—Spread check (football): Louisville by 2.
—”We won’t flinch” has been the mantra for this Louisville volleyball team all season long. They showcased it once again on Thursday night, and now they’re one win away from a national championship.
—You can check out the full U of L photo gallery from last night’s win over Pitt right here.
—Matt McGavic is predicting a 14-10 Cardinal victory in the Fenway Bowl.
—Purdue tight ends coach Ryan Wallace will join Jeff Brohm’s staff at Louisville. Wallace’s father, Kevin, is the head football coach at St. X. Scott Satterfield tried unsuccessfully to poach Ryan last offseason.
—Louisville’s Julie Kouijzer and Aimee Plumb have earned National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-America honors. Kouijzer was selected to the second team while Plumb was named to the third team. This marks the eighth straight year the Cardinals have placed at least two players on the NFHCA All-America teams.
—Brock Domann is always ready to be QB1, and Saturday will be no different.
“Yeah, a lot has been going on, but we’re all really excited, the guys that are coming back,” Domann said. “We feel like (Louisville athletic director) Josh Heird made the right decision (hiring Brohm).”
Now with one final game ahead, Taylor, Satterfield and quarterbacks coach Pete Thomas are all gone. Cunningham and Evans opted out of the bowl to prepare for the upcoming NFL draft, while Hudson’s upcoming absence is assumed to be the same, though no official reason has been given by Hudson nor Louisville.
Despite most of Louisville’s current coaching staff being made of graduate assistants and quality control analysts, Domann isn’t panicking. He expects to win Saturday’s game and get Louisville to eight wins for the second time in four seasons.
“The fact that Deion played in New England, and we’re going to Boston, and he’s our head coach, we want to bring back a win for him,” Domann said. “We want to bring back a win for this team. Winning eight games isn’t easy, so we want to accomplish that and we just want to get ourselves in the right direction going forward.”
—Bobby Petrino is headed to Las Vegas, where he’ll serve as the UNLV offensive coordinator under new head coach Barry Odom.
—Former Louisville assistant Ryan Beard has been named the new head coach at Missouri State.
—Cincinnati extended Wes Miller and used one of the funniest graphics I’ve seen this year to announce it.
—Louisville LB KJ Cloyd is the second Cardinal player to pull his name out of the transfer portal since Jeff Brohm was announced as the new head coach.
—Talked some college hoops on the BetQL Daily podcast on Wednesday morning.
—Bowl season starts today, and Mark Bergin gives you a reason to watch every single game.
Saturday, Dec. 17
Fenway Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Louisville (11 a.m., ESPN)
Fans will get to see Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, get converted into a football stadium.
In the Fenway Bowl, Deion Branch will coach Louisville and Kerry Coombs will coach Cincinnati.
Former Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell left to coach the Wisconsin Badgers.
Although new Cincinnati coach Scott Satterfield won’t coach either team in this game, I need a live camera on him throughout the duration of this game. Satterfield coached Louisville to a 24-25 record over four seasons, but accepted the Cincinnati job with the vacancy created by Fickell.
Satterfield announced his decision to leave Louisville a day after the Fenway Bowl matchup got announced. Not awkward at all.
—Bet Kentucky looks at what to expect as far as win total for the Louisville men’s basketball team the rest of the season.
—Louisville Report serves up a Fenway Bowl overview.
—The Cards spent some time at Fenway Park on Wednesday.
Exploring America’s Most Beloved Ballpark! pic.twitter.com/0SfTBzcI4L— Wasabi Fenway Bowl (@FenwayBowl) December 15, 2022
—Highlights from the men’s basketball team’s win over Western Kentucky can be found here.
—Highlights from the women’s team’s win over Bellarmine at Freedom Hall can be found here.
—Louisville Report looks at the points of emphasis between Louisville and Cincinnati.
—Jeff Greer discusses a meaningful first win for Kenny Payne in the latest installment of his U of L hoops newsletter.
I won’t spend this week’s newsletter, in the wake of that win, talking about Sam Vecenie’s comments on his Game Theory podcast (which I agreed with) or Jeff Borzello’s article diving into Louisville’s struggles. I’ve made my thoughts abundantly clear over the past few weeks, both in this newsletter and on my podcast, and I don’t think one win changes much in my thinking.
HOWEVA, kudos to Louisville. Sincerely. I know I have been sharply critical, probably more than anyone in this market, but that was the effort Payne wanted from his team. The confident performances around El Ellis pushed the Cards over the top. Kamari Lands and JJ Traynor, two guys who Payne has adamantly pushed to be more confident and play through mistakes, took very confident shots and made some big ones, including Lands squashing a WKU rally and Traynor’s late first-half 3. Sydney Curry(!) looked a lot closer to the player everyone thought he’d be this season, with the big dunk on 7-foot-5 Jamarion Sharp and some good work on the offensive glass.
The biggest emergence, from my seat, was the energy provided by Fabio Basili. His stat line — six points, one assist, one turnover, three fouls — is pretty meh, but his impact on the game was clear to anyone who watched it. And the importance of having him at least able to take the ball out of Ellis’s hands and/or spell him can’t be understated. We’ll all be watching closely to see if this can become a regular thing. But either way, Basili plays with energy and enthusiasm, and Louisville needs that.
—Jeff Brohm appeared on the Jim Rome Show earlier this week. Here’s a clip.
—Louis Orr, a Syracuse basketball legend who went on to play in the NBA and later coach at Seton Hall, died on Thursday at age 64.
—Former Louisville players discuss their excitement over the hiring of Jeff Brohm here.
