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Monday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

My guy Project Pat living his best life at the most magical place on Earth: NuLu. I think that’s NuLu.

—NET Rankings Update (men’s): No. 176.

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

—The Louisville softball team opened its 2024 season with five wins in Florida. The 5-0 start is the best for the program since 2012. The Cards face Florida International today at 5 p.m.

—Eric Crawford writes about Sunday’s screw job in Syracuse.

I’ve seen about everything, and experienced some pretty bad behavior by coaches, players, even fans. Once, my umpiring partner ended a game prematurely because he wasn’t going to listen to any more of it.

So, before anyone accuses me of bashing officials, I think someone needs to speak in their defense. It’s a thankless job, even when you do it well. And when you don’t – and there were times I didn’t – it’s not pretty.

Which brings us to the end of the University of Louisville women’s basketball team’s 73-72 loss at Syracuse on Sunday.

Syracuse had the ball in the closing seconds, with Louisville leading 72-71. Dyaisha Fair, one of the best offensive players in the ACC, had the ball 35 feet from the basket with less than five seconds left. Louisville had two fouls to give. Olivia Cochran of Louisville, as Fair drove, reached out to make contact to give a foul that would stop the clock and force a Syracuse inbounds play.

You see it at the end of every game when a team needs to foul. Two hands extended, maybe a semi-wrap up, and a whistle. Almost every game.

Except this time, when the whistle blew, the official raised both arms, crossed, to signal an intentional foul. And that was the game. Fair made two free throws, then Syracuse got the ball and dribbled out the clock.

The rule book is pretty clear on intentional fouls. But the game of basketball, over several decades, has been even more clear. That foul, by rule, is intentional. But unless it’s excessively rough, it’s a common foul.

This was a divergence. A game-deciding divergence. Louisville coach Jeff Walz had other words for it.

“It was a God-awful call,” Walz said. “It was terrible officiating. They should be embarrassed. But you know, I’ll get my fine. I’m sure I’ll get a letter of reprimand. But at this point, somebody has to start holding the officials accountable. That call was the worst call I’ve seen in my 29 years of coaching. If we’re going to start calling that, every foul at the end of a game when a team has to foul, it’s intentional. Every foul is. We all know it is. But to call it in a one-point game with 2.5 seconds left, it’s just awful. It’s atrocious. It’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing for our league. But we’ll never hear anything about it because it’s such a sacred society that we can’t ever reprimand publicly an official, God forbid. But we’ll reprimand coaches and players will be called out. But there’s three people out there, God forbid, if we came out and we actually said a league made a statement that it was a blown call, a bad call. We won’t do that.”

—On Friday, the ACC announced the host sites for 40 future conference championship events. Every single one of them is in the state of North Carolina.

—The U of L women’s basketball team is down three spots to No. 18 in this week’s AP top 25 poll.

—Here’s the CJ recap of yesterday’s women’s basketball loss and Jeff Walz’s postgame tirade.

—The week ahead in Cardinal athletics:

Tuesday, February 13

Softball at FIU - 5 p.m. ET
Men’s Basketball at Boston College - 9 p.m. ET

Thursday, February 15

Swim & Dive at Louisville Invitational (Ralph Wright Natatorium)
Softball at FAU - 6 p.m. ET (Joan Joyce Classic)
#15 Women’s Basketball at Boston College - 7 p.m. ET

Friday, February 16

Track & Field at USATF Indoor Championships
Swim & Dive at Louisville Invitational (Ralph Wright Natatorium)
Softball vs Seton Hall - 11:30 a.m. ET (Joan Joyce Classic)
Baseball vs Indiana State - 12 p.m. ET (USF Tournament)
Lacrosse vs Marquette - 12 p.m. ET (UofL Lacrosse Stadium)
Women’s Tennis vs Bellarmine - 4 p.m. ET (Bass-Rudd Tennis Center)
Softball at FAU - 4:30 p.m. ET (Joan Joyce Classic)
Women’s Soccer vs Bellarmine - 6 p.m. ET (Trager Stadium)

Saturday, February 17

Track&Field at USATF Indoor Championships
Softball vs Maine - 9 a.m. ET (Joan Joyce Classic)
Softball vs Michigan - 11:15 a.m. ET (Joan Joyce Classic)
Men’s Tennis vs Belmont - 12 p.m. ET (Bass-Rudd Tennis Center)
Baseball at South Florida - 4 p.m. ET (USF Tournament)
Men’s Tennis vs Butler - 4 p.m. ET (Bass-Rudd Tennis Center)
Men’s Basketball at Pittsburgh - 6:30 p.m. ET

Sunday, February 18

Women’s Golf at Moon Golf Invitational (Melbourne, Fla.)
Baseball vs Connecticut - 9 a.m. ET (USF Tournament)
Lacrosse at Lindenwood - 1 p.m. ET
#15 Women’s Basketball vs #16/18 Virgina Tech - 2 p.m. ET

—The Chiefs are the early Super Bowl favorites for next year, just ahead of the 49ers and Lions.

—The U of L hoops staff had a good in-house visit with class of 2025 in-state prospect E.J. Walker over the weekend.

—North Carolina head coach Courtney Banghart wanted Jeff Walz to know that he wasn’t alone in his complaints about the ACC officiating on Sunday.

UPDATE: It appears Banghart deleted the tweet.

—Kenny Payne previews Tuesday night’s game at Boston College here.

— Dr. Mark Lynn and his wife, Cindy, are pledging a $25,000 donation to the Blessings in a Backpack program.

—The 502 Circle will be hosting another flash give event this weekend.

Following a highly successful debut at the Notre Dame football game, the University of Louisville Athletics and 502Circle are teaming up again to host another NIL Flash Give promotion at the women’s basketball’s game against Virginia Tech on Feb. 18.

During halftime, fans at the top-25 matchup will be prompted to consider giving to 502Circle, the Official NIL Collective of the Louisville Cardinals. The challenge will be for Card Nation to raise as much money as possible for Cardinals student-athletes during halftime.

QR codes and a direct link to 502Circle.com/Give will be shared in the venue during halftime, and information on how to give will also be available on flyers found in the seats at the KFC Yum! Center. Fans can easily and quickly complete payment for their gift by credit card or Apple Pay.

The 15th-ranked Cardinals welcome No. 16 Virginia Tech at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 18. The game will air nationally on ESPN.

The goal will be to raise as much money as possible within halftime and highlight the power of Card Nation working together. With Women’s Basketball as one of numerous UofL programs competing at an elite level, there’s never been a better time to support student-athletes through their Name, Image and Likeness. Gifts of any amount can make a tremendous difference for the success of the athletic department.

—Olivia Mills has been added to the U of L women’s soccer coaching staff.

—Louisville native and longtime NPR host Bob Edwards died this morning at the age of 76.

—Seems bad.

—The U of L men’s tennis team dropped a narrow 4-3 decision to No. 8 Harvard over the weekend.

—Justin Timberlake is coming to the KFC Yum Center in November.

—Historically strong bubble?

—A group of former U of L women’s soccer players have formed a semi-pro indoor soccer team in Louiville.

—A late goal doomed Louisville in a road lacrosse loss to Colorado.

—For the first time since leaving Louisville, Chris Mack says he’s open to getting back in the coaching game.

—Bill O’Brien is the new head football coach at Boston College.

—More people attended the Notre Dame-Louisville women’s game than attended the Florida State-Louisville men’s game.

—These are gorgeous.

—FanDuel has Louisville’s over/under win total for the 2024 football season set at 8.5.

—And finally, the Mike Rutherford Show returns this afternoon from 3-6 on 1450 The Big X. You can stream it here.