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Monday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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It’s football season year round for the Hirby girls.

NET Rankings Update: No. 33 (up one).

—The fine folks over at Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician believe that beating Louisville on Wednesday is the key to getting Syracuse back into the NCAA tournament.

—Because of its three-point struggles, Syracuse has started to generate the bulk of its offense inside the arc.

—The Louisville women remain No. 3 in this week’s AP poll.

—There hasn’t been a better (or more ambitious) dunk this season.

My man went for that down two in the second half. Incredible.

—Facts & Bracks has Louisville as an 8-seed once again taking on Richard Pitino and Minnesota in the first round.

—Boston College has fired men’s basketball coach Jim Christian. It’s a move that pretty much everyone saw coming, but I’m not sure why it was made on Feb. 15 when the Eagles will likely be wrapping up their season three weeks from tomorrow.

Christian went 26-94 in the ACC over seven seasons. In 2015-16, his BC team became the first in ACC history to go 0-18. That resulted in an iconic press conference moment following the Eagles’ first round loss in the ACC tournament when a BC senior was asked what he’ll miss most about being a member of the program.

—The latest mock bracket from Making the Madness has Louisville as an 8-seed squaring off against Oregon in round one.

—Louisville drops two spots to No. 5 in The Athletic’s latest women’s basketball power rankings.

—The latest Cardinal Sports Zone podcast episode is here.

—North Carolina basketball tweeting on Feb. 15 about trying to find an opponent for the three days ahead is the perfect embodiment of this season.

The Heels are free because their scheduled game for Wednesday against Virginia Tech has been postponed because of Covid issues with the Hokies.

—Wednesday’s game between Clemson and Notre Dame has also been postponed as the Tigers are dealing with Covid issued for the third time this season. In all, 31 ACC games have now been postponed/canceled so far this season.

—Louisville is No. 31 in Jon Rothstein’s top 45 rankings.

—The Louisville men’s tennis team took a narrow loss to Kentucky over the weekend.

—This seems pretty good.

Dan McDonnell and company somehow becoming even more dominant after making the move from the Big East/AAC to the ACC is one of the most impressive U of L athletics accomplishments ever.

—The Bellarmine Knights now have the fourth-longest winning streak in Division-I (10 games), and remain tied atop the Atlantic Sun standings with just four games to go. Their most recent weekend sweep came after they got kicked out of their team hotel on the day of game two.

—The U of L softball team kicked off its 2021 season on Sunday with a 5-0 loss to No. 8 Alabama.

—The NCAA lost nearly a billion dollars last year when the NCAA tournament was canceled. There was never a question that they would pull out all the stops (Athletic link) to ensure that March Madness happens in 2021.

Sounds cool, but are they really going to be able to keep everyone safe?

Nothing is certain, of course, but the NCAA is going to great lengths to protect all of the participants. Traveling isn’t a huge issue because the NCAA has always provided chartered jets for teams traveling more than 350 miles to game sites. The NCAA also traditionally provides buses, only this year it is giving three to each team to allow for distancing. Each player, coach and staff member will have his or her own hotel room, and everyone will be required to wear masks and stay more than six feet apart. Meals will be brought to a person’s room or consumed in areas big enough for distancing. There will also be a practice schedule for the 12 courts at the Indianapolis Convention Center, and no one will be permitted to hold additional workouts at other gyms. Each day that passes, the task of keeping everyone safe gets easier because another batch of teams will be heading home.

Beyond that, while there won’t be a “snitch” line like the NBA bubble had, the NCAA is going to issue a code of conduct that spells out the expectations for where Tier 1 individuals can go and when. So if a group of coaches gets caught sneaking away for a shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo’s, there’s going to be hell to pay. “We’re not going to be the 24-hour police. That wouldn’t be appropriate,” Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s vice president of men’s basketball, told me. “But if we’re going to get through this then everybody has to buy in. We’re all in this together.”

But, but, but … what happens if there’s a positive test? Does that mean the whole team is out of the tournament?

Positives should be unlikely if everyone sticks to the protocols, but if it does happen the impact on the rest of the team will hopefully be limited. Anyone who is positive will have to be isolated and treated, but the general guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that only those who have been without a mask and within six feet of that person for 15 minutes in a 24-hour period will have to go into quarantine. The only time there should be maskless contact will be during practices and games. To help monitor this, the NCAA is going to provide every team with KINEXON bracelets and waistbands, which many schools and conferences have been using all season to track exactly who has been close to whom and for how long. That’s not to say no one will be traced out in the event of a positive test, but the nightmare scenario of losing entire teams because of a bad test result or two should not come to pass. If it does, that could mean unfortunate forfeits, but the tournament will still go on.

Regular season and conference tournaments? Meh. Let the leagues figure all that out on their own.

—With Baylor-West Virginia postponed, Virginia-Florida State is the only Big Monday game on the slate tonight. They’ll tip-off at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

—Tony Bennett is just the third coach in ACC men’s basketball history to guide his program to 10 consecutive winning conference seasons. Coach K and Roy Williams are the other two.

—Somebody help this man out.

—Jaraye Williams, the son of former Louisville basketball star Terrence Williams, has re-opened his recruitment. Williams was originally scheduled to me a member of U of L’s 2021 recruiting class, but did not qualify.

—U of L continues to build depth by landing quality walk-ons, particularly from in-state.

—The U of L men’s and women’s swimming squads are geared up for the ACC Championships.

—This season’s quirky scheduling has led to some beautiful things, like being able to spend a Friday night watching Josh Pastner slam his face shield in anger, get T’d up, and then have to wear his mangled shield for the rest of the night.

Georgia Tech wound up squandering a solid late lead and lost on a banked-in three just before the buzzer.

—Congrats to local boy Ben Rhodes on his season-opening victory at Daytona.

—Class of 2023 pitcher Josh Klug from Traverse City, Mich. has committed to Louisville.

—Malik Williams continues to edge closer and closer to a return.

—Terry Rozier continues to ball out.

Rozier has been so good that he’s being talked about as the centerpiece of a number of potential trades.

—Louisville is a No. 1 seed in the latest women’s Bracketology from ESPN.

—The U of L men are fourth in the “others receiving votes” section of this week’s AP poll, and second in the same section of the coaches poll. You can see this week’s full rankings here.

—This is one way to handle the Louisville ice.

The other way, some people are calling it “The Rutherford Way,” is to wipe out multiple times Home Alone style on a single dog walk.

Everyone handles this stuff differently.

—The U of L lacrosse team fell to nationally-ranked Florida over the weekend.

—And finally, Darrell Griffith is “back where he belongs” at U of L.