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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Waffles and basketball. That’s what post-Valentines February is for.

NET Rankings Update: No. 31 (up two).

—Louisville was the fourth No. 1 seed in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament seed reveal show Monday night.

—Newly-hired U of L offensive line coach Jack Bicknell, Jr. spoke to the media Saturday for the first time since joining the Cardinal staff.

Bicknell, who brings NFL experience to the Cardinals and a coaching pedigree, said he sees himself as a good fit for Satterfield’s offensive scheme.

“I think everybody in the country knows (the Cardinals) run the outside zone probably as good as anybody,” Bicknell said. “I felt like we did the same thing at KansasCity. When I was at the Chiefs, 2012, we had Jamaal Charles. If you took away the quarterbacks running, we led the league in actual rushing yards.”

Bicknell, who comes from a family of coaches, said he plans to continue that legacy the same way he always has, by bringing a family feel to his leadership style.

“I would just have to say my dad was a coach until he was 70,” Bicknell said. “He told me to treat every player like they’re your own son. That would be the number one thing. I always try to keep that in mind. If you get on them, love them up, don’t let them go home upset. You know what I mean? But, I wasn’t always easy on my own son.”

—Duke freshman and projected lottery pick Jalen Johnson stunned everyone on Monday when he announced he would be opting out of the final four weeks of the season.

—Some Blue Devil fans are not taking the news in stride.

—Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician breaks down what Syracuse needs to do in order to make the NCAA tournament.

—Poor Luke.

—According to John Feinstein, there will be an NIT this season, and it will feature 16 teams playing the entire tournament in New York City. The only downside is that unlike in years past, smaller conference teams that win their league’s regular season titles will not be guaranteed a spot.

—The Louisville Bats have agreed to remain the Cincinnati Reds’s Triple-A affiliate through at least 2030.

—I had no idea how badly I needed to see the 1990 DePaul basketball promo until I saw the 1990 DePaul basketball promo.

—Pat Forde’s latest Forde Minutes column is a nice whip around look at the current state of college hoops.

—Louisville is an 8-seed facing Boise State in the first round in the Washington Post’s latest mock bracket.

—Andy Katz also has the Cards as an 8-seed.

—Rick Bozich serves up five fun facts about the Bellarmine Knights.

—Believe this is the second time DJ has been Louisville’s practice MVP.

—On the same day it announced the firing of head coach Jim Christian, Boston College also announced that star guard Wynston Tabbs will be suspended for the remainder of the season for violating Covid-19 protocols.

—The Eagles have also postponed their next game against Georgia Tech because of Covid issues. That makes 32 ACC games that have now been canceled or postponed.

—Eamonn Brennan still has Louisville in the “work to do” section of his latest Bubble Watch for The Athletic.

ACC

Jalen Johnson, a five-star freshman upon whom the hopes of the 2020-21 Duke men’s basketball season once rested, played just eight minutes off the bench in Duke’s 69-53 win at N.C. State Saturday. Two days later, Johnson opted out of the rest of the season. We want to say this delicately, because it’s totally any player’s right to decide they want to end their season for any reason. That applies doubly this year, when guys are playing through a pandemic. But given Johnson’s history as a prep player, and various murmurs out of Durham about his attitude and application for much of this season, let’s just say NBA general managers will have some pressing questions to ask about the hows and whys of Johnson’s ultimately disappointing collegiate career.

Should be in: Virginia, Florida State, Virginia Tech

Work to do: Louisville, Clemson, Syracuse, North Carolina

...

Louisville (11-4, 6-3; NET: 33, SOS: 42): As we mentioned on Monday’s episode of “Atlantic and Coastal,” which was really fun and to which you should subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, etc., we mentioned that, covering the sport nationally, you almost always end up with teams that exist in blind spots. Maybe you don’t see them much, maybe you never took that hour or two on a random Tuesday morning to really dive in on Synergy, whatever — you just don’t have your arms around them in a meaningful way. That’s us with Louisville. They’re sort of a mystery to us. Carlik Jones is good. We know that. But generally speaking, we haven’t figured how good the team as a whole is — and it hasn’t helped that the Cards haven’t played since Feb. 1. They’re back Wednesday against Syracuse, then go to UNC Saturday. This should be more informative.

—North Carolina has filled its open schedule this week with a game against ... Northeastern.

—Louisville Report looks at the points of emphasis for Louisville vs. Syracuse.

—Nailed it.

—The New York Post plays stock watch and becomes the latest to give Bellarmine some love.

—After pausing at a rest stop to change into their uniforms, the Centre College football team won its season opener on Saturday.

—Jesse Newell of the Kansas City Star says it’s time to replace the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee with the Wins Above Bubble metric.

Here’s how it works. Using advanced statistics, Wins Above Bubble (WAB) tells us how often an average Bubble team would be expected to win each game, based on opponent and location.

A short example: For Kansas’ game Wednesday against Kansas State, a Bubble team would be expected to beat K-State 82% of the time.

WAB takes that number to credit or debit a team for every game it plays. So if KU loses, it will get negative-0.82 for performing that much worse than a Bubble team. If it wins, it gets 0.18 added to its total.

Add up every game of the season (KU’s current season total is 2.7, for instance), and you have a number that can be used to quickly compare how “deserving” each team is when it comes to potential placement in the NCAA Tournament.

This already isn’t far off from how it’s done already. Bart Torvik’s publicly available version of WAB closely lined up with the top of last weekend’s NCAA bracket reveal, and in fact, all top four seeds on that day were identical in both: Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan and Ohio State.

Here’s the beauty of switching the selection to WAB, though: Every team will know, in the moment, where they are and what they potentially need to do to get into the field as an at-large.

Say, for instance, you are Belmont. As of Monday, you rank 41st in WAB, which would be in line for the first 11 seed.

All of a sudden, there’s clarity with your situation. Win your next four games — which would add a combined 0.11, 0.03, 0.21 and 0.25 to your WAB total — and you’re all but assured to be in regardless of what happens in the conference tournament. Slip up somewhere, and you can re-evaluate from there, knowing that a WAB ranking in the upper-40s or low-50s won’t be guaranteed to make it based on other conference tournament results.

—Chris Schutte of Basketball Joe is also a big proponent of WAB.

—Get The Heavy Hitter and Jack Harlow in there and we’re really cooking.

—U of L students got creative this year to spread love throughout Louisville on Valentine’s Day.

—TNIAAM previews the Louisville game on the latest episode of their podcast.

—The Hailey Van Lith hype continues to build.

—Louisville baseball always has a deep lineup, but the 2021 squad may have the deepest ever.

—Syracuse site Inside the Loud House says a win over Louisville would be monumental for the Orange’s tournament resume.

—ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel gives reasons why each of the top 16 teams in women’s college basketball could win the national title.

4. Louisville: The Cardinals’ lone loss was to ACC rival NC State. Senior guard Dana Evans (20.8 PPG) is a true clutch performer always willing to take the high-pressure shots. Louisville’s top freshmen, guard Hailey Van Lith and forward Olivia Cochran, are both averaging around 11 PPG and are two of the team’s top rebounders. Like the other No. 1 seeds, Louisville has all the weapons necessary to make a run at the national championship, but the Cardinals have to be wary of their occasional up-and-down offense.

—U of L’s defensive line has got to improve in 2021.

—Mike McCaskill, who runs the sand volleyball league at King Louie’s in Middletown, made $25 million off the GameStop frenzy.

—And finally, Mark Ivey and YaY Diaby talked to the media after Tuesday’s spring practice.