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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Taco is ready for some postseason Cardinal hoops this evening.

NET Rankings Update (women’s): No. 4.

NET Rankings Update (men’s): No. 134.

—Louisville Report’s Matt McGavic likes Virginia over the Cards by a bucket tomorrow afternoon.

—Bellarmine scored its first conference tournament win as a D-I member last night by taking down Dunk City, 81-68, in the Atlantic Sun quarterfinals.

Scotty D was a little choked up afterwards.

The Knights play at Liberty in the semifinals tomorrow.

—The U of L baseball team is hosting Chris Sabo and the Akron Zips for a three-game set this weekend. Here’s a preview.

—The CJ’s Cam Teague writes about Payton Verhulst’s confidence and growth.

—He also wrote this about Chelsie Hall’s impact on both ends of the floor.

—Greer’s latest newsletter is once again focused in on the U of L coaching search.

* On the one hand, we have several Louisville basketball insiders, both on Twitter and on message boards, saying in varying ways that the university is either close to, or already has agreed to, a deal with New York Knicks assistant and former Louisville standout Kenny Payne to be the next coach at Louisville.

What’s more, two university sources told me last week about an athletics department advisory to mark March 11 on their calendars for an event related to the men’s basketball program. That is the Friday of the ACC Tournament, when the semifinals will be played. With all due respect to the current team, I don’t think many people believe they’ll still be playing next Friday. (More on this nugget below.)

* On the other hand, we have my very best industry sources — people who have worked in the basketball world for years and years and know just about everyone on the college level — saying interim Louisville AD Josh Heird, who they have known for a while, would have to be deliberately misleading and lying to them if a hire has already been made because he is still calling around about coaches. Heird has spent the past five weeks sounding out a number of agents and industry contacts about possible coaching candidates.

This is where Baylor coach Scott Drew came up to me — and credit to my friend Bob Valvano at ESPN Louisville for being the first to mention that name — and it’s also where names like Mick Cronin and Eric Musselman surfaced. Cronin, one source said, is the most persistent non-Payne name in agent/collegiate athletics circles. He has told people around him in the past that Louisville is his dream job. Nevertheless, the buyout for any of these coaches will be a potentially disqualifying factor in Louisville’s process.

—The Athletic tells the untold stories of Coach K.

—Members of the U of L volleyball team are featured in the latest issue of Today’s Woman.

—Your complete guide to college basketball’s Championship Week is here.

—The ladies are ready for 6 p.m.

—The Louisville lacrosse team is hosting top-ranked Boston College on Saturday. Here’s a preview.

—The U of L women’s tennis team is hosting Notre Dame on Sunday.

—Louisville football’s incoming transfers have had a smooth transition thus far.

—Desmond Ridder is not slow.

—Jack Harlow will star as the “new Woody Harrellson” in the White Men Can’t Jump reboot.

—Louisville has offered three-star defensive end Deejay Holmes from Florida.

—Here’s what to know about the Miami team that Jeff Walz and company will be squaring off against this evening.

—Malik rules.

—The Kentucky Racing Commission has refused to delay Bob Baffert’s 90-day suspension.

—Congrats to former Cardinal Greg Scruggs on joining the coaching staff of the New York Jets.

—Charlie Strong has officially been named the new co-defensive coordinator at Miami.

—Scary story from up North, where Juli Boeheim was robbed at gunpoint in a parking lot earlier this week.

—Happy belated birthday to Denny Crum, who turned 85 on Wednesday.

—Eric Crawford was in the house for Crum’s birthday celebration at Roosters.

—Congrats to former Cardinal Becky Burke on being named the Big South Coach of the Year.

—After dropping a heartbreaker to Florida State last weekend, Virginia simply cannot afford to slip up against Louisville.

—UVA’s streak of eight consecutive NCAA tournament appearances is absolutely in jeopardy, but Cavalier players say they aren’t focused on that right now.

Bennett’s players insisted that’s not something they focus on.

“We don’t pay attention to that, for real,” said guard Armaan Franklin. “We try to go out and play every game, play hard, and let the chips fall where they may.”

Louisville, meanwhile, is playing out the string in a miserable season that saw it part with coach Chris Mack back in January. The Cardinals (12-17, 6-13) are wrapping up their first losing season since 2000-2001, Denny Crum’s final season there.

Mike Pegues, a former VCU staffer, has been the team’s interim coach since Mack’s tenure ended. Virginia has won 12 of the last 13 meetings against Louisville, including a 64-52 home win on Jan. 24, but Pegues doesn’t expect that to weigh on the minds of his players in this contest.

“I would hope not,” he said. “When we take the floor, I would hope that our guys will just be focused on finding a way to beat UVA this year. The history, a lot of those guys didn’t have anything to do with that, we have so many newcomers, anyway.”

—Brad Crawford of 247 Sports ranks Louisville-Kentucky as just the 10th most-heated rivalry in college sports.

—The Mike Rutherford Show will have our own Keith Wynne in studio to wrap up the week. Tune in from 3-6 on 1450AM/96.1FM or stream the show here.

—And finally, beat Miami.