For all intents and purposes, the fate of the current U of L men’s basketball season was decided before the calendar flipped to 2023.
With no league championship to chase and no Bracketology to mull over, Cardinal hoops fans have been forced to come up with other topics of discussion during the new year’s first two months. One of the primary focal points has been what the expectation for Kenny Payne’s second season at Louisville should be.
The conversation was doused in gasoline a few weeks ago when WDRB’s Rick Bozich wrote that getting back to .500 was a reasonable expectation for Payne’s second year. Some backed him up. Others, like myself, vehemently disagreed.
Appearing on 93.9 The Ville this morning, Cardinal athletic director Josh Heird appeared to agree with the latter contingent, saying that U of L can’t forget what the standard of the program is.
“I don’t think anybody expected us to be 3-23, but that’s where we’re at right now,” Heird said. “Nobody thinks that’s acceptable. Nobody thinks that .500 is acceptable. People expect to be competing for championships here, and that’s what we’re going to try to do, and Kenny’s going to have the resources to do that.”
Heird described the experience of going through this season — which has featured more losses than any of the 108 that preceded it — as “miserable.”
“Our fans feel it, Kenny feels it, I feel it, but we’re going to work really, really hard to get the talent in here. If the support staff isn’t what it needs to be or there’s a cog that’s missing, we’re going to correct that.
“I do have confidence that we’re gonna get there. As soon as I don’t have confidence, we’ll have conversations as to what we change or how we change it, but right now I have all the confidence in the world in Kenny. We’ve just got to get back to where our fans want us to be, and I think we will.”
Heird, who spent time at Villanova between his two stints at U of L, said that he couldn’t work anywhere where the standard was to just be ok or to “celebrate making the tournament.”
The AD gets it. Now we have to wait and see if the faith in his soon-to-be second-year head coach gets rewarded or was misplaced.