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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Beat UK.

—Spread check (football): Kentucky by 3.

—Thirty-seven media members submitted Governor’s Cup predictions to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Twenty-six are picking the Wildcats, and 11 are taking the Cards.

—The U of L volleyball team swept Notre Dame to lock up its third straight ACC regular season title. The Cards have now won at least a share of the title in five of the last eight years.

—Jeff Greer’s latest U of L hoops newsletter examines the carnage from Maui.

Anyone who has followed my work over the years knows I try really, really hard to maintain an even keel as careers and seasons play out. There is, of course, lots of time for Kenny Payne and company to start hitting more notes and getting better performances and, ultimately, results. I’m also willing to toss in my own questions about the impact of the lingering IARP case on the spring transfer portal.

But even being willing to present that context doesn’t prevent me from wondering just how concerned Louisville fans and decision-makers should be. Louisville looks unprepared and, for long stretches, unmotivated. There was just no fight in Hawaii. We already talked about why the effort level is worrisome last week, and then the Maui Invitational experience just highlighted those problems, increased the font by a million and put ‘em on billboards all over the globe.

Just consider these numbers from the three losses by an average margin of 25.7 points:

* Arkansas, Cincinnati and Texas Tech scored 231 points in 201 possessions, which rounds out to a hideous 1.15 points per possession allowed. The trio of opponents rang up 44 layups and dunks and 58 points off turnovers.

* The Cards scored 73 times in 202 possessions. They committed 55 — 55!! — turnovers, made 19 of 45 layup attempts and 10 of 43 3-pointers, assisted 19 of their 49 field goals and, in three games, scored 54 points in the paint.

KenPom now ranks Louisville’s offense 230th in efficiency; Bart Torvik ranks it 278th. And I come away from this week thinking something similar to last season: Just like Louisville didn’t have the personnel to succeed in the more spaced-out, 3-point-heavy offense Ross McMains tried to install, maybe Louisville this campaign doesn’t have the personnel to pass like Gene Hackman’s team in Hoosiers. The strategy — again, whatever it is — just flat-out isn’t working, and while it was definitely time to switch up the starting lineup and significantly reduce Sydney Curry’s minutes, there have to be bigger changes than just different guys playing more minutes.

—Speaking of Maui carnage ...

—Cardinal Authority keeps up with where the Louisville football commitments will be playing their high school games tonight.

—Cardinal fans in the Denver area can head to Blake Street Tavern tomorrow for a Governor’s Cup watch party. The party starts at 1 p.m. local time.

—Can we actually get the SEC refs?

—Big Red Louie keeps tabs on how former Cards in the NBA are faring so far this season.

—Alexis Cubit of the CJ talked with Anthony Shelman about being the first Cardinal to score a touchdown against Kentucky.

—Rob Cassidy and Trais Graf of Rivals discuss their panic level when it comes to Louisville.


“I’m sitting at a six, I think. I’m not sure anyone expected Kenny Payne to contend for an ACC title or anything crazy with this roster, but starting 0-6 with losses to Wright State, Bellarmine and Appalachian State isn’t something that should be dismissed. I don’t think the start is necessarily reflective of Payne’s coaching acumen, but that really won’t matter when it comes to the offseason narrative if he posts the lowest full-season win total in decades, which seems at least possible at this juncture. It can become quite difficult to recruit when doubt takes hold, and a truly miserable season will open the door to recruiting competitors pointing to instability in the program. Success tends to compound in college basketball, but so too does failure. So, if things don’t turn around at least a little, Payne’s task on the recruiting trail is going to get more difficult than it is already. Payne has to do enough in year one to convince players that things are going in the right direction under his leadership, and, as things stand, I’m not sure how he’ll be able to do that. The good news, obviously, is that there are plenty of games left to play, so building some momentum headed into the offseason is still possible.” - Cassidy

“I’ll go with a seven or eight here, mostly because I live in Louisville and it’s not hard to see the fans’ displeasure. The Cardinals’ fan base is one of the most passionate in the country and they know good basketball due to their history. They also know what they’re seeing is the worst product in their lifetime and it doesn’t look like there’s an end in sight this season. This season is a wash, but the Louisville staff has to knock the portal out of the park after missing on their top targets in the 2023 class. What makes me the most nervous is that the Cardinals struck out in the portal last off-season with an extreme abundance of playing time available on the wings. With the IARP ruling out of the way, the vision should be more clear with prospects they’re targeting. Payne and his staff will have to crush the portal and get a really good class in 2024 or this thing could go completely off the rails.” - Graf

—Louisville Report looks at the points of emphasis for tomorrow’s game.

—Eric Crawford recaps U of L’s winless trip to Maui.

—The From the Pink Seats podcast recaps the win over NC State and previews tomorrow’s rivalry game against Kentucky.

—Top 10 Huggins moment.

—Cincy on the Prowl recaps UC’s decisive win over Louisville in Maui.

—St. John Bosco and its four Cardinal commits will look to avenge its only loss of the season tonight at the Rose Bowl when it faces No. 1 Mater Dei for the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 championship.

—This is certainly encouraging.

—Cardinal Authority previews the Battle for the Governor’s Cup.

—Louisville isn’t dwelling on its recent past against Kentucky heading into Saturday’s game, which is probably a good thing.

—Dan McDonnell certainly knows what he’s doing.

—Matt McGavic is predicting a 21-17 Cardinal victory over the Cats.

—The Herald-Leader says there’s far more at stake than just bragging rights on both sides of this year’s rivalry game.

—They’re not even trying to hide it — or I guess literally, they are — anymore.

—Regardless of what the ACC Network would have you believe, Abdullah’s case to be the league’s Defensive Player of the Year is strong.

—The Crunch Zone plays stat comparison with Louisville and Kentucky.

—Jeremy Pruitt used a Chick-fil-A bag to give several hundred dollars to the parent of a Tennessee football player in late 2020, according to documents obtained Thursday by the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

—The Maui Cards fans were tremendous.

—Louisville Report goes behind enemy lines in preparation for the Kentucky game.

—The 70th annual Juice Bowl went down yesterday at Shawnee Park.

—Here’s the official UK preview of tomorrow’s game in Lexington.

—Greer family Thanksgiving was out of control.

—The Mike Rutherford Show is live from Oxmoor Ford from 3-6 this afternoon on 1450AM/96.1 FM. You can stream the show here.

—And finally, beat Kentucky.