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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

It’s been a long week.

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

—The Louisville women’s basketball team is back on the court tonight at 8 against Pitt. The ACC Network will have the coverage.

—The ACC has announced that no public tickets will be available for next month’s ACC men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. Admission to each game will be limited to family and guests of team personnel.

—The 2021 Louisville baseball season opener against Bellarmine has been moved from Friday to Saturday. The Cards will now play a double-header against the Knights on Sunday.

— still has Louisville as the third choice to be the ACC’s men’s basketball champion.

—RIP to Bob “The Smiling Irishman” Ryan. His commercials need to be somewhere on the internet all in one place.

—The 2021 schedule for the Louisville Bats is out. They’ll open the year at home on April 6.

—The return of Tabarius Peterson should provide valuable experience for Louisville’s defensive front.

—U of L signee Bobby Pettiford’s stellar senior season continues.

—Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo looks at the six teams with the most on the line between now and Selection Sunday.

—With Juwan Howard killing it at Michigan, The Athletic looks at the best alumni option to coach each of the top 25 programs in college hoops.


Kenny Payne (’89)

Oh, yes, we are getting spicy now. It’s too much to resist: The guy who spent years being the not-so-secret weapon on John Calipari’s Kentucky staff gets the top gig at a bitter, bitter, bitter rival. Is it too much to presume Payne’s arrival would create some sort of detente between the fan factions of the two schools? Yes! There is no way that happens! Which is why this is great. Also, Payne comes to the job after a stint in the NBA with the Knicks, so now he adds first-hand knowledge of the pro game with a stellar track record of recruiting and college player development. He’s qualified and everyone in the state, on both sides of the rivalry, will lose their minds. It’s perfect.

—CNN devoted some national attention to Ty Scroggins, the former U of L football player and Central High head coach who passed away earlier this month after battling Covid-19.

—The U of L men’s and women’s tracks teams picked up wins at the Lenny Lyles Cardinal Invitational Wednesday afternoon.

—Pretty much.

—The Louisville volleyball team’s Saturday match at Lipscomb has been canceled.

—Matt Norlander’s latest Court Report for CBS is loaded with good info.

—Another installment of Jeff Greer’s Louisville basketball newsletter is available for your consumption.

In my search for topics, I came across an impressive stat via Synergy Sports: Louisville’s transition defense has only allowed 0.886 points per possession. Is that good? you might ask. Indeed, my friend — it is good. So much so that Louisville’s ranks 45th in the country in transition defense, holding opponents to 41-of-94 shooting, or 43.6%.

For comparison, all but three of the top 100 transition offenses in top-flight men’s college hoops shoot better than 50% in transition scenarios. No team in the top 76 shoots worse than 51%.

What makes Louisville such a strong defensive squad in transition? I watched Louisville’s 123 defensive possessions marked as “transition” situations on Synergy to find out. Two things stuck out: Great hustle from the forwards and good communication from the ball stopper.

—Louisville Report previews the opening weekend for the Cardinal baseball team.

—Pitt’s official website previews tonight’s game against the Cards.

—I know Boeheim is a polarizing figure these days, but this was pretty great.

—Louisville has offered class of 2022 QB Nick Evers from Texas.

—Cardinal Authority has five potential MVP candidates for the U of L baseball team.

—And finally, beat Pitt.