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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville coach Rick Pitinos concerns about the early season schedule causing his 12th-ranked Cardinals problems might be merited at some point.Right now, the Cardinals are handling non-conference opponents with surprising ease.Jaylen Johnson had 14 points and 11 rebounds, Deng Adel added 11 points and Louisville jumped on Long Beach State quickly for an 88-56 blowout Thursday.The Cardinals (3-0) outscored the 49ers 23-2 over a 5:28 span in the first half for a 30-8 lead en route to their third straight 30-point win to open the season. Louisvilles height advantage made the difference on both ends as it controlled scoring in the paint 42-20 and rebounding 51-37.Louisvilles fast, effective start toward that end impressed Pitino enough to compare his teams effort to the 2013 NCAA championship squad, which is saying something this early in the season.That was really, really special to see, said Pitino, whose team made 11 of their first 14 shots before finishing at 45 percent (34 of 76) from the field. That was a clinic at the offensive end and a clinic at the defensive end.Johnson helped get the Cardinals going with 10 points and seven rebounds in the first half en route to his second double-double in three games.I just make sure Im more efficient, said Johnson, who made 7 of 11 from the field in 18 minutes.The 49ers (1-3) made just 18 of 61 from the field (30 percent) and couldnt slow the Cardinals in any phase while losing to their second ranked Atlantic Coast Conference foe in three days. Fifth-ranked North Carolina used a quick start to beat Long Beach State 93-67 on Tuesday night.It was similar because we just werent able to withstand that first blow to stay in the game, 49ers coach Dan Monson said. Once we got comfortable, its too late. Games over. You come on these road trips to try to put your kids in adversity to get them better and I dont feel like we handled it any better than we did Tuesday.Mangok Mathiang added 11 points and Ray Spalding had 10 for Louisville. The Cardinals blocked nine shots in winning the first of four games in the Battle 4 Atlantis that continues next week in the Bahamas.Evan Payne had 15 points and Gabe Levin added 12 for Long Beach State, which fell to 0-3 against the Cardinals.THE BIG PICTURELong Beach State: Just when the 49ers seemed capable of playing Louisville close at 7-6, they missed their next 10 shots and 14 of 16 overall in a drought that dug an insurmountable hole. That comes two nights after they trailed North Carolina 14-0. ... Long Beach State committed 19 turnovers leading to 25 Louisville points.Louisville: Good thing the Cardinals dominated the paint, because their perimeter shooting is still a work in progress. Adel and Donovan Mitchell (eight points) combined to make their first three attempts from behind the arc, but the team didnt make another until David Levitch and Ryan McMahon made both their attempts in the second half. Louisville still finished 7 of 20 from long range after entering the game 13 of 43 through two games. ... McMahon and Quentin Snider each had five assists for the Cardinals, who finished with at least 20 in consecutive games for the first time since 2010-11.POLL IMPLICATIONSBarring any movement by teams ahead of Louisville before Monday, next weeks Battle 4 Atlantis matchups could determine the Cardinals ranking for the following week.TIME MANAGEMENTTipoff was 4 p.m. to allow Louisville fans time to watch this game and the third-ranked football teams nationally televised contest at Houston with an 8 p.m. kickoff. Attendance was 14,337, down from the usual sellouts at the KFC Yum! Center.UP NEXTLong Beach State: The 49ers tough early season schedule continues with a visit to No. 16 UCLA on Sunday.Louisville: Continues play in the Battle 4 Atlantis against Old Dominion on Wednesday in the Bahamas.---More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25 Cheap Jerseys From China . 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He had a goal and two assists for a career-high three points as Columbus beat the New York Islanders 5-2 to snap a five-game losing streak. Every now and then, the regular season presents us with one game that looms larger than the rest.Here it is, in Week 8: No. 6 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama, the One Game that dwarfs all others.Both teams are unbeaten. Theyre elbowing each other for the lead in the SEC West. And its the only matchup of top-10 teams this week. There are only two other games featuring two Top 25 teams: No. 23 Ole Miss at No. 25 LSU and No. 17 Arkansas at No. 21 Auburn.There will be plenty at stake in games all across the country, but the playoff perspective begins with ...No. 6 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama (3:30 p.m. ET)The loser of this game is in a serious bind but not necessarily eliminated. The 12 members of the selection committee do not have to take four conference champions. Their task is to pick the four best teams, period. Head-to-head results, conference championships and strength of schedule are used as tiebreakers when ranking comparable teams, but its a subjective process that opens the door to the loser of this game still finishing in the top four.Heres a closer look:If Alabama loses: The Tide would then need to win out and hope the Aggies lose two of their five remaining games to win the West. With the exception of Saturdays game, ESPNs Football Power Index favors Texas A&M in every remaining game on its schedule. Alabama would be in a significant hole, but if its a close game, and the Tide finish the season in dominant fashion, they could sneak into the top four without playing in the SEC title game.At 11-1, the defending national champs would have wins over USC, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU and Auburn -- and five of those six wins would have come on the road or at a neutral site. The question would be: How many of those opponents are ranked by the committee heading into Dec. 4? If the committee regards the SEC as highly as the AP voters do, it would be a tough résumé to beat -- even for a few Power 5 conference champs.If Texas A&M loses: The Aggies would be in a similar hole, needing to win out AND have Alabama lose twice in its final four games -- an even slimmer possibility, as the Tide have at least a 66 percent chance to win each of their remaining games, according