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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Victoria is beyond pumped after the weekend U of L just had.

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—Louisville’s Jared Poland is the ACC Pitcher of the Week.

—Here’s the U of L recap of the women’s basketball team’s second round triumph over Gonzaga.

—ESPN ranks the 25 best players in the women’s Sweet 16, and two Cards make the list.

9. Hailey Van Lith, Louisville Cardinals

Guard | 5-foot-7 | sophomore

Previous ranking: 18

Van Lith earned her way onto the pre-NCAA tournament list because of her standout play toward the end of the regular season, and she has carried that over to help the Cardinals make the Sweet 16. The guard registered a pair of 20-plus-point performances versus Albany and Gonzaga — both team highs — on 50% shooting from 3, the sort of offensive productivity Louisville will need if it wants to make its first Final Four since 2018. — Philippou

...

15. Emily Engstler, Louisville Cardinals

Forward | 6-foot-1 | senior

Previous ranking: 16

Her versatility is a key to Louisville’s success. Engstler’s shooting was off (3-of-13) in Sunday’s win over Gonzaga, but she still had a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds), plus five steals and two blocks. — Creme

—The Cards jumped from unranked to No. 15 in the latest Baseball America top 25 poll.

—Louisville football recruiting coordinator Eron Hodges is off to become a position coach at TCU, but he had some kind words for Scott Satterfield on his way out.

—Mike Pegues is “in the mix” for the head coaching job at George Washington.

—The Athletic’s Fred Katz writes about the reaction to Kenny Payne leaving from within the Knicks organization.

Yet, even with all of his close ties to Louisville, it’s not like Payne just got on a plane and bounced to the Cardinals without saying goodbye. This wouldn’t be a love story without more heartbreak.

“Over the last few days, (Knicks executive VP) William Wesley and (team president) Leon Rose and myself cried six, seven times a day for me to get out of there to come here,” Payne told reporters at his introductory news conference Friday. “So, this was not an easy deal for me to just walk in here.”

Randle, Wesley and Rose aren’t the only Knicks who look at Payne this way. Immanuel Quickley played for Payne at Kentucky, as well. Quickley doesn’t refer to him as coach, either.

“I call him ‘Pops’ because he’s like another father to me,” Quickley said.

The two have known each other for half a decade, “and I love him to death,” Quickley adds.

The most impressive part of it all? Payne may have turned at least one Kentucky loyalist into a Louisville recruiter.

“KP, man, that dude is incredible, bro, and he’s gonna have a tremendous amount of success over there at Louisville, even though it’s the red school,” Randle said. “I still bleed blue, but I love that man to death, bro, and I’m gonna do whatever I can to help him have success because when you talk about somebody that deserves it, it’s him.”

—Pickswise ranks the 10 best NCAA tournament buzzer-beaters of all-time.

—The Athletic’s Kyle Tucker writes that John Calipari is the biggest reason why Kentucky hasn’t won an NCAA tournament game since 2019.

—Tickets are now available for the Louisville-Kentucky softball game, which will be played on April 6.

—Top 5 story teaser of 2022 so far.

—The CJ looks at which current U of L men’s basketball players Kenny Payne might be able to convince to stay/choose to keep.

—Russ Smith says Kenny Payne has “all the answers” for Louisville basketball.

—Alex Kirshner writes about the problem with being John Calipari right now.

So, what does Calipari do now? The reality is that he can’t get anyone he wants. Good players do sometimes pick non-Kentucky schools, even when Kentucky wants them. Gonzaga, once an adorable March Madness Cinderella, has recently developed a habit of luring the world’s best pre-professional basketball players to Spokane, Washington. If Calipari is now trying to create balanced rosters with young phenoms and experienced transfers, the Bulldogs’ Mark Few (who, admittedly, has yet to win a title himself) has a track record of doing it better more recently.

And at this stage, Calipari doesn’t just have the sport’s national powers to deal with. When he arrived in the SEC, most of his new opponents didn’t take the sport all that seriously, at least compared to football. In his first year, the league was fifth in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted efficiency margin. In 2022, it was second, and the league’s best teams spent the entire season beating each other up. Alabama’s building a basketball arena! Auburn’s highest-paid coach in any sport is Bruce Pearl. A basketball coach! The days of Kentucky waltzing through the league year after year are never coming back. And Calipari is also increasingly getting squeezed on the other end of the basketball ladder, as the NBA’s G-League and other professional opportunities make his one-and-done route less attractive as a way station for the NBA.

No one should feel bad for Calipari. He chose to be one of the richest guys in the grease factory that is college basketball. He courted the expectations that come with sitting in Rupp’s seat, in the heart of a state that takes this sport as seriously as bourbon and horse racing. He chose to portray Kentucky as a destination unlike any other, and then he made that vision a reality. He earns whatever criticism comes when he loses, whether to Kansas or Saint Peter’s. Calipari’s job is to coach basketball, but he’s a politician, too. And at some point—probably not now, but also not never—the voters stop caring about what you did in 2012.

—Add Ellis Myles to the list of former Cards who approve of the Kenny Payne hire.

—Former Card Geron Christian has signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.

—Sounds like Kamari Lands is still all in.

—Matt Mcmahon is leaving Murray State to become the new head men’s basketball coach at LSU.

—The Athletic talks to an officials coordinator about the biggest missed calls of the men’s tournament’s opening weekend.

—Awesome video recap here of a huge weekend for the Louisville baseball team.

—The Slipper Still Fits recaps Gonzaga’s Sunday loss to the Cards.

—The U of L softball team dropped 2 of 3 to Georgia Tech over the weekend.

—Top 10 seems good.

—Dre Davis came away impressed after his first meeting with Kenny Payne, but says he still has a decision to make.

—The U of L men’s tennis team battled back to pull off a 4-3 win over Florida State on Sunday.

—Kaleb Glenn and Kenny Payne seem to have gotten off on the right foot.

—Former U of L assistant Kevin Willard is officially the new head men’s basketball coach at Maryland. Everyone in the world expects Saint Peter’s head coach Shaheen Holloway to take Willard’s old job at Seton Hall.

—Pegasus Pins are now on sale across Louisville.

—First pitch for Louisville’s Tuesday “Bark at the Park” game against Lipscomb has been moved to 4 p.m.

—The U of L women’s team will face Tennessee in the Sweet 16 after the Vols staved off an upset bid by Belmont Monday night.

—The CJ looks at the teams remaining in the Wichita Region and breaks down Louisville’s chances of making its first Final Four since 2018.

—Whoops.

—Louisville has reached out to class of 2022 hoops prospect Tyrell Ward, who recently decommitted from Xavier.

—Courts have denied Bob Baffert’s request to delay his suspension while he appeals it.

—Love all the old KP footage that has been unearthed in recent days.

—You can keep up with all of the college basketball coaching carousel madness here.

—Major props to the U of L women’s swim and dive team on finishing sixth at the NCAA Championships.

—Not sure the implication here from Jeff Walz could be any more clear.

—Eric Crawford writes about the next steps for the Louisville women’s basketball team on their quest for a Final Four berth.

—And finally, the Mike Rutherford Show is back this afternoon from 3-6 on 1450/96.1 The Big X. You can stream the show here.