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Saturday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

The 2021 Summer Tour hits up Peru.

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—You can hear the podcast from Friday’s scandal-heavy Mike Rutherford Show right here.

—The Louisville men’s soccer team opened its 2021 season with a 2-1 double overtime loss to Saint Louis Thursday night.

—The ACC is formally exploring a potential move from its original home of Greensboro. Charlotte is the most likely landing spot for the league.


Earl will be spending his Saturday competing in the final four of the Big 3 league.

—Some sad news from the world of local high school football, where former Moore High School and current Marion County High School head coach Rob Reader has lost his battle with liver cancer.

—On3 has Lamar Jackson as one of the 50 former college athletes who would have benefitted the most from the new NIL rules.

15. Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Jackson was a dynamic college talent who has overcome doubts about whether he could play quarterback in the NFL. He set a school record for total touchdowns with eight in his first game as a sophomore. He became the youngest-ever recipient of the Heisman in 2016, as he was just shy of his 20th birthday. If there had been NIL in play, Jackson would have been able to cash in on the award during the 2017 season; he finished third in Heisman balloting that year.

—Gary Parrish writes for CBS that if “The Alliance” ever actually amounts to anything, the impact on college basketball will likely be more high-profile non-league games at the expense of opportunities for quality mid-majors.

—Seth Davis updates his early college hoops top 35 for The Athletic and does not include Louisville.

—Due to inclement weather, last night’s scheduled women’s soccer match between Louisville and James Madison has been moved to tonight at 7:30. Unfortunately, “Pups at the Pitch” will have to be rescheduled to a later date.

—On April 6, BetOnline had Louisville as a 28/1 shot to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship. The Cards are now 55/1. Gonzaga is the favorite to win the title at 7/1.

—The new Louisville-themed Adidas ultra-boosts are out.

—Tickets for Louisville vs. Ole Miss are still available.

—The two guys who ditched Louisville for Florida State at the last second have both had bad times in Tallahassee.

—The 10 worst milk crate challenge attempts is solid Friday viewing.

—Louisville received no votes in the latest Heat Check CBB top 25 poll.

—Pete Thomas says that Malik Cunningham has made “tremendous strides” as a passer heading into 2021.

—Bob Huggins has signed a contract extension that will keep him at West Virginia until he’s ready to retire.

—Bellarmine’s November schedule is no joke.

—The promotional schedule for the 2021 U of L men’s soccer season has been revealed.

—From transfer portal to fall camp standout, Qwynnterrio Cole has been shining for the Cards.

—Angel McCoughtry made a surprise appearance on the court Thursday night, and received a standing ovation from the home crowd.

—It’s time. Come back, Trez.

Also, let’s make sure we get Taquan that jersey.

—The 13th-ranked Cardinal volleyball team is 2-0 after a pair of sweeps on Thursday. U of L hosts Arizona State Saturday night.

—Louisville has offered 5-star offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor (2023) from Iowa.

—Bill Connelly’s S&P Projections say Louisville has an 83 percent chance of winning at least six games in 2021.

—James Turner demands your respect.

—Arizona State football appears to be in some deep trouble with the NCAA.

—Jeff Greer’s latest newsletter focuses largely on why Jae’Lyn Withers appears poised for a breakout in 2021-22.

“I think about Jae’Lyn from his freshman year, when he redshirted, and how skinny he was,” Barnette said. “Look at him now. He is strong as an ox. He works incredibly hard. He really wants it. He’s coachable. He’s super talented. Last year he played a position he wasn’t used to normally playing because of some injuries. He’s getting to do and show things that he’s capable of, and it’s like, Wow. He’s getting rebounds and bringing the ball up. He’s a good passer. He’s one of those guys where he’ll do something every now and then and you’ll be like, How did he do that?”

This is exactly the kind of progression expected by those of us who watched Withers as a high school prospect — as long as Withers took the necessary steps to get there. In AAU games, Withers attacked defenses from all over the floor, showing off his ballhandling, passing, creativity and touch. He made 3-pointers. He took defenders off the dribble and found cutting or spotting-up teammates. He scored inside and out. And while there were obvious areas for improvement — decision-making, strength — Withers was clearly a versatile, modern-game forward.

Last season, I wrote about Withers’s natural game finally emerging with the return of Malik Williams. Having a true center in the fold allowed Withers to play his natural role, and he thrived (albeit briefly). With much more depth at center this coming campaign, Withers should have the whole season to focus on that stretch forward role. And there’s real potential for a star turn in Louisville’s reworked offense. I’d say that regardless of the offensive scheme, but the Ross McMains-led alteration of the Cardinals’ offensive approach should greatly benefit Withers.

In the new setup, Withers will run to the wings and corners in transition and get the chance to face up defenders far more often. He’ll move more toward the perimeter in halfcourt settings, too. He was 8 of 21 from 3-point range last season, a small but encouraging sample size. According to Synergy Sports, Withers was effective as a cutter (1.195 points per possession used) and as the roll man in the pick-and-roll (1.026 points per possession). He’ll be used in those ways again. He will also, as Barnette noted, handle the ball and create for others.

The point of all this: Withers will have slimmed down to his ideal playing weight and moved into the position for which he is best suited. The offense fits a skilled power forward, and that is Withers.

—The fifth-ranked Louisville field hockey team opened its season with a 6-0 triumph over Ohio.

—Lamar Jackson is No. 24 and Jaire Alexander No. 41 in the NFL’s annual countdown of its top 100 players.

—Duke Basketball Report believes both Dino Gaudio and Chris Mack embarrassed themselves.

—Fran Frachilla joins the group of Gaudio guys (TM) taking some not so thinly veiled shots.

—Our foes over at A Sea of Blue try their hand at previewing the 2021 Louisville football season.

—State of Louisville shares its thoughts on the latest Cardinal basketball drama.

—And finally, cleanse your sports palate with this story of a Louisville 3rd grader selflessly helping a struggling competitor finish her cross country race.