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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

My guy Hudson threw the L up on his way into school every day of 2021-22, so you knew he had to do it on his last day of the year.

—With Kenny Payne at the helm, season ticket sales for Louisville men’s basketball are already looking up compared to last year.

—UConn, Indiana, Texas, and Louisville will reportedly headline the 2023 Empire Classic.

—You can watch Milt Wagner’s introductory press conference from Tuesday here.

—The CJ’s Brett Dawson looks at how the hiring of Wagner impacts the high-profile recruitment of his high-profile grandson.

—The “Week of Whitehead.”

—D.J. Wagner is no longer the No. 1 recruit in the 2023 class after 247 Sports’ latest rankings update.

—Here’s an updated look at the early season tournament schedule for the 2022-23 men’s college basketball season.

—The latest episode of the 3rd & Central podcast talks ACC tournament and looks at the Cards’ chances to make a deep run in the big dance.

—Congrats to Mason Faulkner on being named an assistant coach at Campbellsville University.

—In his latest newsletter, Greer admits I was right and I am always right. That’s how I read it at least.

Friend of the newsletter/my personal mortal enemy Mike Rutherford said something to the effect of “you’re an idiot” when I suggested that perhaps the Louisville-Kentucky rivalry series would continue on its location rotation as if the 2021 game happened at UK despite it actually being canceled. I wondered if Louisville would just host in 2022 and Kentucky in 2023 as contractually obligated. Alas, Mike was correct. Sounds like Louisville-Kentucky is set for Dec. 31 at Rupp Arena, per Jon Rothstein.

(1) I think playing in Lexington is fair after last season’s cancelation. (2) Playing this game on Dec. 31 in the age of the College Football Playoff is extremely stupid, though at least it’s very likely to be an early afternoon game because (a) the rivalry games at Rupp are typically in the early afternoon because that’s when CBS plays college hoops and (b) CBS has no interest in competing with college football’s biggest games. That means UK-U of L should probably tip no later than 1. But all of this is silly: Just play the game another day.

Speaking of rivalry games, I absolutely, positively love the prospect of Louisville-Indiana and Louisville-Memphis possibly coming back. IU coach Mike Woodson mentioned the potential return of the series in 2023, while Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said he inquired about a game with Kenny Payne. I am a proponent of fun, challenging schedules, putting me at direct odds with Jim Boeheim, and I really do love the idea of getting a bunch of Louisville’s rivals in the mix for future schedules. Someone call Cincinnati.

—Starting in the 2022-23 academic year, the Red & Black Scholar Rewards program will provide U of L student-athletes with education related financial awards. More details here.

—Brett Dawson looks at what U of L is getting from the $90,000 its spending on a search firm to help with its athletic director search.

—467 U of L athletes made the honor roll for the spring semester.

—You can save 25% on a purchase of Shady Ray’s sunglasses by using the promo code “bigx” at checkout.

—Pretty nuts.

Madden Sanker and Pierce Clarkson are both thinking Louisville should go 5-for-5.

—The U of L track and field team returns to Bloomington this week for the 2022 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field East Preliminary Rounds at Indiana’s Robert C. Haugh Complex from May 25-28.

—Louisville football has updated its 2022 roster and for what it’s worth, Devaughn Mortimer, the 4-star wide receiver the Cards flipped from Florida State on signing day, is on it.

—The hiring of Milt Wagner and the recruitment of his grandson is the major topic of discussion on the latest CBS Sports Eye on College Basketball podcast.

—Pierce Clarkson is recruiting DeAndre Moore harder than any staff in America.

—Dez Fitzpatrick knows he’s not there yet, but he’s been working at it during a year of growth.

—U of L is planning to build a new downtown campus after landing a massive gift to revitalize two buildings on W. Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

—Louisville is tied with Vandy as the 7th choice to win the College World Series over at BetOnline.

—The CJ has the details for this year’s State Fair.

—CBS has announced the kickoff times for several of the biggest games of the 2022 college football season.

—The latest Cardinal Sports Zone podcast episode is here.

—It certainly sounds as though the Louisville-Indiana rivalry series will be returning sooner rather than later.

—The big key to success for JJ Traynor this season might be getting in the best shape of his life.

—Athlon’s latest early top 25 rankings for the 2022 college football season have five of Louisville’s 12 opponents ranked in the top 23:

No. 4 - Clemson

No. 12 - NC State

No. 16 - Wake Forest

No. 21 - Kentucky

No. 23 - Pittsburgh

—Highlights from Wednesday’s ACC tournament loss to Pitt can be found here.

—Four-star OL Luke Burgess has announced a top three of Florida State, North Carolina and Louisville.

Regarding Florida State: “One of my favorite parts about the Seminoles is Coach Atkins the O-line coach. I think Coach Atkins is a very knowledgeable coach and one of the best O-line coaches in the country. Also the Florida State program and how historical they are is of big importance to me as well as the education, as well as it being a different scenery from home.”

Regarding Louisville: “I think Louisville has an amazing and genuine coaching staff. I can really see myself playing and being successful there. And I also love the city.”

Regarding North Carolina: “I think one of my favorite parts of North Carolina is Coach Bicknell along with Coach Mack Brown. I think they are amazing people as well as good coaches. I also believe Coach Brown’s pedigree is also very important to me and how stable they are at North Carolina. Another reason I love UNC is Coach Bicknell’s experience in the NFL and top college programs is very attractive to me.”

Burgess is the No. 30 offensive tackle in the class of 2023 according to 247 Sports.

—On3 makes its predictions for who will win each major individual award at the end of the upcoming college football season.

—Kenny Payne wants a scholarship offer to Louisville to “mean something.”

—The Boston College SI site gives the Eagles a 55% chance of beating Louisville this season.

—And finally, the Mike Rutherford Show rolls from 3-6 on 1450 The Big X. You can stream the show here.