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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

The Louisville presence in Miami (don’t overlook the Sam Madison jersey here) remains strong.

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NET Rankings Update (women’s): No. 4.

NET Rankings Update (men’s): No. 121.

—Here’s the U of L recap of the women’s basketball team’s Thursday road win over Pitt.

—Highlights are here.

—David Johnson drilled a G-League game-winner Wednesday night.

—Our own Rachel Brand is the guest on the latest episode of the Off the Walz podcast.

—The Athletic has a good look at all the coaches in college basketball who appear to be either on the verge of getting fired or on the verge of getting a better gig. Here’s what they had to say about Kenny Payne:

Kenny Payne, assistant coach, New York Knicks. When Louisville and Chris Mack parted ways on Jan. 26, Payne’s name was immediately floated as a likely replacement. Four weeks later, he remains the favorite to land the job, not least because Louisville has never had a Black men’s basketball coach. Payne was a sophomore forward on the Cardinals’ 1986 NCAA championship team. After playing professionally for the Philadelphia 76ers and overseas, he became an assistant at Oregon and then worked for 10 years under John Calipari at Kentucky. Payne left in 2020 to join the Knicks, and though he could have been a candidate at DePaul last year, he was not interested in pursuing the job. If ever there were a college head job Payne would want, it would be at his alma mater, and there is no shortage of internal support from boosters and former players to make that happen. But multiple industry sources wonder aloud if Payne even wants the job.

So this week we’ve had a report that there are doubts about Payne from some of the “university leadership” at Louisville, and now a report that Payne may have his own doubts about taking the job. Not sure if this is genuine or just a cat and mouse game, but it’s starting to sound at least a little bit like Payne’s situation with the open DePaul job last March.

—U of L’s annual “raiseRED” dance marathon for cancer research begins today.

—Louisville commit Kaleb Glenn is the 7th Region Boys Player of the Year.

—All I see are five Cardinal victories.

—The Louisville baseball team returns to action this afternoon for the first of a three-game home set against Dartmouth. Here’s a preview of the weekend.

—Waggener High School history teacher Rob Hammond is losing the fight for his life, so now he’s fighting for his family. Help the Hammonds out if you have the means.

—Jeff Greer has more coaching search stuff in his latest newsletter.

As of this week, interim Louisville athletics director Josh Heird was still working the phones as the search firm continued its work. However, in conversations with university sources as well as industry sources, there is concern forming about the complicated politics of the search.

Driving this concern: Is Heird landing the permanent AD job at Louisville contingent on hiring Kenny Payne, the popular choice among former players and many fans? There are very powerful voices pushing for Payne, some of whom have a say in the AD selection process. The pressure to hire him is immense. Do those voices overly influence Heird’s ability to conduct a thorough, wide-ranging search to find the absolute best candidate?

Several people in contact with Heird say he is doing his due diligence and, one source said, is “determined to do what’s best for the university,” even with the sticky politics involved. Whether Heird ultimately believes that hiring Payne is what’s best for the university is the question that matters most. There are rumblings of some reservations about Payne among university leadership, but those can always be assuaged.


We’ve talked about this before: The need for that convincing may require Payne and other potential candidates to discuss the job without assurances that they’re the top choice. No assurances before an interview could deter candidates who don’t want their interest known until the job is theirs to lose. That could impact, for example, being able to potentially negotiate down Mick Cronin’s buyout that drops to $5.9 million plus tax on April 1. Or, in Payne’s case, no assurances could bring up the bad memories of the 2018 coaching search, when Payne reportedly felt “used” by Vince Tyra, who called Payne well after it was clear Chris Mack was the pick for the job.

The bottom line is, the politics of the situation put Heird in a very difficult position. He has sounded out agents and he has plenty of work ahead, plus he has the assistance of the search firm. But he is doing all of that well aware of the significant pressure from former players and some heavy hitters in the university community to hire one coach in particular — or potentially lose a lot of vital support.

—The U of L softball team is on the road this weekend for the Arkansas Wooo Pig Classic.

—Kentucky appears destined to be one of the final four states without medical marijuana.

—Murray State is one win away from running the table in the OVC after a 76-43 thrashing of a very good Belmont team Thursday night.

—I’m glad I’m not the only one whose brain works like this.

—The Louisville men’s tennis team is facing off against Xavier and Indiana this weekend.

