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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

L’s up from the Canadian Rockies.

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—NET Rankings Update (men’s): No. 223 (up 7)

—NET Rankings Update (women’s): No. 20 (no change)

—Tar Heel Blog covers three things they learned after UNC’s 16-point win over Louisville on Wednesday night.

—Eric Crawford shares his thoughts on Kenny Payne’s “this is actually year one” stance.

In year two (or year one in the World of Payne), he signed as solid a freshman class as has been here in a while. All of these players are keepers: Ty-Laur Johnson, Curtis Williams, Kaleb Glenn, all of them. Dennis Evans was too, before he was sidelined by an undisclosed medical issue. Beyond that, Skyy Clark and Tre White are all right. He also signed Koron Davis, who never played in a game but still attends games and sits in the stands. And he signed Trentyn Flowers, the most talented of the newcomers, who didn’t even make it to the start of practice before bolting in favor of a pro career in Australia.

Meanwhile, a couple of guys everybody thought you might get are putting on a show at Kentucky. And another one that a bunch of people wanted you to get scored a season-high 20 points in a Xavier win over Butler a couple of nights ago.

So, to sum up, while everyone is confused now over what year it is, most know exactly what time it is.

As the Tom Hanks character in the film, “That Thing You Do,” said to his one-hit wonder band before a big performance at a state fair, “It’s very important you don’t stink today.”

That guy should be sticking his head in the locker room before every game to make certain the message is delivered before the team falls behind by double digits.

And maybe he could whisper a message to Payne. The effort is improving. The team is playing better. Things are looking better. Even so, it may be later than he thinks.

—The standard AP preview of Louisville vs. Wake Forest is here.

—Louisville Report’s Matt McGavic is predicting a 13-point Demon Deacon win.

—Highlights of last night’s women’s basketball triumph over Clemson are here:

—Cardinal Authority previews Louisville at Wake.

—Lamar Jackson believes (Athletic link) that now is his time to win a championship.

—Jae’Lyn Withers, who torched the Cards Wednesday night with a double-double, talks about making the move from Louisville to Chapel Hill.

But Withers said he needed a change of scenery. And now that he’s settled in as a “glue guy” for North Carolina, it’s full steam ahead for this “die-hard Tar Heel.”

“It’s been up and down, my collegiate career,” said Withers, whose team improved to 14-3 (6-0 ACC) with Wednesday’s victory, “so I think that this year (has been) extremely beneficial.

“It’s always great to win; and I think that (has) brought back a lot of happiness that I had toward basketball.”

—C.L. Brown compares the situation at North Carolina with Hubert Davis to the situation at Louisville with Kenny Payne. I think comparing a year one where a team played for a national title to a year one (zero?) where a team won four games is sort of an apples to cantaloupes situation, but that’s me.

—Sacred Heart, which has yet to lose to an in-state opponent, is still atop the Kentucky high school girls basketball media poll.

—The boys poll features a pair of newcomers in the top 15.

—This guy deserves to hear his name called in April.

—I talked Laguna Beach on the latest episode of The Watercooler podcast.

This is what you’ve done, Kenny.

—While Florida State is actively looking for a way out of the ACC, Josh Heird says U of L is comfortable in the league.

Legally, FSU’s case looks like a longshot. Objecting to a deal you agreed to 10 years earlier (and agreed to extend in 2016) is sure to be a tough sell, especially after numerous analysts have described the document as “ironclad.” Still, should FSU succeed in eliminating or renegotiating exit liabilities its lawyers have estimated at $572 million, it would likely lead to an exodus of the most marketable ACC members – certainly Clemson, possibly North Carolina, maybe more — and another round of conference realignment.

It could, conceivably, leave Louisville looking for yet another new league.

“I’m not sure I would expect anything to be the same from today to tomorrow relative to college athletics,” U of L athletic director Josh Heird told LEO Weekly last week. “That’s how quickly this is changing. Just across the board, there are sweeping changes taking place.”

And yet. . .

“I haven’t had a single phone call with anybody else questioning the future of the ACC,” Heird continued. “I do think we always need to remember that while we have these ideas that the demise of the ACC is coming, there’s four elite conferences and we’re in one of those. That’s pretty good.

“I’m very comfortable saying we are proud members of what is still considered one of the top conferences in the country.”

—Speaking of, the ACC has now filed an amended lawsuit against Florida State, seeking to exclude the Seminoles from conference business.

—Class of 2024 DT Chris Jones out of Louisville Manual High School has committed to U of L.

—With Purdue leading the way, college basketball teams are embracing offensive coordinators.

—The ACC Digital Network has Louisville at No. 5 in its way too early conference rankings for next football season.

—Miami TE Cam McCormick has announced he will return for his ninth (9th!) season of college football.

—After this week’s blockbuster NBA trade, Jordan Nwora is now a Toronto Raptor.

—Racing Louisville has signed Linda Motlhalo to a two-year contract. The 25-year-old has 20 goals in 72 appearances for the South Africa national team.

—The ACC officially reprimanded NC State’s DJ Horne for this gesture at the end of Tuesday night’s win over Wake Forest.

That’ll teach him.

—KHSAA basketball realignment could be coming soon with the addition of three new schools.

—Rocky Top Talk discusses former UT DE Tyler Baron’s flip from Ole Miss to Louisville.

—The return of Scott’s D.

—Slow starts have plagued the Louisville men’s basketball team in recent weeks. What can Kenny Payne do to address that?

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

—Jeff Walz’s club remains the only unbeaten team in the ACC.

—In a stunning turn of events, Rick Bozich agrees with Kenny Payne.

—Former Central High star Ace Wales is the new running backs coach at Missouri State. Wales spent last season on U of L’s coaching staff.

—The U of L women’s tennis team will open its season against Eastern Kentucky.

—Cardinal volleyball is going to be a problem once again in 2024.

—Dani Busboom Kelly’s 2024 recruiting class expanded this week.

—The Athletic’s latest bracket watch has just three teams from the ACC in the field of 68.

—And finally, Matt McGavic will be back in studio this afternoon to join me from 3-6 on The Mike Rutherford Show. You can listen on 1450 AM, 96.1 FM, or streaming here.