—The main issue standing in the way of College Football Playoff expansion remains whether or not the best Group of Five team deserves an automatic bid.

—And finally, there should once again be plenty to talk about on this afternoon’s Mike Rutherford Show, which will roll from 3-6 on 1450 The Big X. You can stream the show here.