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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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I have been Chron’d.

NET Rankings Update: No. 39 (up three).

—You can find an updated look at Louisville’s complete NCAA tournament team sheet right here. Of particular note is that Virginia Tech’s loss to Pittsburgh Wednesday night means that U of L is now 0-3 in Quadrant 1 games instead of 1-3.

—The fourth installment of Jeff Greer’s Louisville basketball newsletter is out.

Samuell Williamson’s 20-point, 18-rebound performance on Monday is even more impressive when noting he was on the bench for the opening six minutes and 17 seconds of the first half. At that point, Louisville trailed 14-7 thanks to a 10-0 Georgia Tech run. Other factors obviously played a part in the ensuing comeback, but Louisville outscored Tech 26-13 for the rest of the half — with Williamson playing every minute.

Now, Monday didn’t just spring up out of nowhere. While Williamson struggled defensively against Florida State (like everyone else for long stretches), his offensive numbers were solid. He was quietly very efficient off the bench vs. Clemson and Duke. After Monday’s breakout vs. Georgia Tech, Williamson’s averages over the last four games include 11.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest. He is 19 of his last 28 on 2-pointers, and he has only attempted four 3-pointers in that stretch. That balance won’t surprise anyone who tracked his AAU career, when Williamson did so much damage as a mid-range shooter and precision scorer around the rim.

What sticks out from Williamson’s game vs. Georgia Tech? Effort and timing. He is a cerebral player with a deft scoring touch. The key is getting him engaged into the intensity of a game, to match his energy with his smarts. He showed what he can do when that happens: He pursues rebounds out of his area, he initiates contact, he stays strong in traffic and he looks for cutting and post-up opportunities.

—The CJ’s Cameron Teague Robinson has three storylines to watch during Louisville football’s spring practice, which gets going next week.

—The Milwaukee Bucks have assigned Jordan Nwora to the Salt Lake City Stars of the G League.

—Louisville football coaches have been willing to leave for all sorts of places this offseason, but Tennessee is a bridge too far.

—Matt Norlander of CBS dives into just how far Gonzaga and Baylor have distanced themselves from the rest of the college basketball world.

—The LHL’s John Clay goes into the excruciating details of Kentucky’s crunchtime collapses, the most recent of which occurred last night against Missouri. The Wildcats are now 5-11.

5-11 is a very bad record.

—Pretty much.

—Former Cardinal Sara Nord is looking to build a winning culture as the head coach at Rock Creek Academy in Indiana.

—Essential Quality tops the list of 326 early Triple Crown nominees.

—Last night in the ACC:

No. 14 Virginia 64, NC State 57
Pittsburgh 83, No. 16 Virginia Tech 72

No games on the docket this evening.

—Donovan Mitchell has the fifth most All-Star fan votes of any guard in the Western Conference so far.

—Fred VanVleet’s 54 points Wednesday night are the most ever by an NBA player who came into the league undrafted.

—The U of L women’s soccer spring schedule is here.

—College basketball players talk with The Athletic’s Dana O’Neil about the strange experience that has been the 2020-21 season.

What do you think will be the best/worst thing about the NCAA Tournament in one site?

Most popular responses:

• Positives: Less travel (10), Mitigate risk of COVID-19 spread (10)

• Negatives: Risk of so many in one place (7), no fans (6)

Noteworthy:

“I’m from Indiana, so I’m all for it.” — Will Alcock, Loyola Chicago junior

“Best: I think it will be cool to see all of the players and teams at one place like an AAU style tournament. Worst: probably not going to enjoy being in one place for three weeks.” — Trey Murphy, Virginia junior

“Best thing will be playing basketball and there will be nothing bad about it because we get to play basketball.’’ — RayQuan Evans, Florida State junior

“The best thing is that it’s the safest way to do the tournament. The worst thing is that it is not the traditional way that we’ve all grown to know and love.’’ — Patrick McCaffery, Iowa redshirt freshman

“I think the best thing will be less travel and no cross-country travel and different time zones affecting teams. The worst thing will be that it’s going to be completely different from tournaments in the past, with no fans probably being the biggest change. One of the great things about March Madness that no one talks about is getting to come back to your hotel after a big win and all your fans are there to greet you.” — Austin Katstra, Virginia senior

“Don’t have to worry about traveling but if one team gets COVID it could risk everything.” — Nick Pappas, Milwaukee freshman

“The best part will be the idea of all of the teams coming together at one site, which will kind of shine light on the fact that all of us made sacrifices to get to that point.” — Bryce Rewalt, New Mexico State grad student

—The Smoking Musket shares its thoughts on West Virginia hiring ShaDon Brown away from Louisville.

