—NET Rankings Update (men): No. 114 (down 1)
—NET Rankings Update (women): No. 4 (no change)
—Here’s the U of L recap of the women’s basketball team’s 75-62 win over Florida State from last night.
—Despite becoming a first-time dad this week, Jeff Greer still made time to pound out an extremely thorough breakdown of the Chris Mack situation and where Louisville goes from here.
Here’s what I believe: I don’t think Mack liked this job, and I don’t think he liked it for longer than many realize. I never got the sense, even when his team was thriving in his second season, that he really got everything about the Louisville job. As I said earlier, he hit some of the key notes — the Louisville Lives, the everyman fishing trips and Roosters nights, the familial connection to the city, the work to repair U of L’s relationship with Denny Crum and its history. But a coach here also needs to understand Louisville is an all-encompassing gig. You have to always want to be on, be out front and, most importantly, care more about the team than everyone else. You just never really got the fiery Xavier version of Mack — the guy who happily exchanged barbs with Mick Cronin and coached with an edge and swagger. You got maybe 50-75% of that version in Years 1 and 2, and more like 0-10% of it the past two years.
This is why Rick Pitino resonated with so many people. Like, oh, you think you’re mad Louisville lost on Monday? Pitino’s players feared going to the practice facility after losses or even making eye contact with him in post-loss practices. Their coach was up at 5 a.m. watching film while working out on the elliptical. He often texted a certain local beat writer who loves sweaters and bagels with his thoughts on games before that certain local beat writer was even awake to pursue the aforementioned bagels. Pitino’s constant desire to make even the smallest adjustments by consuming endless amounts of basketball gave him a tactical edge while also reflecting just how much he cared about his job at a molecular level. That’s why Denny Crum resonated with so many here, too — his swagger and his determination were through the roof.
You don’t have to be Rick Pitino or Denny Crum to win at Louisville. But you have to have similar characteristics in your approach to this job.
—I lay out what I’ve heard on the U of L basketball coaching search front in the latest Card Chronicle Podcast episode, which you can find here.
—”We need that guy” was Jay Wright’s first thought when he met Louisville interim AD Josh Heird in 2016.
—ESPN previews tomorrow afternoon’s matchup between Louisville and Duke.
—Singleton is a top 10 running back in the class of 2023 according to all four major scouting services ... so that’s cool.
—Pierce Clarkson says the “special people” are one of the biggest reasons why he ultimately committed to Louisville.
—Kevin Sweeney of Sports Illustrated becomes the first person I’ve seen to propose Brad Underwood for Louisville.
—The Athletic’s college basketball writers had a roundtable discussion about the Louisville job.
What is the better available job right now: Louisville or Maryland?
Eamonn Brennan: It’s Louisville. It has to be Louisville, right? The Cardinals athletic department routinely spends as much or more on its men’s basketball program as any other in the country, bluebloods included. Maryland has plenty of built-in pluses, sure, but the sheer cultural penetration that Louisville retains, in a major U.S. city, where it is functionally that city’s professional sports franchise, and where a *ton* of interest translates into a ton of money — it’s Louisville.
Brian Bennett: In a vacuum, it’s pretty clearly Louisville. Maryland is closer to talent hotbeds, but the Cardinals have three national titles (2013 actually happened) and 10 Final Fours to the Terrapins’ one and two, respectively. Plus, Louisville has an enormous edge in facilities — the KFC Yum! Center is the most opulent arena in the country dedicated solely to a college team, and there is a pristine practice facility and fancy player dorm. The Cardinals are the most profitable college basketball enterprise thanks in large part to a sweetheart arena deal with the city, and there are no pro teams in the state to compete with for attention. But of course, context matters, and the next Maryland coach won’t have to overcome the stench of multiple recent scandals. Still, Louisville is a place that has everything in place to win at a high level, provided the school can stay out of its own way.
Sam Vecenie: It’s Louisville, and it’s not close due to the resources and the engagement of the fan base. This is a school that cares about basketball in a fanatical way. It’s the biggest show in town. It has a great, relatively new arena that opened in 2010, and has an awful lot of big-money boosters that are willing to help make things happen. On top of that, the men’s basketball program alone last year made $40.7 million in revenue, per the U.S. Department of Education. That is literally twice as much as Duke and Kentucky. It’s five times as much as Maryland. The school just built an incredible new housing facility for the men’s and women’s basketball teams that has a skywalk to the school’s state-of-the-art practice facility. The amenities at Louisville outstrip Maryland’s by a landslide.
I firmly believe that you can build the best men’s college basketball program in the country at Louisville. That’s why Chris Mack left a great situation at Xavier, and it’s why the school itself not only can, but should be aggressive in firing a coach that isn’t working after three-and-a-half years.
Brian Hamilton: Maryland has a preposterous natural recruiting pool. Louisville has the facilities and the better conference fit, and therefore the tools to recruit at a high level. That element, under the current circumstances, is more or less a jump ball. As is the meddlesome booster factor. Louisville may not have a permanent athletic director in place just yet, but it also kind of doesn’t matter: Win, and you’ll be safe. Lose and you’d get fired no matter who’s in charge.
—Qwynnterrio Cole is headed to Indy tomorrow for the NFL draft combine.
—The college hoops crew over at CBS serves up their list of potential candidates for the Louisville job.
