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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Anderson Howard and his daughter were in the crowd for the best win of the Kenny Payne era to date: The 1-point loss to Texas at MSG.

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—NET Ranking Update (men’s): No. 262

—NET Ranking Update (women’s): No. 20

—Louisville checks in at No. 19 in On3’s way too early college football rankings for the 2024 season.

—Tennessee Transfer S Wesley Walker is headed to Louisville, as is his former teammate Tamarion McDonald, who had previously been committed to Ole Miss. McDonald started 23 games at the nickel spot for the Volunteers over the past two seasons. Both players are expected to enroll at U of L next week.

—Ten former Louisville players will be participating in this year’s NFL Playoffs.

—Louisville athletes posted high academic marks during the fall semester.

BetOnline has Louisville as a 100/1 shot to win the 2025 CFP, and Tyler Shough a 75/1 shot to win the 2024 Heisman.

—Eric Crawford writes about Louisville’s loss to Pitt, where the postgame quotes from Kenny Payne sounded an awful lot like the postgame quotes we’ve heard 30-35 times before.

“Moral victories. I don’t want them,” Payne said when looking over the stat sheet. “I want us to play like that the whole game. And I just told the guys, ‘Don’t find new ways to lose for me. Fight. I don’t care that they may have more talent than us. Fight. Every second that you’re on that floor. I don’t want to play games, guys. And I’m just going be honest with you, where I got different guys missing from the game. I want every player whose feet hit that floor to fight.’”

But Payne was just getting warmed up.

“I don’t want to look at a game and see Brandon (Huntley) Hatfield has 2 points, whatever. Not acceptable. That’s not why I brought him here. That’s not what he wanted. He’s got to give it to me,” Payne said. “I should not have to go through what I’m going through with Jae’lyn (Withers). Jae’lyn has to fight. Now I’m not throwing Jae’lyn under the bus. But I’m saying this to say this — I need these dudes to understand there’s an obligation to this program that started long before they got here. Their job is to keep it and go it forward. No matter what happened in the past. That’s over. We’re starting new. I need these guys to play with pride. I see it in stages. I just don’t see it consistently.”

Payne’s voice has been a steady source of support for his players, despite lopsided losses and lackadaisical efforts.

But on Saturday, Payne did a bit of calling out, and naming of names. And that’s a different tone.

“I praise them for everything they do that’s positive,” Payne said. “But I also look at the game and I see multiple turnovers time and time again. How is that possible? Some of the turnovers, you can’t even make up, just lackadaisical turnovers, like they’re not concentrating. This is frustrating. It’s frustrating for me and I know it’s frustrating for them. But I’m going to say this again. In no way am I disappointed in any kid. My job is to help them get better. I see them getting better. But I need them to understand what winning is. I need them to understand that there are no excuses.”

—The U of L swim and dive teams swept Missouri over the weekend.

—The week ahead in Cardinal athletics:

Wednesday, January 10

Men’s Basketball at Miami - 7 p.m. ET

Thursday, January 11

#15 Women’s Basketball at Pittsburgh - 6 p.m. ET

Friday, January 12

Track&Field at Rod McCravy Memorial Invite (Norton Healthcare Sport and Learning Center)

Saturday, January 13

Track&Field at Rod McCravy Memorial
Men’s Basketball vs NC State - 12 p.m. ET (KFC Yum! Center)

Sunday, January 14

#15 Women’s Basketball vs Wake Forest - 2 p.m. ET (KFC Yum! Center)

—John Calipari says Coach K copied him.

—Louisville is No. 23 in Athlon’s early college football top 25 for next season.

—Vanderbilt catches an all-time stray here.

Nobody knows what penalties await, but everyone has an opinion. If you’re a Michigan fan, there’s nothing to see here. If you’re not a Michigan fan, give the Wolverines program the Death Penalty, but only after having a public stoning.

“Look,” an Alabama official told me at the Rose Bowl last week, “Everyone — and I mean everyone — is stealing signs. Michigan was not the only school doing this.”

Added an industry source: “Kansas (basketball) cheats more than anyone, and they didn’t do anything to Kansas. The only pure thing in college athletics is Vanderbilt, and Vanderbilt sucks.”

That’s where college athletics is in 2024: if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying — or you’re Vanderbilt.

Michigan is no Vanderbilt. The Wolverines left Houston as national champions, but will it be considered a tainted title?

“I wouldn’t say it concerns me,” Michigan cornerback Will Johnson said. “It’s definitely something everybody likes to talk about.”

—Jeff Goodman and Robbie Hummel talk a little Mick Cronin/Scott Drew to Louisville (not together) in this clip.

—Typically ends well.

—Racing Louisville has re-signed F Parker Goins for 2024.

—Keeping it Heel has Louisville dead last in its ACC hoops power rankings.

—Jay Wright puts to bed the pipe dream of the most optimistic Louisville fan by saying that he has no desire to coach again.

