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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Cheering the Cards on tonight from Grand Canyonville.

—Spread check (women’s Sweet 16): Louisville by 2.5.

—Washington native Hailey Van Lith sees Friday night’s tilt in Seattle as a “home game” for her.

—Jeff Walz is expecting a thriller tonight against Ole Miss.

—Haily Van Lith’s handshake dustup gets the Jomboy breakdown treatment.

—Yet another TikToker has tried to breakdown the exchange between Van Lith and Morris.

We’ve had three different videos on this now and three different opinions on what was said.

The greatest sports mystery of our time.

—Happy 43rd anniversary to Louisville’s first national title.

—In Louisville, the quartet of assembled teams sound like the beginning of a joke and are a symbol of everything that’s possible in March.

—A beaut from Jack Plummer at practice yesterday.

—Florida Atlantic is way too good to be called a March Madness Cinderella.

—Matt Norlander of CBS has a good read on the Owls as well.

—The opener for the U of L softball team’s weekend series against NC State has been moved to Saturday.

—Hailey Van Lith is one of three players who came up big in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.

—We had Salty Mick in full effect last night after UCLA’s loss to Gonzaga.

—Nick Simon of DraftKings likes the Cards to cover the 2.5-point spread tonight.

—Coping with Ole Miss’ tough and physical defense will be the biggest challenge for Louisville tonight.

The Rebels’ defensive dominance has been covered thoroughly by now.

They held Gonzaga to their worst offensive showing of the season in round one and limited top-seeded Stanford to its second-worst scoring performance in the last four seasons to advance to the Sweet 16. If Ole Miss advances, it will be because it imposes its will on the Cardinals defensively and does just enough on the other end of the floor.

Louisville produced a defensive masterclass of its own in the Round of 32, holding Texas to just 51 points. Against Drake in the previous game, Louisville shot 51.6% from the floor and racked up 83 points.

“We have taken a lot of pride here that when someone will always ask me: ‘What’s your philosophy? What kind of offense do you like to run? What do you do?’” Walz said. “And our philosophy is we try to win. So if we gotta play zone, we play zone. If we need to play man, we play man. If we need to run sets, we run sets. So we’ll have to adjust (Friday). We’ll figure out – try and figure out what they’re trying to do to stop us and then adjust to it.”

—The U of L men’s swim and dive team is in 10th after two days at the NCAA Championships.

—Male High OL Isaac Sowells (2025) has received a Louisville offer.

—Friday Irrelevance:

—You can see Jeff Walz’s Thursday press conference here.

—A Philadelphia Inquirer reporter has identified Nolan Smith as a potential candidate for the Temple job.

—I don’t even know what this means but it seems like good news for Tiyon Evans.

—Ron English and M.J. Griffin talk about the start of spring practice here.

—English is “happy as hell” to be back in Louisville.

—An Atherton High School student has become a pro wrestling sensation. Must be something in the water over there in the Highlands.

—They blanked out my shit. Literally.

—I love HVL’s honesty here.

—The LEO has five things to do around Louisville this weekend.

—Eric Crawford says this has been a Denny Crum kind of year for the Louisville women’s basketball team.

As the calendar turned to 1986, Crum’s Louisville men’s team was 6-3. At the end of January, it was 12-6. But five of those losses were to ranked teams. And they developed toughness.

This has been a Denny Crum kind of season for the Louisville women’s basketball team, which will face Ole Miss tonight around 10 p.m. in its sixth straight NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.

In the transfer portal age when it takes longer for teams to gel, coach Jeff Walz asked a lot of his team early. He took it on the road to Belmont and Middle Tennessee. If you know women’s basketball, you know those aren’t games you play if you’re scheduling for wins.

They played two tournament teams in the Bahamas, and lost to a top-5 Ohio State team after leading briefly by 17. And all that was before the first week in December was over.

“Everybody is like, oh, you struggled early,” Walz said. “We played a very difficult schedule, probably too difficult to start the year. When we had the three transfers, we were trying to get players adjusted to new roles. I mean, we lose to Gonzaga in overtime down in the Bahamas, to South Dakota State, Ohio State. I mean, it’s not like we were just getting beat by some bad teams. But I thought the schedule ended up helping us as we learned to get tougher and finish out games because the majority of those games we had leads in. We played nine teams and lost 11 games, and I think eight of them advanced to the NCAA tournament this year, and the ninth played in the NIT. So we had a schedule that was very competitive, but it’s helped us.”

—Once again, Walz and company are the last local team still standing in March.

—Irish Sports Daily previews this weekend’s baseball series in South Bend.

—And finally, beat Ole Miss.