—The Louisville men’s golf team finished ninth at the NCAA Championships. While that was one spot short of qualifying for the final match play round of the Championships, it still marked the best finish in the program’s history.
Not a bad start for first-year head coach Ryan Blagg.
—Ole Miss’ leading tackler from last season (and second leading tackler from 2019) has abruptly entered the transfer portal. I’ll take it.
—Cards are back/here.
—On the fifth anniversary of Muhammad Ali’s death, Maggie Menderski of the CJ writes about the interesting things people have left at his gravesite inside Cave Hill Cemetery.
—Pro Football Focus is out with its ACC football preview for 2021. They have the Cards going 6-6 and finishing 10th in the 14-team conference.
Conference Championship Appearance Probability: 2%
Conference Championship Win Probability: 1%
Projected Win Total: 6
Louisville was one of the more disappointing teams of the 2020 season, specifically on offense. Their 2019 group ranked second in the ACC in per-play efficiency and looked poised for a step forward after ending the season 8-5, but that clearly did not occur. After leading the conference in EPA per pass play in 2019 (0.28), they fell to seventh in 2020 (0.72) despite returning most of the key pieces.
This past offseason, the Cardinals waved goodbye to their three most valuable non-quarterbacks on offense (Tutu Atwell, Javian Hawkins and Dez Fitzpatrick). We know quarterback Malik Cunningham can wreak havoc on the ground, but he’s going to have a lot on his plate as a passer and will have to take better care of the ball than he did in 2020, as he had multiple turnover-worthy throws in seven of his 11 starts (five of which had three).
—Even though the 2021 Louisville baseball team missed the NCAA tournament, the squad still figures to have a host of players hear their names called in the upcoming MLB Draft.
—The college recruiting dead period is finally over. Expect a chaotic June (Athletic link).
—New U of L basketball assistant Ross McMains is “like a caged lion, ready to go.”
—Belmont post positions and morning line odds:
—As college football recruiting reopens, high school recruits are getting screwed, writes Pete Thamel of Yahoo.
—Reds star Joey Votto has started a rehab stint with the Louisville Bats.
—Louisville Report looks at how the former Cards in the Majors are faring through the first two months of the MLB season.
—Carlik Jones draft tape:
—Kei’Trel Clark is the guest on the latest episode of the Pypeline ACC podcast.
—Louisville native Ben Rhodes is about to make his NASCAR Series debut.
—Point guard Caleb Foster, the No. 21 overall player from the class of 2023, will take his first unofficial visit to U of L.
Donovan Mitchell in 10 playoff games since the start of the Orlando bubble:— Ben Dowsett (@Ben_Dowsett) June 1, 2021
33.8 points on 50.8% from 2, 46.2% from 3, 93% FT (65.8 TS%), 4.7 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 38.3% usage rate, +58 in 354 minutes
That's a superstar.
—Matt McGavic makes three bold predictions about the 2021 Louisville football season.
—Medina Spirit’s positive post-Derby drug test has been confirmed.
—Cameron Teague Robinson writes that while Dan McDonnell shouldered the blame for Louisville’s subpar season earlier this week, he’s also the reason Cardinal baseball is likely to bounce back big in 2022.
For the first time since 1997-98, Louisville has missed the postseason in football, men’s basketball, and baseball within the same academic year.— Kelly Dickey (@RealCardGame) May 31, 2021
Although that was yet another season where we defeated the Kentucky men’s basketball team.
Best in the country. Second best in the state. Never let them forget.
—Male High football star will finally be taking an in-person visit to U of L on Thursday.
—Dan McDonnell maintains that he hasn’t had any contact with LSU.
—Christian Academy’s George Washington III (2023) took his first unofficial visit to U of L on Tuesday. He’s headed to Auburn this weekend.
If only he had a name that was better suited for shitty internet jokes.
—A pair of Ballard High hoops standouts will be taking unofficial visits to U of L on June 22.
—Arkansas LB Jaylon White has set an official visit with Louisville.
—Louisville is the only team in the ACC that will play its first three games of 2021 under the lights.
—The Against the Grain downtown at Slugger Field has reopened.
—Hoops Insight dives into how the hiring of Ross McMains will affect the Louisville basketball offense.
A new vocabulary for Cards fans
A couple keywords that you’ll probably start hearing a lot more next season around the Louisville program are “bolt” and “dominoes”. These are just a couple of the concepts that McMains focuses on and specializes in teaching. He has a consulting service, Efficient Sauce, where he helps spread knowledge of these concepts. He also has spoken about his concepts on some great podcasts, including one I highly recommend on the Kaizen podcast.
I don’t think I can quite do his philosophy justice by explaining it very well, but at its core it asks players to create, identify, and attack weak spots in the defense. One of the first ways it does this is by weaponizing defensive rebounds to create transition opportunities, and having players sprint in wide lanes like Usain Bolt (hence “bolts”) providing the ballhandlers with space to attack. UofL fans will no doubt welcome a return to a more transition-oriented game!
In halfcourt offense, players are expected to space the floor similarly to create driving lanes for the primary ballhandler. The ballhandler is expected to get into the paint quickly, with the option to either score or kick to a perimeter teammate. The goal is to attract closeouts as the defense scrambles, which intiates ball movement to keep forcing rotations until there’s an open scoring opportunity. This is called “dominoes”, as the first action starts a chain reaction of defensive movement and recovery. The goal is to get open shots in the paint or at the three point line, which are the most efficient places to take field goals.
—Six Louisville field hockey players have earned All-West Region honors.
—Chris Mack continues to be the best in the ACC when it comes to utilizing the transfer portal.
https://t.co/BCurMBOGGS’s measure of the ACC teams that benefitted most from transfer portal acquisitions:— ACC Content (@ACContent__) May 29, 2021
5. Florida State
6. Notre Dame
10. Virginia Tech
12. NC State
—U of L freshman wide receiver Nick Malito has entered the transfer portal ... for the people.
—And finally, Brad Stevens has positioned himself perfectly to take over for Coach K at Duke in 2-3 years. Guy really, really did not want to coach in Bloomington apparently.