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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Beat Wake Forest.

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—Spread check: Wake Forest by 3.5.

—I am obligated to remind you that tomorrow afternoon’s game at Cardinal Stadium is a Blackout. You should wear black if you’re going and don’t want to be the laughing stock of the city.

—Kenny Payne will talk with the media this afternoon at 4:30 ahead of tonight’s Louisville Basketball Tipoff event and Sunday’s first exhibition game against Lenoir-Rhyne.

—Louisville just makes the cut at No. 100 in Matt Norlander’s rankings of the 101 best college basketball teams for the upcoming season.

100 Louisville

Guard play seems lacking and I’m afraid Louisville fans are going to have to endure big bumps in Kenny Payne’s first season. U of L’s best player will probably be either Tennessee 6-10 transfer Brandon Huntley-Hatfield or 6-9 returnee Jae’Lyn Withers. Cards do have size, at least. We did a Summer Shootaround podcast episode on Louisville (because we’re sickos), but the real intrigue here is whether or not Louisville can play spoiler in the ACC right away under Payne.

—A new episode of the Card Chronicle pod was published earlier today. You can check it out here.

—The ninth-ranked Louisville men’s soccer team closes out the regular season on the road at Wake Forest on Friday night. Kickoff from Winston-Salem is scheduled for 8 p.m. and will be televised on the ACC Network.

—Your 2022-23 U of L women’s basketball team:

—Louisville Report goes behind enemy lines with Deacons Daily.

—Alexis Cubit of the CJ gives us three things to know about Louisville-Wake Forest.

—Cool story here about Tennessee fans raising over $80,000 for a UT-Martin player whose family home was destroyed by Hurricane Ian. The Volunteers faced the Skyhawks last weekend in Knoxville.

—Lamar remains the best, now and forever.

—The 8th-ranked Louisville field hockey team will wrap its regular season when it hosts No. 22 Boston College this afternoon at 1. Here’s a preview.

—The Crunch Zone looks at the series history between Louisville and Wake Forest.

—Louisville Report’s Matt McGavic looks at the points of emphasis for tomorrow’s game against the Deacs.

—Of course everyone loves Gorgui.

—Cardinal Authority tracks where the Louisville football commits are taking the field tonight.

—The latest episode of the From the Pink Seats Podcast is here.

—Like everyone else, Josh Heird is ready for the IARP to get on with it.

On his more optimistic days, Heird looks at the IARP’s seeming reluctance to punish present athletes for violations by their schools, and admits, “does that give me a little bit of hope? It does.”

“But does anyone connected with Louisville dare to hope?

“I ask myself that probably every day, is it wishful thinking?” Heird said. “. . . There’s no way to tell, you know, the variables in each of the cases are different. I think the one for me is just the repeat offender status. I think that’s the glaring difference as you try to compare. But I have no idea. I just want it behind us. I want our program to move forward. I want Kenny (Payne) and his program to be able to move forward, put this behind us and just make sure that we never have to deal with it again.”

This much Heird knows. The men’s basketball program has suffered because of this process – not only because of its own admitted shortcomings, but because of the length of the proceedings. He’s just ready to have it over with.

“It’s been five plus years,” he said. “Think about that. Five years, it’s hard to believe. And so, whatever the decision is, there will be some relief. . . . I go back to the idea that the one thing that makes college basketball special, and it’s the differentiator, it’s the tournament. So, until we know exactly what the penalties are, there’s going to be people out there saying, ‘Hey, if you go to Louisville, you won’t get the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament.’ And that’s a deterrent. But once we know what the results are, I absolutely think that it’ll be full steam ahead, moving forward with Kenny and the program.”

—Adam Gorney of Rivals suggests that every 2023 Louisville commit may flip before signing day.

—Lorenzo Mauldin is still churning out MVP work for the Ottawa REDBLACKS of the CFL.


—Eric Crawford and Rick Bozich talk (video) about how Jeff Walz always wins media day.

—Matt McGavic is predicting a 31-24 win for Wake Forest on Saturday.

—The FPI likes the Cards in an upset this weekend.