to the FPI. If the Aggies run the table -- with their lone loss a nail-biter on the road against the No. 1 team in the country -- the selection committee would consider an 11-1 SEC West runner-up. Much like Alabama, the Aggies would have a win over a Pac-12 team in UCLA, and they also would have beaten Tennessee. That would look even better if the Vols go on to win the East and play for the title.Heres what else you need to know for Week 8:Undefeated updateWashington: The Huskies have a 98 percent chance to beat Oregon State at home, and they need to -- especially with Washington State still undefeated in league play. If Wazzu heads into the Apple Cup with one loss or undefeated and pulls off the upset, it will win the North.Nebraska: The Huskers shouldnt have any problem against a Purdue team that just fired its coach. They cant get caught looking ahead, though, to back-to-back road games against Wisconsin and Ohio State. That stretch will define their season.Ohio State: The Buckeyes are playing their second straight road game, and Penn State is fresh off a bye week, but the Buckeyes are simply more talented and have the edge on the sideline.Michigan: The Wolverines defense, Jim Harbaugh coming off a bye and home-field advantage? Good luck, Illinois. ESPNs FPI has the Wolverines win probability at 98.6 percent. Its just another lily pad to step on en route to The Game.West Virginia: This will be a tricky home game against TCU, and the Mountaineers need to go undefeated to leave no doubt in the committees mind theyre a top-four team. The good news is theyre playing defense -- unlike the rest of the Big 12.Baylor: The Bears have a week off to prepare for a trip to Texas, the start of a stretch that will finally reveal just how good Baylor is this year. The best thing for the Big 12 would be to have Baylor and WVU still undefeated when those teams meet in Morgantown on Dec. 3.Bubble watchLouisville (5-1): Not only do the Cardinals have to win every game, they cant afford to win ugly, either -- especially at home against an unranked opponent. NC State is coming off an emotional overtime loss at Clemson and now has to travel to Louisville, which haas the Heisman front-runner in quarterback Lamar Jackson.dddddddddddd.Utah (6-1): If the Utes can survive the next two games -- at UCLA on Saturday and home against Washington on Oct. 29 -- they will legitimize their chances of playing for a Pac-12 title. The nonconference strength of schedule and loss at Cal, though, will haunt them in their playoff pursuit, regardless.Wisconsin (4-2): The Badgers have now lost back-to-back games, albeit against two top-five teams, and their chances of winning the West will disappear with a loss at Iowa on Saturday.Oklahoma (4-2): The Sooners cant lose again, period. After nonconference losses to Houston and Ohio State, OU needs to avoid an upset at Texas Tech this weekend and run the table. The Sooners will also need other Power 5 champs to trip up.Colorado (5-2): The Buffs are the FPIs favorite to win the Pac-12 South, with a 60 percent chance, but with losses to Michigan and USC, theyre probably relegated to the role of spoiler in the CFP picture. The more they win, though, the better Michigans résumé looks. Theyve got a tough trip to Stanford this weekend.Group of 5 watchBoise State: The Broncos are the only undefeated team left in the Mountain West and kick off at 10:15 p.m. ET against BYU. With wins over Washington State and Oregon State, they are in the hunt for a New Years Six Bowl as the highest-ranked Group of 5 champion.Western Michigan: These Broncos are the only undefeated team remaining in the MAC and should stay that way after playing Eastern Michigan this weekend. Road wins at Northwestern and Illinois will help separate them in the eyes of the committee.Houston: The Cougars have lost their shot at the top four, but if the New Years Six Bowls were slotted today, based on the current Associated Press Top 25 poll, theyd still be in the Cotton Bowl against Boise State. The Broncos would be there because theyd earn the bid as the highest-ranked Group of 5 champion, and then Houston would go because it would be the highest-ranked available team after the Rose, Sugar and Orange bowls were filled.South Florida: With a win at Syracuse, and their only loss to Florida State, dont discount the Bulls. Theyre leading the AAC East, and if they run the table could earn that New Years Six bid.SuperlativesMost intriguing mascot battle: Lets give a little love to the FCS this week, where Campbell hosts Stetson, because its hard to beat a hat vs. a camel. OK, more precisely, Campbells Gaylord the Camel vs. the John B. Stetson mascot (yes, after the guy who actually made the Stetson hat). Dont worry, his boots are alligator skin -- not camel hair.Upset watch: North Carolina at Virginia. The Tar Heels have been living on the edge in the ACC race, beating Florida State, Pitt and Miami by a combined 10 points. Now they have to travel to Virginia for a second straight road game. If the Cavaliers dont turn the ball over, this could be close.Player in the spotlight: Oklahoma receiver Dede Westbrook. Hell be integral in helping the Sooners keep pace with Texas Tech. Westbrook has 26 catches for 574 yards and eight touchdowns in his past three games. QB Baker Mayfield is completing 89.3 percent of his attempts (25-of-28) when targeting Westbrook during that span.Matchup to watch: Alabamas defensive line vs. Texas A&Ms offensive line. A&M is giving up only one sack per game; Alabama is averaging four sacks. The Aggies are averaging 532.8 yards per game, and the Tide are holding opponents to an average of 274.Under-the-radar game: Memphis at Navy. Memphis is also undefeated in the AAC West, and Houston is on the edge of its seat waiting for the Midshipmen to trip up. Navy has to lose twice for Houston to win the division, and this could be a tricky one for the Middies.Must-win game: Wisconsin at Iowa. As the only undefeated team left in the West, Nebraska is the front-runner to win the division, but the winner of this game still has a shot. The Badgers enter the game with a 29 percent chance to win the division, and the Hawkeyes are at 14 percent, according to the FPI.Dont forget about: Utah at UCLA. Dont snooze on the Utes. Theyre the only one-loss team remaining in the Pac-12 South, and theyre heading to the Rose Bowl for what should be a defensive clinic. 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