—Spread check (Holiday Bowl): Louisville by 7.5.
—Congrats to Ashton Gillotte and Jawhar Jordan on being named All-Americans by Phil Steele.
—The Lexington Herald-Leader says there was something missing from Kentucky’s dominating win over Louisville.
—Gary Parrish says letting Kenny Payne ride this thing out is a mistake by U of L.
Will Payne get a third shot at UK next season?
That seems doubtful.
But it was interesting to hear Louisville athletic director Josh Heird announce Friday morning that Payne will continue as the Cardinals’ coach as they “move into the new year.” That suggests Payne will at least be on the sideline when Louisville visits Virginia in 12 days.
Respectfully, I think it’s a mistake.
But what would be the point of removing Payne now?
I’ve heard some ask that question in recent days, which feels like a silly question, if only because the answer seems obvious. The point of moving on from Payne now would be so that people like me would stop writing and talking about it, so that fans would stop wondering about it, so that the focus could be on the future instead of the dreadful present. Every single time Louisville loses, Kenny Payne is trending on X, formerly known as Twitter. Every. Single. Time.
We led Friday morning’s episode of the Eye On College Basketball podcast with Kentucky-Louisville, and the cover of the YouTube page was a big picture of Payne. Neither of those things would’ve happened if Louisville were operating with an interim coach because nothing that happens with an interim coach is ever worthy of national headlines unless it’s something surprisingly good.
Louisville would be wise to recognize as much.
Every day Payne remains at Louisville is a day somebody will be compelled to point out that he’s 9-35 as his alma mater’s coach — 8-14 against sub-100 teams at KenPom.com, just 1-21 against top-100 teams at KenPom.com.
It’s unbelievably bad.
The idea that a top-10 program of all-time could sink to this level — Louisville finished 290th at KenPom last season and is 185th right now — was truly unimaginable before Payne sank it to this level. And the best way to get people all over the country to stop focusing on that would be for Louisville to agree to pay Payne every penny it owes him, generously remove him from this tour of humiliation, name an interim coach and let all of the attention turn away from this disastrous two-season experiment and instead toward what has to happen next for this once-proud program to return to its usual elite place in the sport.
For now, Louisville remains hesitant to do that.
Respectfully, I think it’s a mistake.
—Isaac Trotter of 247 Sports says that even though Kenny Payne is staying at Louisville, sweeping changes still need to be made.
—The only thing less shocking than the final score last night was John Calipari’s vehement defense of Kenny Payne in the postgame presser.
—U of L volleyball star Anna DeBeer is coming back for one more season.
—Kenny Payne believes the gap is closing between Louisville and Kentucky.
—The failure of the Louisville men’s basketball program over the last three seasons is crushing downtown.
—Some of the New England Patriot assistant coaches secretly thought Malik Cunningham deserved a shot to be the team’s quarterback this season.
“I think when you think about just how much support there was for him, and all we heard about Malik Cunningham after the fact, I do think there was real, genuine love for the guy’s skill set here,” Perry said. “Based on, basically, what they saw from him in practice.
“I will tell you this: I heard from coaches after the Saints game. So, two blowouts in a row, bad quarterback play. And I had coaches say to me, ‘We might as well try Malik at this point. What do we have to lose?’ And so, that may have been reflective of a greater portion of the locker room than maybe I was willing to give credit to at the time.”
Ultimately, the Patriots have decided to stick with Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe in a decision that could wind up costing head coach Bill Belichick and all of his staff members their jobs.
—ESPN ranks the 25 best women’s college basketball players right now. No Cardinal players make the list, and neither does former Cardinal Hailey Van Lith.
—The talent gap between Kentucky and Louisville was on full display Thursday night.
—Florida State filed 38-page complaint suit against the ACC on Friday, accusing the league of restraint of trade, breach of contract and challenging the legality of its withdrawal penalties. Brett McMurphy covers what this means for FSU and its current home.
—Italy loves Russ.
got a write up in a major Italy sports publication…— Russ Smith The Specter ️ (@TheRussdiculous) December 22, 2023
they are basically saying im a preternatural-scorer & have been everywhere I’ve been given a “legit” opportunity to do so…
if anyone who knows Italian would like to translate further, you are more than welcome…
—A pair of Wildcats and the team as a whole all set rivalry records in Kentucky’s win over Louisville.
—The LHL has five things you need to know about Kentucky’s latest romp over Louisville.
—Not last, baby.
Most points allowed through the first 12 games of the season by a P5 school this year:— CbyC (@TheBestWager) December 22, 2023
1. Michigan (941)
2. Iowa (930)
3. Louisville (905)
Only one Louisville team has allowed over 900 points since at least 2008 in its first 12 games:
Only two Louisville teams…
—Ken Pom Update: No. 185 (Down 13).
—NET Rankings Update: No. 266 (Up 1!).
—The Mike Rutherford Show will wrap up the week and get you ready for the holiday weekend ahead from 3-6 on 1450 The Big X. I’ll share what I know (or at least what I can share) about the last 72 hours. You can stream the show here.