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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

You’re guaranteed to go the distance when your first date was the night of the 2013 national championship.

—Louisville and Georgia Tech will square off in a potential “battle for the bottom” of the ACC Saturday afternoon.

—Highlights from the U of L women’s basketball team’s win over Miami are here.

—The Cardinal baseball team kicks off a three-game set against Bowling Green today at 3 p.m. Here’s a preview.

—ESPN’s Jeff Borzello has a massive preview of the college basketball coaching carousel season ahead. It includes words on Louisville, Chris Mack and Rick Pitino.

One more year?

Louisville Cardinals

Kenny Payne has been the head coach of the Cardinals for less than one season, but it’s been a disaster. They dropped to 4-24 overall in Monday’s road loss at Duke and sit in last place in the ACC at 2-14. The team has actually looked better over the past few weeks, but the Cardinals were entirely noncompetitive for long stretches. He’s not going to be fired after one year, but strides need to be made next season.


Rick Pitino, Iona Gaels: Arguably the best college basketball coach of his generation, Pitino has won one regular-season title and one conference title in his two years at Iona — and has the Gaels in position for a second straight regular-season championship. He likely has one more shot at a big job, and it’s conceivable Georgetown, UCF, Arizona State and St. John’s could all look at him. For my money, Georgetown is the likeliest option.


Chris Mack: Mack clearly has the résumé to get back in the mix for jobs: four Sweet 16 appearances, one Elite Eight run in 2017, nine NCAA tournaments in his first 10 seasons as a head coach. But he could also opt to sit out this cycle. Midway through a down 2021-22 campaign at Louisville, Mack stepped down as the head coach.

—The Dan McDonnell Radio Show will debut on Monday.

—The 23rd-ranked U of L men’s tennis team will host Belmont Saturday afternoon.

—ESPN’s college football staff discusses the team, player, transfer and coach with the most to prove in the 2023 season.

—Jordan Nwora spent some time with his old coach Thursday night.

—The 23rd-ranked Cardinal lacrosse team opens up ACC play at No. 12 Virginia on Saturday afternoon.

—The family of Jamea Harris is hurting after the bungled press conference answer from Nate Oats earlier this week.

—New Georgia Tech head coach Brent Key says (video) toughness will be the theme that he centers the program around. Key’s first game as head coach of the Yellow Jackets will come against Louisville next fall.

—First timers are never disappointed.

—What’s better than a win? A win and a snow day.

—The State of Louisville begins its Cardinal basketball “roster watch” for next season.

—Jeff Greer is answering reader questions in his latest U of L hoops newsletter.

It’s my opinion that Kenny Payne has to drastically change his staff. But how do you quantify that? Like, I can’t sit here and say he needs to fire this specific guy or that. Or all three. I don’t know the dynamics like I knew the previous staffs because this group is so secretive. What I do know is that your direct question is about something I tend to agree with: I don’t know if Payne has to hire a former head coach per se, but I do think he needs to find at least one assistant who is a bit more of a disciplinarian and tactician. This Louisville team needs tactical and fundamental help, and while there has finally seemed to be at least marginal progress from the group over the past few weeks, the Cards have never looked like a team with much of a strategic plan. I also think if Payne is going to be the love-em-up good cop, he needs a bad cop — or he needs to be OK with being one sometimes.

I don’t have any reporting right now on this subject; just sources who hope some things will change without ever saying exactly what (other than wanting more NIL enhancements). There’s a lot of money tied in the contracts for the staff — $1.35 million on the three assistants. But I’d argue Louisville cannot afford to just keep things as they are. If I’m Josh Heird, and I’m in a spot where I can’t move on a head coach who’s an alum and has a $10 million buyout I can’t afford, the next-best move is to strongly encourage that coach makes some significant changes. The win and recent close losses don’t do enough to distract from the season as a whole. Use NIL to your advantage. Drastically overhaul the roster. Find a coaching staff that can deliver a message and build a team.

—Rick Bozich writes that not finishing last, winning on senior day and winning a game in the ACC tournament are three goals that Kenny Payne can still achieve in his debut season.

—Dairy Kastle will reopen for the 2023 season on March 7.

—Someone on FAU’s social team needs a raise.

—Louisville Report’s Matt McGavic predicts a 71-70 win for Louisville in Atlanta tomorrow afternoon.

—Tony Kornheiser thinks Rick Pitino should go to Notre Dame.

—Arizona DE Noah Carter can’t wait to visit Louisville.

—Friday Irrelevance:

—State of Louisville wonders what can be done about Louisville basketball’s historically atrocious defense.

—The LEO has five things to do in Louisville this weekend.

—And finally, the Mike Rutherford Show is wrapping up the week from Oxmoor Ford in St. Matthews this afternoon from 3-6 on The Big X. You can stream the show here. We’ve got some news to share.