—If you have an Athletic subscription, Kyle Tucker’s profile of Kenny Payne from a couple of years ago is probably worth your time right now.
—If the bank account statements don’t fit, you must acquit.
Not to trivialize serious issues. But think about this: From the date of the crime to acquittal, the OJ Simpson trial took 465 days. Date of indictment to conviction, Adidas executives 425 days. Louisville's NCAA case since that day is at 1,584 days. The process is the penalty.— Eric Crawford (@ericcrawford) January 27, 2022
Seriously though, that’s beyond outrageous.
—We are officially under 100 days away from the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby.
—Four Louisville men’s soccer players have been named to the All-ACC Academic team.
—Pete Thamel writes about the Pierce Clarkson commitment for ESPN.
Clarkson plays for national power St. John Bosco in Bellflower, California, and is the No. 89 recruit in the ESPN Junior 300.
His commitment to Louisville went public early Friday morning via 13 billboards that his family purchased in the Louisville area to announce his intentions. The billboard reads: “Dear Louisville, I’m home. Let’s build something special together. Love Pierce Clarkson.”
Both the spirit and the ambition tied to his commitment offer a window into a new era of college football recruiting.
Clarkson is choosing Louisville primarily for reasons that both reflect the traditional tenets of recruiting decisions — fit, playing time and his relationship with coach Scott Satterfield and the Cardinals’ staff — and suggest how the recruiting world might look in the future.
In the micro, Clarkson stressed multiple times to ESPN that he appreciated the “priority” the staff put on him in his recruitment as the top quarterback on their board.
“The opportunity there is something that’s one of a kind,” Clarkson told ESPN. “I felt like it’s the best place for me and my future.”
—Clarkson’s commitment is the main topic of the latest Cardinal Authority podcast.
—Former Syracuse WR Taj Harris is headed to Rutgers.
—Louisville has landed a preferred walk-on commitment from Charlotte TE Gage Reale.
—Oldham County standout QB Sam Young will also join the Louisville football program as a preferred walk-on.
—Terry Rozier is now fourth on Charlotte’s all-time made three-pointers list.
—Louisville was No. 5 in the women’s basketball top 16 seed reveal Thursday night.
—U of L track and field is set to host the Lenny Lyles Invitational.
—The Louisville men’s tennis team is headed to Orlando for the ITA Kickoff.
—Confluent Health relocating and expanding its national headquarters in Louisville is good news for both the city and the state.
—Louisville football is primed for a monster recruiting weekend.
—Jordan Nwora shared his thoughts on Chris Mack through this message on social media.
—Louisville Report tackles the topic of what Josh Heird is looking for in Louisville’s next head men’s basketball coach.
—Rob Cassidy from Rivals takes a look back at Chris Mack’s first Cardinal recruiting class.
—Here’s the quick AP preview for Louisville-Duke.
—Your Cardinal QB of the future:
This is gonna be fun pic.twitter.com/yyaTVL430P— From The Pink Seats Podcast (State of Louisville) (@PinkSeatsPod) January 28, 2022
—Rivals’ Dave Lackford keeps tabs on the reaction of other top football recruits to the commitment of Pierce Clarkson to Louisville.
—Clarkson is the sixth highest-rated football recruit to ever pledge his allegiance to the Cardinals.
—Tonight’s scheduled boys basketball showdown between Male and Ballard has been pushed to Saturday at 7:30 because of the weather.
—The Cardinal Dames are the best.
—Highlights of last night’s win over FSU are here.
—Former Cardinal pitcher Kade McClure would like to be gearing up for spring training, but is instead leading a youth pitching clinic in his hometown.
—The Athletic’s Dana O’Neil tries to make sense of how things went so sour so quickly for Chris Mack at Louisville.
—This also works for Louisville men’s basketball fandom.
—Tomahawk Nation recaps last night’s FSU loss to Louisville.
—One of the football guests in town this weekend is, ironically, a safety transfer from Duke.
—For the Win has a brief timeline of Chris Mack’s tenure at Louisville.
—Does Calipari think that we don’t all know how much these guys are making?
Calipari on Chris Mack: "I feel bad for he and his family. Coaching is a hard profession. We're all 30 days from bankruptcy. Everybody in this profession. So I feel bad for him." But he thinks U of L athletics will be fine. "It's an outstanding athletic program."— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) January 28, 2022
—ESPN’s Jeff Borzello serves up his list of candidates for the Louisville job.
—Rick Bozich says there’s no question that Louisville is still a top 10 job in the sport.
—Tennessee’s FanSided site is hoping Louisville hires an SEC coach.
—Kentucky made a hype video for a 7-5 hockey loss to Louisville.
The scores for the weekend didn’t end up how we wanted, but the fan support from the best fans in college hockey was incredible. Three more home games this season, will you be there? pic.twitter.com/j8nk0tX17Y— Kentucky Hockey (@Kentucky_Hockey) January 27, 2022
—Greedy Vance reiterated on Thursday that he transferred to Florida State to be closer to family.
—Eric Crawford writes that Josh Heird is the early winner of yet another wild week at U of L.
—Duke’s trip to the Derby City headlines the weekend ahead in the ACC.
—We’ll wrap up a wild week of the Mike Rutherford Show this afternoon from 3-6 on 1450 The Big X. You can stream the show here.
—And finally, beat Duke.