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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

A new era dawns. The kids are excited.

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NET Rankings Update (men’s): No. 113 (up 2)

NET Rankings Update (women’s): No. 4 (no change)

—The latest Card Chronicle podcast — discussing everything related to Mack madness — is here.

—Bill Bender of The Sporting News lays out nine candidates to replace Chris Mack at U of L.

—Still pretty surreal to see it all playing it out this quickly.

—Jeff Goodman went on Nick Coffey’s show this morning and said he believes Chris Mack may never coach again. You can listen to the podcast here.

—Rick Bozich talked to five former Louisville basketball players who all agreed that the time for change had arrived.

—Pat Forde shares his thoughts on the situation at Louisville, including his take on some potential replacement candidates.

Despite all that, this is a Cadillac job. Louisville will be good because it has a fan base that demands it be good, passionate enough to fill 22,000 seats and produce the most revenue of any basketball program in the country for many of the past several decades. And it will pay something very near top dollar for the right person.

So we are about to find out how much the Louisville brand has been battered vs. its potential to withstand scandal and eventually return to heavyweight status. The candidate list will be fascinating.

An early Louisville fan favorite who would seem to stand no chance is Auburn’s Bruce Pearl. This is a school under a massive compliance microscope; hiring a coach who has been sanctioned twice in the last 11 years ain’t happening.

Same goes for Rick Pitino, despite the wizardry he is currently performing (again) at Iona. That’s a nonstarter, as is rehiring former athletic director Tom Jurich.

Kenny Payne will get some ardent backing. Currently an assistant coach with the New York Knicks, formerly an assistant at bitter rival Kentucky, but before that a star player for the Cardinals’ 1986 national championship team, Payne checks several boxes. One of the most significant ones: A program with a sizable Black fan base and a proud history of integration on the court has never had a Black head basketball coach or athletic director.

Matt Painter is in his 17th season at his alma mater, Purdue. Life is great there, but he flirted hard with leaving for Missouri once—and this could be the time to find out whether he wants to spend the rest of his career in one place.

Mick Cronin is poised to have a decade of elite teams at UCLA. But he’s also a Cincinnati guy, which is a mere 100 miles from Louisville, and a former assistant at U of L under Pitino. The guess here is that he wouldn’t be interested, but it’s worth asking the question.

Others who could be of interest: Wake Forest’s Steve Forbes, BYU’s Mark Pope, Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann, Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard, Connecticut’s Danny Hurley, Murray State’s Matt McMahon, Cincinnati’s Wes Miller.

—The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy wonders aloud why Bruce Pearl would ever leave Auburn for Louisville.

—ACC hoops last night:

No. 9 Duke 71, Clemson 69
Pittsburgh 64, Syracuse 53

—Just a year after asking to be disassociated from the Louisville men’s basketball program, Butch Beard now says he is willing to help the program out ... so long as Kenny Payne is hired as the next head coach. I feel like this shouldn’t be a thing that’s conditional, but whatever.

—Sydney Curry: Louisville man.

—A U of L research team has developed a new gene therapy to regenerate heart muscle cells, potentially restoring heart function following a heart attack.

—Sam Vecenie’s latest NBA draft big board for The Athletic has Auburn’s Jabari Smith on top.

—Vecenie also touches on the Louisville/Chris Mack situation on his latest Game Theory podcast.

—Jeff Walz addressed the situation with the men’s basketball program during his Wednesday press conference.

—Louisville’s Carmyn Greenwood has been named to the 2022 Softball Preseason All-Atlantic Coast Conference Team. The Cardinals were picked to finish sixth in the conference by the league’s 13 head coaches.

—ACC hoops tonight:

Miami at Virginia Tech (7 p.m./ACC Network)
Boston College at North Carolina (7 p.m./ACCNx)
NC State at Notre Dame (9 p.m./ACCNx)
Florida State at Georgia Tech (9 p.m./ACC Network)

—Louisville Report takes a first look at the 2022 Louisville football offense.

—DP remains the best.

—Virginia’s 247 site looks at the good and the bad from UVA’s win over Louisville.

—The consistency of Liz Dixon and Olivia Cochran has been vital to the U of L women’s basketball team’s success so far this season.

—Florida athlete Keyon Brown said his visit to U of L was “turnt.”

Am I allowed to type that? I feel too old to have just typed that.

—Anas is ready to help lead.

—Tim Sullivan and Brett Dawson of the CJ discuss Chris Mack’s future here.

—Norton Healthcare has opened a new sport and wellness center in East Louisville.

—The Game Haus has five candidates for the Louisville vacancy.

—And finally, what promises to be an eventful Mike Rutherford Show will be rolling from 3-6 on 1450AM/96.1FM. I’ll be doing the show from home because I now officially have COVID, so get ready for the background screams of small children as we discuss the parting of ways from Chris Mack. You can stream the show here.

Man ... these are the days.