No. 10 Wake Forest at Louisville (3:30 p.m., ACCN/ESPN app). Last year, Wake made its first-ever appearance in the AP top 10 and immediately lost a track meet against North Carolina. Can the Deacs make a longer stay this time? Both of these teams have headliner quarterbacks and better-than-expected defenses, and Louisville has drastically overachieved projections for three of the last four weeks. A sneaky big, and potentially sneaky good, ACC Atlantic battle. Current line: Wake -3.5 (down from -5.5 on Sunday) | SP+ projection: Wake by 4.1 | FPI projection: Louisville by 0.4.

—Brandon Huntley-Hatfield says that for two years he struggled to open up to anyone. Then he met Kenny Payne.

—Louisville baseball has landed a commitment from class of 2025 LHP Anthony Karbowski.

—Auburn wide receiver Tar’Varish Dawson announced his plan to enter the transfer portal on Wednesday afternoon. The former member of the class of 2021 had Louisville as a finalist during his recruitment.

—Jeff Walz is very aware that he has yet to win a national title, and he’d like to clear up any confusion about whether or not he wants to win one.

—Elliot Cadeau, the top-ranked PG in the 2024 class who was in town for Louisville Live last weekend, will announce his top six schools on Saturday at 6 p.m.

—Spooky Season legend John Carpenter says, “everything I learned about evil, I learned in Bowling Green.”’

—College Football News is predicting a 38-34 Wake Forest win.

—Better know a Cardinal: Danny Manning.

—The promotional calendar for the upcoming women’s basketball season is out.

—The U of L women’s soccer team ended its 2022 season with a 2-0 home loss to No. 2 North Carolina. The Cards finished the year with a 6-8-2 overall record. Emotions were flowing after the game.

—A record crowd watched the Louisville volleyball team sweep Notre Dame inside the KFC Yum Center on Wednesday night.

The Cards are back it tonight against Duke. Here’s a preview.

—The U of L softball team will conclude its fall season on Saturday against Kentucky.

—Jeff Walz’s new slide stole the show at media day.

—Jeff Greer’s latest U of L hoops newsletter says JJ Traynor and Jae’Lyn Withers are big early Kenny Payne test cases.

First, let’s start with Traynor, primarily because he put up 14 points (6 of 12 shooting), three blocks, two steals, two assists and two rebounds in Sunday’s Red-White scrimmage and, quite frankly, looked like a very different player from last season. The 6-foot-8 Bardstown native never really got the opportunity to play, either at forward or even center, which isn’t his position anyway. Chris Mack talked at length about Traynor getting tougher and needing to add muscle to his frame, noting that an illness last summer significantly set the then-sophomore back in his efforts to strengthen his body ahead of the season.

In discussing the previous campaign with WHAS-11’s Kent Spencer at media day last week, Traynor went into great detail about how difficult the entire ordeal was and how much his confidence had dipped. He said he is getting back to his highest level of confidence — “still working on it a little bit, but I would say I’m almost there” — and he noticed the biggest change in August. He “came back into himself” and stopped second-guessing things in workouts with teammates. That carried into preseason practices.

“I feel like I lost a lot of confidence from high school,” Traynor told Spencer. “I came in really excited to start college, and I had an OK freshman year. But last year was really hard and I feel like it set me back and put me in a hard place mentally. Trusting Kenny and all these new guys, they helped instill that confidence again.”

Payne and company have done so with relentless communication — lifting Traynor up to play with pizzazz and swagger, pushing him with the intense conditioning regimen that has become the main storyline this offseason and, above all else, encouraging him to be himself. It is a dedicated, intense strategy, a method that requires authenticity and persistence. And it seems to have worked very well over the past five months.

—USA Today’s bowl projections have Louisville facing old conference foe East Carolina in the Military Bowl.

—LouCity’s road to a third USL title starts Saturday against Pittsburgh.

—Friday Irrelevance:

—Deacons Daily highlights some players to watch for Saturday’s game.

—The Mike Rutherford Show is live from Oxmoor Ford from 3-6 this afternoon. You can stream it here.

—And finally, beat Wake.