—Louisville Report takes a closer look at Louisville’s ultra-deep stable of running backs.
—Awful news out of the UConn women’s basketball program, where superstar Paige Bueckers has suffered a torn ACL and will miss the entire 2022-23 season.
—Jeff Greer’s latest U of L hoops newsletter focuses on reasonable expectations for Kenny Payne’s first season.
OK, let’s start with the big-picture. We can all agree that Louisville, in theory, should be an NCAA Tournament team every season. The past five years have been painful for Cards fans for so many reasons, but at the very core of it, the regular absence of the team in the Big Dance has just felt wrong. And so it’s reasonable, in my view, for a Louisville fan to think anything less than a tournament appearance is a disappointing season.
But it takes work to get back to that point. In the near-term, the expectation should probably be something closer to, “Let’s just see this team improve over last season,” especially when you consider six of the nine current scholarship players played on last season’s not-very-good squad and Payne in the first chair for the first time. If the transfer portal/late spring recruiting haul was different, the expectations would be different. But it wasn’t so they aren’t. Use this season to figure out a style of play, a program identity. Find your reliable players. Build a culture in which players understand what’s expected of them and what it takes to win, and go from there. The same building process goes for the coaching staff, too, even if they all have experience winning elsewhere. That sets the table for the recruiting chops to kick in, though I know that is a whole other conversation for some worried Louisville fans right now.
The bottom line: Expect Louisville to frequently end up anywhere from 10th to 15th in preseason predictions by ACC and national media. Prepare for it. Anticipate it. Digest it. If we’re thinking about Louisville in the terms laid out above, and I think many, many fans and local media alike are, imagine what ACC and national folks see. I had more people than I anticipated message me with some disappointment about Jon Rothstein’s ACC preseason rankings, which had Louisville 14th. Yeah, to me, that’s low, but that’s not going to be the last time Louisville is pegged there. Get used to it for a few months. Then the games start.
All that is to say I picked Louisville 11th in the ACC. I never came close to thinking of the Cards in 14th or 15th. That’s because Georgia Tech seems to be a pretty clear 15th — yikes, the Yellow Jackets have a rough roster — and Clemson looks like it may not have star center PJ Hall for the foreseeable future with no timetable for his return after his knee cap “slid out of place.” (Ouch.) Without him, the Tigers have the second-worst roster in the league.
—ESPN has an interesting look at why college football in the Northeast has fallen off the face of the earth.
—The silent auction being held by Damion Lee’s foundation is now underway. There are tons of pretty awesome items up for bidding.
—Kentucky-Gonzaga not happening at The Kennel next season is lame.
UPDATE: Kentucky coach John Calipari has confirmed on Twitter that he's unwilling to play Gonzaga at The Kennel. So the 11/20 game against the Zags will be played off-campus in downtown Spokane. https://t.co/B2ZPKe9fGC— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) August 4, 2022
Calipari is 4-10 in true road non-conference games over the last decade.
—Cardinal Sports Zone previews the 2022 Louisville secondary.
—Caleb Chandler is one of the five best (video) returning offensive linemen in the ACC this season.
—USA Today names Scott Satterfield as one of 10 Power Five conference coaches who really need a strong first month to their 2022 season.
3. Scott Satterfield, Louisville
Though perhaps not as publicized as the situations at Auburn or Nebraska, Satterfield occupies one of the hottest seats in the Power Five entering his fourth season in 2022.
Since a solid 8-5 campaign in Year 1, he hasn’t done much to ingratiate himself with the fan base, from not-so-privately flirting with the South Carolina job last offseason to registering back-to-back losing seasons in 2020 and 2021.
Satterfield is a good coach as evidenced by his skillful guidance during Appalachian State’s transition to the FBS, which saw the Mountaineers immediately become one of the top programs in the Group of Five. But Louisville is a very different job.
The Cardinals have proven in the past they can be among the top class of the ACC, but they’ve recently been passed in the conference by the likes of Pittsburgh, North Carolina State and Wake Forest. Satterfield needs an impressive turnaround to feel good about his position heading into 2023.
—Louisville is one of the many schools that has reached out to class of 2023 point guard Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn after he decommitted from Purdue on Wednesday. Gibbs-Lawhorn is the No. 48 overall prospect in the 2023 class according to the 247 Sports composite rankings.
—More like OnPee, imo.
The ranking disparity between services is pretty wild to see so consistently different for one teams set of commits. pic.twitter.com/2cZvmEs0HU— Louisville Sports Updates (@502Sportscenter) August 3, 2022
—Marshon Ford lands at No. 6 on Cardinal Authority’s countdown of the 50 most important Louisville football players for the 2022 season.
—MoMo Sanogo and Trevion Cooley spoke with the media after Wednesday’s first practice of fall camp.
—Good stuff last night from Kenny Payne and the Cards.
I’m so proud of our team tonight. They stepped up, answered all of your phone calls & raised much needed funds to help those impacted by the flooding in Eastern Kentucky.— Kenny Payne (@coachkennypayne) August 3, 2022
You can continue to donate online at: https://t.co/rWMk3f2GR6 pic.twitter.com/B8LnmtRYwJ
—A trio of Cardinal divers are heading to the USA Diving U.S. Open Championships August 4-7 in Midland, Texas.
—We’re up to now 49 former Louisville baseball players in the MLB or MiLB.
—MoMo should be a fan favorite this fall.
Cool quote for the day: After practice, Louisville LB Momo Sanogo was asked what his ‘why’ is. Here’s what he said pic.twitter.com/tyxTCFzyTs— Alexis Cubit (@Alexis_Cubit) August 3, 2022
—Louisville needed to find just the right guy to replace C.J. Avery at linebacker, and it looks like they found him in Sanogo.
—The fall schedule for the U of L men’s tennis team is out.
—Terry was so good.
—If you didn’t already know, the newest member of the U of L men’s basketball staff has direct ties to Jay-Z.
—In its preseason bowl projections, The Sporting News has Louisville taking on Purdue in what would be a very juicy Pinstripe Bowl.
—And finally, after a midweek break due to a Bats doubleheader, the Mike Rutherford Show returns from 3-5:30 this afternoon on 1450AM/96.1FM. You can stream the show here.