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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Papa Siva: Still the unofficial mayor of Louisville.

NET Rankings Update: No. 42 (up three spots).

—Backing the Pack celebrates NC State’s statement win over previously unbeaten and top-ranked Louisville Monday night.

—Here’s the GoCards.com recap of the NC State loss.

—It’s February, which means bubble season (Athletic link) has arrived. Very interested to see whether or not this year’s crop is historically weak or not.

ACC

As far as we’re concerned, Georgia Tech fans might as well be extraterristrial beings. We’ve never actually interacted with them, but we just sort of assume they exist. And we feel for them. They must be desperate to get back to the NCAA Tournament, right? It has been since 2010, in the second-to-last season of Paul Hewitt’s tenure, since the Yellow Jackets went dancing. They went the entirety of the Brian Gregory era, which definitely happened and wasn’t a figment of our collective imagination, and they’ve lasted through four full seasons of a gradual, patient build under Josh Pastner. Is this finally the year? Maybe! Tech looked good against Virginia and Duke, both on the road, before upsetting Florida State, and we went into Monday morning thinking we’d put them on the page … only for them to look absolutely dreadful at Louisville on Monday afternoon. Tech will probably get on the page at some point, but right now, with those home losses to Georgia State and Mercer on the résumé, it has tons to do.

Who else? Let’s see … Pittsburgh’s NET is 90, so the Panthers aren’t on the page, but there was someone … hmmm. Who are we missing here? We feel like there’s definitely a really notable absence from this page, like a team that would always be here as a rule, one led by arguably the greatest coach in the history of the men’s game, that isn’t here and remarkably doesn’t deserve to be.

Huh. Doesn’t ring a bell.

Should be in: Virginia, Florida State, Virginia Tech

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

...

Louisville (11-4, 6-3; NET: 45, SOS: 50): The Cardinals have feasted on Quadrant 2. That’s the glaringly obvious takeaway from a glance at this team sheet. While Louisville may not have (yet) won any of its challenges against top teams in Quadrant 1 (or even just Clemson on the road), it has made short work of its opportunities (against teams such as Seton Hall, Duke and Kentucky) in games that Louisville fans would probably expect their team to win this season. The loss at Miami (NET: 162, gulp) is the only outlier result on this résumé. The whole thing looks, smells and sounds like a No. 8 seed, which, hey, there are worse fates in life.

—After a rough outing against Clemson, David Johnson bounced back in a major way Monday afternoon.

—The Daily Orange tells its readers what they need to know before Wednesday night’s game against Louisville.

—On Monday, U of L announced the launch of DanaEvans1.com, a new website to promote senior guard Dana Evans for National Player of the Year.

—The New York Post writes that “abandoning” the Big East has not worked out well for Pittsburgh, Syracuse or Notre Dame.

—Duke Basketball Report rounds up all the latest ACC hoops news.

—The Florida State men’s basketball team is back on a pause because of Covid issues. The Seminoles’ next three games have been postponed.

I suppose it’s worth noting that FSU played Georgia Tech 48 hours before the Yellow Jackets came to Louisville for Monday’s game.

—Just like we all predicted.

—Syracuse’s 2-3 defense has always been among the best in college basketball, but that hasn’t been the case over the last two years.

—TNIAAM lays out the basic info for tomorrow night’s game between the Cards and Syracuse.

—Big Red Louie has some quick hits from the Georgia Tech win.

—College football’s transfer situation right now is a mess.

Since Aug. 1, about 1,500 players have entered the transfer portal, according to a 247Sports database that tracks portal movement. That’s just 200 players shy of the total number who entered the portal all of last cycle, from Aug. 1, 2019 to July 31, 2020.

However, portal numbers can be skewed. As many as one-third of those players are walk-ons, according to an SI examination of the portal. As of last week, only 964 of the 1,500 FBS players in the portal garnered a recruiting ranking from 247Sports (a vast majority of the other 500 are walk-ons).

Of the 964, nearly 60% (558) are uncommitted and still searching for a landing spot. The 964 players are split between those transferring from the Power 5 (557 players) and those transferring from the Group of Five (407 players). In a striking statistic, of the 299 Power 5 players who have committed to a new school, 60% took a step down in level, their next destination a Group of Five or FCS school. Just one-third of Group of Five transfers stepped up to the Power 5.

There’s also a collection of portal entrants, the number of which is unknown, who have had to swallow a very difficult medicine: They’ve become walk-ons. Some, like Netherly, may soon be out of football completely.

“Right now, there are a lot of kids in the portal that are not going to find scholarships,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby says. “There may be twice as many people in the portal as there are places to transfer. There will be some who won’t be able to go to college if they don’t get a scholarship.”

—Louisville baseball’s virtual Leadoff Dinner will be held next Monday, Feb. 8.

—Cardinal Authority serves up the latest U of L recruiting scoop.

—Dana Evans is right in the thick of the national player of the year race (Athletic link).

Dana Evans, Louisville guard

20.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.2 assists per game

If you’re watching Louisville in transition and it looks like one small part of your television is fast-forwarding while the rest of the TV remains in slow-motion — don’t worry, it’s not broken. You’re just witnessing Evans in real time, and if it’s hard to watch from your couch, imagine what it’s like to defend her. Trying to contain her speed and quickness is one challenge, but her ability to make the right decision when moving at that speed with the ball in her hands has made Evans nearly impossible to guard, especially this season.

The reigning ACC Player of the Year, while playing nearly three fewer minutes per game than she did last season, is averaging more points, assists and steals per game. Her growth from season to season — the hallmark of her Louisville career — has helped the Cardinals to the No. 1 overall ranking for the first time in program history. Louisville’s offense not only runs through Evans, but she’s also their first line of defense. The senior has proven to be invaluable to a team that has taken a historic step on the national stage this season.

Quotable

“I feel like she is the perfect amount of selfish and unselfish. … She’s also a great defender. She is one of the best scorers in the country, but she also has some of the best vision in the country and she’s getting all of her teammates involved. And then what I think makes her so unique, she is the fastest player to ever play at Louisville. She’s so quick. She runs a 3.39 three-quarter court sprint, which is insane. So, when you have that kind of speed and that kind of first step and you’re one of the best shooters in the ACC, her skill set is so unique.” — Women’s basketball analyst

—Evans is one of 20 players who were named to the Wooden Award watch list on Monday.

—Four Louisville baseball players have been named preseason All-Americans by Baseball America.

—Hailey Van Lith has been named to the Nancy Lieberman Award top 10 list. The award is given annually to the top point guard in women’s college basketball.

—I cackled.

—Cardinal Sports Zone recaps the Louisville win over Georgia Tech.

—Tonight in the ACC:

Wake Forest at Notre Dame (5 p.m./ACC Network)
North Carolina at Clemson (7 p.m./ACC Network)

—It’s back.

—David Johnson goes in the first round and Carlik Jones in the second of Jonathan Givony’s latest NBA mock draft (Insider) for ESPN.

—And finally, Louisville Report looks at the points of emphasis for tomorrow night’s game between the Cards and the ‘Cuse.