“I didn’t know I wasn’t going to miss it,” Wright says. “I had no idea how I was going to handle it. But I just felt like it was the right time for Villanova and me. I could have hung in and done it for a couple years at a lesser commitment level, but I couldn’t in my heart do that and it wasn’t right for Villanova. But I didn’t know what it was going to be like. I just knew it was the right time.”

Wright said it wasn’t due to the changing landscape of college basketball, meaning the chaos of NIL and the musical chairs of the transfer portal. “I’m glad I don’t have to do it, but I would have been fine doing it,” Wright says. “There are some positives.”

Even if that may have played a small part in his decision to retire, it was more about his desire to pull back on the time commitments of running a big-time college basketball program. “I enjoyed it, but I didn’t realize how much it was 24/7 in my mind all year round no matter what I was doing,” he says. “Even if I was on vacation, I was texting recruits.”

Now 62, he’s able to go to Villanova games as a fan. He can spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with his wife, Patty, and their three children. He can even go to a Philadelphia Eagles game on a random Sunday.

“I loved the responsibility the whole time I did it, every aspect of it,” Wright says of coaching. “But I never thought how much it got in the way of me enjoying all the other parts of being on a college campus and being a part of college basketball.”

“Doing the NCAA tournament last year in the studio was so much fun. I never enjoyed the tournament so much,” he adds. “When you’re in it, you’re concentrating. And when you lose, you’re miserable. You hate the tournament. You don’t want to watch it anymore. You just want it to be over so you can start the next season.”

—The Louisville women’s basketball team is unbeaten in ACC play and ranked in the top 15, but it’s still looking to play its best game.

—Rick Bozich remembers Jerry Jones.

—Jaire is still the man.

—If Jim Harbaugh does leave Michigan, former U of L assistant Sherron Moore — who filled in for Harbaugh during his multiple suspensions this season — could wind up becoming his permanent replacement.

—Tiger Woods is leaving Nike after 27 years.

—On3 highlights Louisville football as one of 16 national title contenders in 2024.

Team Transfer Portal

Ole Miss, Louisville

Rebels coach Lane Kiffin hasn’t been shy about building through the portal. And like Florida State’s Mike Norvell in 2023, Kiffin looks like he has a special group in Oxford in 2024.

Quarterback Jaxson Dart (who transferred from USC for 2022) will have dynamic targets in Tre Harris (who transferred from Louisiana Tech for 2023) and Juice Wells (who transferred from South Carolina for 2024). Meanwhile, Ole Miss has upgraded its defensive front through the portal this offseason with defensive tackle Walter Nolen (Texas A&M) and edge rushers Tyler Baron (Tennessee) and Princely Umanmielen (Florida).

Yes, the Rebels just lost tailback Quinshon Judkins to the portal, but if Harris and Wells are the kind of tandem coaches believe they could be, Ole Miss will be running into light boxes and the players getting those carries will reap the benefits.

Louisville ended the season on a sour note, but coach Jeff Bohm has been very productive in the portal sprucing up a roster that showed promise in 2023. Quarterback Tyler Shough, who has played at Oregon and Texas Tech, has had a Penix-like injury history. But Brohm wasn’t the only coach who thought “If he could just stay healthy for one season…” If Shough can stay healthy, perhaps he can take the kind of leap Penix did.

—You can watch Kenny Payne’s preview of tomorrow night’s game against Miami here.

—Terry Rozier’s monster season continued Monday night with a 39-point performance in an overtime loss to Chicago.

—Rick Pitino talking about Trilly Donovan is wild.

Trilly knows all.

—The best news of the weekend was that Chris Redman’s son is cancer free.

—Pat Forde writes that Michigan and Washington playing for the national title signifies a seismic shift in how championship programs are building their rosters.

—Portal kings.

—Mike Vrabel is out in Tennessee.

—College Football News ranks the 35 best transfer portal quarterbacks, and has Tyler Shough at No. 4.

4 Tyler Shough

Former School: Texas Tech

New School: Louisville

Bottom Line: The former Oregon Duck has No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick with size, arm, mobility, the total package - he has had ZERO luck staying healthy throughout his career. Now he’s off to Louisville to be Jeff Brohm’s main man. He’ll be fabulous if he can finally catch a break.

—247 Sports has Louisville at No. 20 in its early college football rankings for next season.

—Walz is the absolute man.

—A Russ Smith Funko Pop?

—ACC hoops tonight:

Wake Forest at Florida State (7 p.m./ACC Network)
No. 11 Duke at Pittsburgh (9 p.m./ESPN)
Notre Dame at Georgia Tech (9 p.m./ACC Network)

—And finally, Louisville Report’s Matt McGavic will join me in studio on today’s Mike Rutherford Show, 3-6 on 1450AM/96.1FM. You can stream the show here.