—Gamine has been disqualified from a third-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks and Bob Baffert has been fined $1,500 after a post-race test showed the presence of betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory medication. I’m sure that’ll show him.

—You don’t need a reason to celebrate Josh Pastner in letterboard form.

—Louisville’s first “dog park and bar” is now open in the Highlands.

—The Louisville Bats are still preparing for their 2021 season ... whenever that may be.

—At the midway point of the college basketball season, The Athletic’s Matthew Gutierrez and Brendan Marks attempt to make sense of the ACC.

Long-term question: Which ACC team is maybe not quite ready to contend this season, but is set up for a big 2021-22?

Gutierrez: Louisville. With only a couple of upperclassmen on the roster, the Cards are young this year. Transfer Carlik Jones goes for 17.4 points and 4.9 assists per game, though it’s the younger guys in Chris Mack’s bunch who have me feeling bullish. The Cards have a lot of size from their first- and second-year players, and they run a top-35 defense, per KenPom. The offense will come next year with more experience (and confidence) on the floor. Louisville is 339th in the country in the experience department. Yet the Cards are hanging in the top half of the league. Bring back most of the team and you’ve got a legit ACC contender next season.

Marks: I’m going to cheat and say two: Duke and North Carolina. Why? Because this season’s struggles will be next year’s boon. The Tar Heels don’t have any superstar recruits coming in, but returning everyone on the roster — including a possible super senior season for Garrison Brooks — would make UNC one of the ACC favorites next season. Same thing at Duke, which could return five of this year’s six top-50 freshmen. Another added bonus for the Blue Devils is the impending arrival of Paolo Banchero and A.J. Griffin, two of the top 10 recruits in the country. And if fellow top-10 prospect Patrick Baldwin Jr. follows through on his expected commitment, that mix of youth and experience would make the Blue Devils national title contenders from the get-go.

—Rocky Top Talk reacts to Bryan Brown turning down Tennessee.

—After 15 months of planning, Racing Louisville FC has taken its first steps on the pitch.

—The ACC still has no set plan as far as what to do about all of its currently postponed basketball games.

Q: With just one month left in the regular season, will the ACC be able to reschedule postponed games like the one between Syracuse and Louisville on Wednesday?

Brazeau: It’s going to be difficult to play all of the postponed games, but we are exploring all options to make up as many as we can. We want to keep them on the table. We’ve been fortunate in that we’ve been able to schedule some games to replace postponed games and we’ve been able to make up some postponed games.’’

Q: Syracuse is the ACC team with a bye on the final weekend of the regular season. Syracuse’s final regular-season game is against North Carolina on Monday, March 1. Do you think Syracuse will end up getting a game sometime during that final week?

Brazeau: It’s so far out that it’s impossible to know at this point. Anything is certainly possible.

Q: Syracuse has played Boston College once already and is scheduled to play BC again on Feb. 13. What if BC finds itself with an open date in that final week. Would the ACC schedule a third game between Syracuse and Boston College?

Brazeau: It’s certainly a situation that could come up and we would look at it. To date, we’ve been able to reschedule some games that were on the board to start with or provide a make-up game.

If you look at the possibility of a third game between two teams, you have to consider where you’ll play it. Who gets the second home game? Even in the scenario of two teams adding a second game, you have to think about where you play that game? Is it automatically in the opposite venue? What if that creates four straight road games for a team? It’s not a straight-forward answer.

Q: In an effort to reschedule as many games as possible, will the ACC consider wedging games into the current schedule? For instance, would have a team move a Saturday game to Sunday and then schedule a game on a Friday?

Brazeau: Everything has been and will be looked at. To make the entire puzzle work, you might have to move some pieces.

—The Louisville men’s tennis team swept Bellarmine on Wednesday.

—The Louisville baseball team is No. 6 in the USA Today preseason poll.

—And finally, beat Boston College.