—San Francisco 49ers QB coach Rich Scangarello is reportedly going to be the new offensive coordinator at Kentucky.

—The Russian athletes who have done things like this over the last 48 hours have some extremely admirable courage.

—Yahoo’s Jeff Eisenberg writes about the American basketball players who fled Ukraine just in time, and those who are now stranded in a war zone.

—The Louisville lacrosse team opens ACC play with a home game against Virginia Tech on Saturday.

—Dicky V makes his thoughts on the Louisville coaching search known.

—Louisville Report’s Matt McGavic picks Wake Forest over the Cards by 9 tomorrow.

—Good Washington Post story here on how former Louisville pitcher Josh Rogers became a Washington Nationals fan favorite.

—Eight Louisville volleyball players are headed to the tryouts for the USA Women’s National Team.

—The two teams at the top of this list are both on Louisville’s 2022 schedule.

—Jay Bilas says college basketball has become a “clutch and grab” game, much like the NBA was in the ‘90s.

—Good read here on Dan Monson, who left Gonzaga after their first tournament run to the Elite 8 in 1999, but has no regrets about the move everyone else has labeled a mistake.

—The owners need more money though.

—Super Bowl winning QB Doug Williams says he’s done with Grambling State after his alma mater chose to hire disgraced former Baylor head coach Art Briles.

—Pettiness continues to plague (Athletic link) the potential expansion of the College Football Playoff.

—This is actually very cool.

—Louisville remains one of the “main schools involved” with top shooting guard recruit Jared McCain.

—The Louisville women’s team’s win over Pitt last night means the Cards will be the No. 2 seed for next week’s ACC tournament. U of L can still share the ACC regular season title with NC State if the Wolfpack lose to Virginia Tech and the Cards take care of Notre Dame on Sunday.

—It appears the Champions Classic will not be played on college basketball’s opening night next season.

—Cool move by Andy Reid to let Sam Madison return to Miami.

—U of L has offered DeMatha (MD) safety Tawfiq Byard (2023).

—Here’s the AP preview for Louisville vs. Wake Forest.

—Cardinal Authority projects Louisville football’s spring depth chart.

—Friday Irrelevance, double helping:

—Druw Jones, the son of former Braves center fielder Andruw Jones, is the No. 1 MLB draft prospect in America according to ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel. Three of the top 13 prospects, including Jones, are Vanderbilt commits. Louisville SS commit Gavin Kilen is No. 25.

—A “wild ride” is coming to an end for Bellarmine’s senior class, which helped the Knights knock off Lipscomb Wednesday evening. BU has already locked up a first round bye for next week’s Atlantic Sun tournament.

—ESPN’s Jeff Borzello takes his own look around the upcoming college basketball coaching carousel. Here’s what he had to say about Louisville:


After a tumultuous few weeks, Chris Mack and the Cardinals parted ways in January, leaving Mike Pegues in charge for the remainder of the season. After links to Bruce Pearl resulted in the Auburn coach becoming one of the highest-paid coaches in the sport, the real first name that emerged as the favorite for the job was New York Knicks assistant Kenny Payne, a U of L alumnus who spent a decade at Kentucky as an assistant coach under Calipari. There were even some rumors that a deal could be done sooner rather than later, but those have quieted in recent days. Though most of the buzz still centers around Payne as the likely favorite, the school did hire a search firm and is still exploring options. The one wild card in all this is UCLA’s Cronin, who is from Cincinnati and spent two years at Louisville under Pitino. If he’s interested, and it’s unclear whether he is, he would appear to be a no-brainer hire. For what it’s worth, interim AD Josh Heird went on plugged-in Louisville writer Jeff Greer’s podcast earlier this month and said that he would ideally like to have his coach in place not long after the end of Louisville’s season.

—One of the agents involved in the FBI’s probe into college basketball has plead guilty to gambling $13,500 of government funds on blackjack in Las Vegas.

—A four-year team manager stole the show on Silver Creek High School’s senior night earlier this week.

—The adidas March Madness uniform reveal never disappoints.

—Louisville Report has five big questions heading into U of L’s spring practice.

—The CJ engages in the same exercise.

—The Winston-Salem Journal previews tomorrow’s game between the Cards and Demon Deacons.

—The Mike Rutherford Show wraps up the week this afternoon from 3-6 on 1450AM/96.1FM. You can stream the show here.

—And finally, beat Wake Forest and beat Notre Dame.