—Claire Chaussee’s post match emotions might have been the best moment from last night.
"I just don't have any words for this."@clairechaussee9 is overcome with emotions after the match as she and @danib18 speak with @Katie_George05 after defeating Pitt in five sets.— NCAA Women's Volleyball (@NCAAVolleyball) December 16, 2022
—U of L goes behind the scenes of Jeff Brohm’s first day on the job in this video.
—Burnt Orange Nation shares thoughts on Texas volleyball’s 3-1 win over San Diego Thursday night. The Longhorns will face the Cards in a little over 24 hours.
—ESPN’s Jeff Borzello dove into Louisville’s struggles in its first season under Kenny Payne.
Roster construction and recruiting struggles aside, the Cardinals are flat-out not good on the court. They lost at home to Bellarmine, Wright State and Appalachian State to start the 2022-23 season, and have been completely noncompetitive in games against stiffer competition.
“We didn’t really have to do anything special,” one opposing coach said. “They played normal ball-screen coverage, they don’t really zone, they don’t really trap the post. You know what you’re getting.”
Defensively, they aren’t terrible, from a statistics point of view. But offense has been a nightmare.
Louisville ranks sub-300 nationally in 2-point percentage, 3-point percentage, assist rate, offensive rebounding percentage, and is in the bottom 10 nationally in turnover percentage. In other words, the Cards have trouble getting shots up due to their turnover issues.
When they do take shots, those aren’t going in. They getting second-chance opportunities, either.
Much of this stems from a lack of playmakers. Ellis is the team’s leading scorer, but he has minimal help in the creation department; he’s the only player averaging more than one assist per game. Jae’lyn Withers hasn’t been able to match his freshman season production, while Sydney Curry’s numbers have declined dramatically since last season. The newcomers have struggled to hit the ground running, too.
“You can’t really pinpoint just one problem,” one opposing coach said. “You can’t say, well, they just don’t offensive rebound. I mean, they don’t do that either, but they also need more skill, they also don’t have shooters. They’ve been noncompetitive.”
Yeah, but that was all before the mid-December tweak.
—Louisville native and former 5-star recruit Kiyaunta Goodwin is transferring from Kentucky.
—The NCAA has tapped Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker as its next president, succeeding the much-maligned Mark Emmert.
—Pat Forde writes that picking Baker is another pivot away from the career academicians and athletic administrators who led college sports for decades.
—Still might be the best GIF in U of L sports history.
—Evan Miyakawa uses data to try and fix Louisville basketball in this thread.
—Three-star tight end Dillon Hipp (2024) has been offered by new U of L tight ends coach Ryan Wallace.
—Kamari Lands got a pep talk from Allan Houston before Wednesday’s game against WKU, and he responded with his best performance as a Cardinal to date.
—DBK might be the best coach at U of L at the moment, which is saying something.
This interview says it all!! It starts with the best volleyball coach in the country. @danib18 sets the standard, her staff and players follow it up. @GoCards, your volleyball team is playing for a National Championship on Saturday night. Who’s coming to Omaha?@LouisvilleVB https://t.co/DFYsGft29D— Josh Heird (@joshheird) December 16, 2022
—A new episode of the Card Chronicle Podcast dropped yesterday.
—Dani Busboom Kelly, who was a star player at Nebraska in the mid-2000s, has a lot of support from Husker fans in Omaha this week.
—The AP previews Louisville vs. Florida A&M.
—Saadiq Clements says that it’s the character of Jeff Brohm and his coaches that convinced him to follow them from Purdue to Louisville.
“They just kept it real with me,” Clements said of the coaches. “They’re just good people.”
“I’m just glad that he found the connection with that staff,” Henderson County coach Josh Boston said. “Relationships are big, and he obviously built solid relationships with the staff when they were at Purdue throughout the recruiting process. It kind of made it an easy decision (of going to Louisville) once they were still interested in bringing him along.”
Although Clements was excited about playing for Purdue, it was Brohm who made him feel he belonged at the next level. Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 280 pounds, Clements runs a 4.7-second 40-yard-dash. He has size and speed. There’s a reason the three-star prospect was heavily recruited.
Yet, the time was finally right for Brohm to lead of his alma mater. He’s a Louisville native who played quarterback for the Cardinals from 1989-93. After compiling a 36-34 record in six seasons with Purdue, Brohm was announced as the Cardinals’ 24th head football coach last Thursday. It also has been reported Hagen will join Brohm’s staff following the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 2. Hagen has been with the Boilermakers since 2000.
There was uncertainty about how many coaches Brohm was taking to Louisville. But Hagen following seemed to be the icing on the cake for Clements’ decision.
“It’s really exciting,” he said. “I used to go to their games when I was (little) all the time. It’s kind of like a surreal experience.”
—Pittsburgh Sports Now recaps the Panthers’ 5-set loss to Louisville.
—UC interim coach Kerry Coombs is fired up for the Fenway Bowl.
Walked by the Louisville equipment truck to get my credential, and not only is there duct tape over Scott Satterfield’s signature, but Deion Branch’s signature is written on it. pic.twitter.com/Yd2C7SH0Wk— Matt McGavic (@Matt_McGavic) December 16, 2022
—Texas vs. Louisville features a classic matchup between one of the sport’s historical powers against a newcomer looking for its first national title.
—A very special Mike Rutherford Show this afternoon will feature both our own Keith Wynne and new head Louisville football coach Jeff Brohm. Listen live from 3-6 on 1450AM/96.1FM or streaming here.
—And finally, beat Cincinnati, beat FAMU, and then beat Texas.