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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

At least the found and the ambiance were solid.

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—Spread check (basketball): Louisville by 5.5.

—Spread check (football): Louisville by 3.5.

—The Louisville women’s basketball team is up one spot to No. 7 in this week’s AP top 25 poll.

—Congrats to the U of L men’s soccer team, which has earned a berth to the NCAA tournament for the 14th time in the last 16 seasons. The Cards will host Western Michigan in the first round on Thursday. You can purchase tickets here.

—Updated odds for Louisville to win both the Maui Invitational (suck it, UC) and the ACC in men’s hoops.

—After another weekend sweep, the U of L volleyball team is up one spot to No. 4 in the latest coaches poll. The Cards, who remain No. 2 in the RPI, received a pair of first-place votes.

—U of L QB commit Pierce Clarkson threw for five touchdowns and rushed for another in a 49-14 playoff victory this weekend.

—On3’s latest ACC football power rankings have Louisville at No. 6.

—Very cool.

—Kentucky got a commitment from some kid named D.J. Wagner on Monday. Not sure where he’s ranked or if he’s even ranked, but good for them.

—Florida State men’s basketball fell to 0-3 on the young season with a 7-point loss to Troy Monday night.

—Elsewhere in the ACC, Boston College lost at home to Maine, which entered the evening at No. 351 on KenPom.

Clearly we just need to get to conference play.

—History makers.

—The latest episode of the Cardinal Sports Zone podcast is here.

—Louisville has made the top 12 for class of 2023 WR Chance Fitzgerald.

—The Tampa Bay Rays have released former Louisville baseball star Brendan McKay, but are hopeful to re-sign the former top pick to a Minor League deal. McKay’s professional career has been wrecked by injuries, most recently a Tommy John surgery that has him looking at 2024 for a comeback.

—Bellarmine bounced back from a 7-point loss to Morehead State to hammer Campbellsville University Harrodsburg by 40 Monday night. The win was Scotty Davenport’s 400th.

—Brett McMurphy’s latest bowl projections have Louisville taking on old conference rival East Carolina in the Fenway Bowl.

—Louisville’s 0-2 start was the second biggest story of the weekend that was in college basketball.

—Malik Cunningham’s status for the week ahead seems to be up in the air, but Brock Domann says he’s always ready for the call to be QB1.

—An absolute legend.

—It’s official: Top Golf Louisville will be open for business this Friday.

The city had a good run.

—Matt McGavic is predicting a 7-point Cardinal win tonight.

—ESPN’s FPI ratings still have the Louisville football team at No. 22 in the country.

—The last of the escaped cows that got loose near Cherokee Park last month has finally been rounded up.

Personally, I wanted D.B. Mooper to stay on the lamb forever and become a legend.

—Eric Crawford shares his thoughts on the loss to Clemson.

The other fact is that no matter how many breaks Louisville made for itself, it was going to be hard-pressed to overcome the bad breaks of a questionable pass interference call that saved one Clemson drive for a touchdown, and a pass-interference non-call on the home team that cut short a promising second-half drive that could’ve made a game of it late.

Whatever you want to blame it on, it was a 15-point Clemson win, and while it wasn’t unexpected in a game where Clemson was a 7-point favorite in a stadium where it had won 38 straight, it still feels like a missed opportunity for a program looking to show its improvement in the wake of a recent 4-game winning streak.

Clemson marched for easy scores on its first drive of each half. And the cushion the Tigers built allowed them to tee off even more on whoever was quarterback, whether it was Malik Cunningham — who began the game and played the first half on a heavily bandaged non-throwing hand, which completely took him out of the running game – or Brock Domann, who tried to rally the offense in the face of withering pressure in the second.

Toss out those opening drives, and the Louisville defense played pretty well. It got four takeaways, and gave the offense some opportunities. But it couldn’t dominate the game the way Louisville’s offensive struggles required it to.

—Kei’Trel Clark also shared his:

—YaYa Diaby is officially headed to the Senior Bowl.

—Syracuse has offered a scholarship to 2025 SG Kiyan Anthony, the son of SU legend Carmelo Anthony. In related news, you are 117-years-old.

—Like Louisville, NC State is looking to bounce back from a disappointing week 10 loss.

An oft-used sports adage is “Never let a loss beat you twice.” That could be N.C. State’s challenge this week.

The loss to Boston College was a crusher for the Wolfpack, one that could linger. The 21-20 loss Saturday, ending a 16-game winning streak at Carter-Finley Stadium, on Senior Day, left a lot of glum, disbelieving faces among the Pack players, coaches and disappointed fans.

