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Monday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Cards fans in Cambodia are hoping to catch a pair of wins on this Monday.

—Spread check: Louisville by 4.5.

NET Rankings Update: No. 45 (up one).

—The game of the year so far in women’s college basketball is going down tonight at 7 inside the KFC Yum Center when top-ranked and undefeated Louisville takes on No. 2 NC State. Here’s the U of L preview.

—Just a terrible sign for this afternoon that I’m going to pretend I never saw.

—Major congrats to Donovan Mitchell on winning the 2020-21 Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award.

—Backing the Pack previews Louisville-NC State.

—There’s been more and more talk in recent weeks about the possibility of some power conference teams opting out of their league tournaments. Louisville AD Vince Tyra says that isn’t on the table right now for the Cards.

Six weeks from now, the Louisville men’s basketball team will join its 14 league mates at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. and compete for a conference tourney crown.

That’s the plan, and the ACC is sticking to it.

COVID-19 pauses among men’s basketball programs have prompted speculation that teams may opt out of league tournaments to stay healthy for the NCAA Tournament. But Louisville athletic director and ACC Men’s Basketball Subcommittee member Vince Tyra said Friday that the ACC Tournament is expected to unfold March 9-13 for its men’s basketball members.

“Our plan is to continue the ACC Tournament as planned, as scheduled and with all 15 teams there. It’s one of our greatest assets. The ACC basketball tournament’s probably the leading conference tournament in the Power 5 and it’s not something that we would like to see teams step back from. It really is important to the conference,” Tyra said.

—Louisville long snapper Mitch Hall is returning for one more season with the Cards.

—Four-star Owensboro High QB Gavin Wimsatt has Louisville in his top nine.

—Senior Bowl week was a big one for the draft stock of Dez Fitzpatrick.

—Sports Illustrated says Fitzpatrick, who was named Offensive MVP of the game, was one of the biggest risers from Senior Bowl week.

—NFL.com also lists Dez as one of the three players who most helped their draft stock over the past week.

Dez Fitzpatrick, WR, Louisville. The former Cardinals standout proved to be the toughest cover for American squad defensive backs, getting open with ease and showing excellent body control on a pair of catches, one on the sideline in the first half and then high-pointing a catch on a back-shoulder throw from Texas QB Sam Ehlinger in the second half.

“We saw him do a toe-drag swag catch on the sideline, then come back and win a 50-50 ball along the boundary. (It was an) outstanding week of work for Dez Fitzpatrick,” said NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks.

Fitzpatrick said he’s been comfortable getting two feet in bounds, although the NCAA rule requires only one for a completed catch, for the last two years.

“I’m comfortable with adjusting to two feet in bounds. I’ve been working on it for the longest time,” Fitzpatrick said. “... It came second nature to me.”

Fitzpatrick recorded game highs of six catches and 90 yards.

—Pete Fiutak likes Georgia Tech by four this afternoon.

—Boston College postponed its games for the last because of Covid issues, but is going to play Florida State tomorrow ... with four scholarship players?

Nothing about that makes any sense.

—The CJ’s Cameron Teague Robinson keeps up with all the Louisville football news from over the weekend.

—WalletHub has Louisville as the ninth-worst city in America for football fans.

—Eric Crawford sets the stage for tonight’s showdown between Louisville and NC State.

—Future Card Tae Davis showing off his skills over the weekend.

—The latest Cardinal Sports Zone podcast is here.

—Scott Davenport’s Bellarmine Knights have now won six straight and are tied atop the Atlantic Sun standings. Not bad for year one.

—Louisville Report identifies the top five plays of the 2020 Cardinal football season.

—The road to recovery for Charles Minlend has been a tough one, and it’s not quite over yet.

“This has been probably one of the hardest years of my life, if I’m being honest,” Minlend said on Saturday. “It’s been extremely tough, mentally, physically, and it still is. I’m obviously working to get back to full form, back to myself and everything. It’s a challenge every day, just trying to make sure I’m staying positive with my teammates and making sure that I’m doing everything I can. Joining a team as good as this, this far into the season while still nursing an injury, is not an easy thing to do. And, I’m aware that, my coaches are aware of it and they’ve been really understanding, but still pushing me at the same time, which I really appreciate. Because I feel like they still have faith in me and I feel like my teammates still have faith in me. So, just trying to stay strong, mentally, physically and just keep pushing, and I know things are going to turn around.”

This past Wednesday at Clemson, Minlend registered 17 minutes. He connected on a three-pointer, his first attempt of the season, while also grabbing two rebounds. After his lengthy wait, getting that first basket at UofL came as a relief of sorts.

“Definitely, to kind of get that monkey on my back, for sure,” Minlend said. “That’s kind of something I do naturally so it wasn’t really like the hugest problem for me. I hadn’t, I didn’t put any up before that shot, so that was the first time. So, it was just one of those things where as I get more minutes and stuff like that, and I earn some more time and just doing things to help my team win. That’s just the thing that I care about the most.”

Still a work in progress, Minlend, who averaged 14.5 points and 4.7 rebounds at San Fransisco last season, is getting closer to what he was prior to the injury. His continued work is edging him closer to getting his “motor” to where it was before.

“[At] my last school, my motor, it was pretty insanely high, and I was really, really good in getting to the basket, scoring around the rim and stuff like that,” he said. “I didn’t really get tired when I was on the court and I had a really good presence on defense at the same time, while still being able to run around and stuff like that. I think once I get that going to the point where I feel comfortable and I feel like I can get to the rim and penetrate and help kick out for other guys who get to the rim, get to the line, stuff like that, that’s definitely - I think it’ll be visibly evident on the court that I feel like I’m back to the point that I can kind of just do what I want on court.”

—Louisville Report is taking the Cards over Georgia Tech by a point.

—The notoriously hyperbolic Josh Pastner says his Yellow Jackets will have to play their best game of the season if they want to head back to Atlanta with a W.

—The U of L men’s basketball team fell back out of the AP top 25 poll for this week. The Cards received just four votes.

—And finally, beat Georgia Tech, then beat NC State.