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Monday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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When Donovan is nearby, Card Nation is going to show up.

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NET Rankings Update: No. 85.

—Tomahawk Nation recaps a “much-needed” Florida State win over Louisville.

—U of L’s loss in Tallahassee was a reminder that this Cardinal team has a razor thin margin for error.

—Louisville’s secondary was already looking thin for 2022, and that was before we found out this afternoon that Kani Walker was entering the transfer portal.

—New U of L football strength coach Ben Sowders stopped in Louisville on his way to the national title game to deliver a message to his future team.

Sowders will spend his last game with Georgia tonight when the Bulldogs play Alabama for the national championship.

—Louisville is one of the first four teams out of the NCAA tournament in the latest bracket watch from The Athletic.

—A total of 511 U of L student athletes placed made the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.

—Louisville drops out of Andy Katz’s Power 36 rankings.

—Highlights of the Louisville women’s basketball’s team destruction of Pittsburgh from last week can be viewed here.

—Fouls in college basketball are down this season, but is that actually a good thing?

Jay Bilas doesn’t think so. As the lead college basketball analyst for ESPN, Bilas sees more high-quality teams play in person than any other person on the planet. He also spends countless hours studying teams on video. Moreover, Bilas serves on the NCAA’s men’s basketball competition committee, an advisory board of coaches, administrators and outside experts that studies the game, meets regularly, and issues recommendations to the rules committee. He notes that the steady decline in fouls runs counter to the NCAA’s effort to allow for more freedom of movement. Bilas has a very high platform, and he is using it to sound a very loud alarm.

“We’ve given up all the gains we made over the last year-and-a-half,” Bilas told me. “Now we’re basically back to where we were four or five years ago, especially off the ball. There’s more clutching and grabbing on cutters. Guys are being allowed to blow up dribble handoffs. Too many arm bars away from the post. The officials aren’t calling what they were calling two or three years ago, and the coaches are teaching to that.”

In an effort to discern whether Bilas’ opinion is widely shared, I conducted a text message poll of head coaches, most of whom are in power conferences, and asked them how well they thought the effort to provide more freedom of movement was working. I got 27 replies, and while the results don’t quite reflect the alarm that Bilas is sounding, they do indicate a high level of concern:

• It’s working well: 6

• It’s working, but not well enough: 11

• It’s not working — the game is too physical: 10

—Malik Williams has been the 192nd-best player in college basketball this season according to Heat Check CBB’s formula. Williams is the only Cardinal to crack the site’s top 500 list.

—Darius Miller is the guest on the latest episode of Larry O’Bannon’s podcast.

—USC QB Jaxson Dart has entered the transfer portal, which would seem to indicate that Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams is following his head coach to LA.

—Ja Morant is ridiculous and has been for a while.

—A horse named Calipari was the 3-1 favorite in his debut at Gulfstream on Saturday and finished dead last.

—Brian Geisinger of ACCSports.com takes a deep dive into the Louisville offense and the question of whether or not El Ellis can be a game-breaker for the Cards.

—Georgia-Alabama is “the most competitive lopsided rivalry ever.”

—U of L hoops signee Fredrick King from the Bahamas had an “amazing” first trip to Louisville.

“I like it was all just amazing,” King told Cardinal Authority. “Everybody is like family down there and they support everyone. I had people coming up to me and saying, ‘Hey Fred’ and it was my first time in Louisville. It was like family.”

King’s recruitment to Louisville was fast the U of L coaches were on top of it from the moment Ross McMains saw him. He was one of the breakout performers at the NBA Academy’s Latin America program in San Luis Potosi, Mexico in mid-October. King averaged 30 points and 14.5 rebounds a game in that event.

McMains was at that event and immediately got in contact, while he and U of L coach Chris Mack flew to the Bahamas to meet with King and his parents.

King committed in early November and a week later signed with the Cardinals.

“The fan base helped put Louisville over the top,” King said of his decision. “Also, the facilities they have and the staff is great.”

King is a native of Mangrove Cay, Andros in the Bahamas, but said he knew of Louisville’s basketball program before the recruitment started.

“I didn’t know a lot about coach Mack,” King said. “But I know a little about Louisville because I’ve watched Jordan Nwora play (at U of L, in the NBA and with the Nigerian National team). I am super excited to be a part of this Louisville family.”

—James Madison transfer WR Antwane Wells has been offered by U of L.

—Louisville Report reviews how former Cards in the NFL fared during the league’s regular season.

—Over almost 20 years, 16 major U.S. universities, including Duke and Notre Dame, have overcharged 170,000 financial aid recipients by “at least hundreds of millions of dollars,” according to a lawsuit filed late Sunday.

—Teddy Bridgewater says he “definitely” plans on continuing to play football despite suffering yet another scary injury.

He has a year-old son. During his Zoom news conference Friday while accepting the Darrent Williams Good Guy Award for the 2021 season, Bridgewater was asked if his recent harrowing injury caused him to consider giving up playing this violent sport.

“I always say every time I get hit or every time I hit the ground, I ask God, ‘Why am I doing this?’’’ Bridgewater said. “Then when I get up and come to work on a Wednesday and see these guys working hard, that’s why you do it. The interactions you have with the guys in the locker room. The smiles you get to put on a fan’s face. The feeling of competing. That’s why you do this.”

So to be clear, he plans on continuing to play football next year, wherever that may be?

“Yeah, definitely,’’ he said.

—The U of L women’s team’s scheduled game against Miami on Sunday was postponed due to COVID issues. The Cards are scheduled to host Syracuse on Thursday.

—Five former Cardinals are on NFL teams that have qualified for the playoffs.

—The latest episode of the Cardinal Sports Zone podcast is here.

—RIP, Bob Saget.

—California RB Speedy Luke picked Arizona over Louisville on Saturday. Thankfully, the Cardinals are set up pretty well at the position for the moment.

—For the second straight game, both El Ellis and Sydney Curry gave Louisville a huge spark off the bench.

—And finally, the Mike Rutherford Show is back this afternoon from 3-6 on 1450 The Big X to react to the loss to Florida State and everything else from the weekend that was. You can stream the show here.