NCSU coach Dave Doeren said after the game that it was hard finding the right words to say after the startling upset. Nothing was said in his postgame comments about Louisville, the Pack’s next opponent, only, “We’ll regroup and work hard to finish.”

—Butler County hoops star Ty Price (2025) took an unofficial visit to Louisville over the weekend.

—Louisville Report has some final thoughts on U of L’s loss to Clemson.

—ACC hoops tonight (non-Louisville edition):

Utah Valley at Wake Forest (7 p.m./ESPN+)
Colgate at Syracuse (7 p.m./ACCNx)
Florida A&M at Miami (7 p.m./ACCNx or ESPN+)
South Carolina State at Clemson (7 p.m./ACCNx or ESPN+)
Gardner-Webb at No. 7 North Carolina (8 p.m./ACC Network)
Florida International at NC State (9 p.m./ACCNx)
No. 6 Kansas vs. No. 7 Duke (9:30 p.m./ESPN)

—Cardinal Authority previews Louisville vs. Appalachian State.

—What a bizarre thing for this UK football player to do.

—Despite last week’s loss to Clemson, Louisville has a lot to play for in its final two games of the regular season.

—It’s early, but so far Emoni Bates has looked like a different player (Athletic link) at Eastern Michigan.

—Shakin’ the Southland recaps Clemson’s win over Louisville.

—Best highlights from the weekend that was:

—The U of L track and field schedule for the upcoming season has been released.

—CBS ranks the best coaches in men’s college basketball at the moment.

—Former Louisville RB Javian Hawkins has signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL.

—Brett Dawson of the CJ lays out the three biggest problems in Louisville’s 0-2 start.

—Frederick Douglass baseball star Thomas Howard is officially a Cardinal.

—Here are the Greenville Online’s observations from Louisville’s loss to Clemson.

—The New York Jets’ Fansided site says the Jets should think seriously about taking Malik Cunningham in the 2023 NFL Draft.

—State of Louisville says that Cardinal basketball fans will accept a lot in Kenny Payne’s first year, but lack of effort isn’t one of them.

—Kevin Sweeney of Sports Illustrated runs through the start of the college basketball season and leads with Louisville.

What’s wrong with Louisville?

Just two games into his tenure at Louisville, it’s clear Kenny Payne has a mess to clean up.

Lauded as the man who could connect Louisville’s past with its future thanks to his ties to the program and track record in recruiting, Payne was handed the keys to what most would consider one of the 10 best programs in the country for his first head coaching job. And while this season was widely expected to be a rebuilding one, few would have anticipated consecutive losses to open the season against Bellarmine and Wright State, let alone the team’s exhibition defeat to Division II Lenoir-Rhyne. These early-season missteps set the tone for what could be one of the worst Cardinals teams of all time: This year’s group may be on its way to a 20-loss campaign, something that has happened just once in program history.

Payne’s in-game coaching hasn’t been a problem thus far, outside of traditional bumps in the road for a guy in his first month in the head coach’s chair. Louisville’s players seem bought in, have played hard and rallied back in both games thus far. This team is also not devoid of talent: While no one would mistake it for Duke or Kentucky, this is a roster loaded with guys who were ranked in the top-100 nationally out of high school as well as two former top juco recruits. Instead, it’s roster construction that has done the Cardinals in, a mistake that seemed obvious as the team was coming together this summer and looks even more glaring now.

Louisville has one capable ballhandler on the roster in El Ellis. He played all 40 minutes against Bellarmine (perhaps missing a key late free throw because of that workload), then 34 against Wright State, a game in which he turned the ball over eight times. Backup point guard Hercy Miller is a walk-on best known for being the son of rapper Master P, while reclassified freshman PG Fabio Basili hasn’t appeared in a game yet. The rest of the roster is loaded with combo forwards and true big men, which has created major issues for the Cardinals’ offensive flow and been a catalyst for Louisville’s issues with turnovers.

While the recently-resolved NCAA investigation may have made recruiting slightly more tricky, the idea that no capable guards would have jumped at the chance to play for one of college basketball’s most storied programs with a chance for big minutes is outlandish. Payne made a miscalculation, and it means this rebuilding season will be an even tougher watch than it might have already been. And looking ahead, top 2023 recruit D.J. Wagner, a primary Louisville target since Payne got the job, just committed to rival Kentucky, furthering the Cardinals’ need for answers at guard long-term.

—Big Red Louie hands out player grades for the Wright State loss.

—All Clemson says the Tigers intimidated Louisville on Saturday.

—And finally, beat App State.