Nightmares Continue for the Cards, Fall to #22 Maryland in ACC/Big 10 Challenge Wednesday, Nov 30 2022 

By: Jason Krell

After a shocking 0-3 start, it seemed like a trip to Maui was just what the Cards needed to wake up and get back on track. Apparently not. Going winless in the Maui Invitational, fans are still in search of answers as to what is wrong with this team and how long they’ll have to put up with this poor performance.

The ACC/Big 10 challenge has taken place since 1999 and continued on Tuesday evening when the #22 ranked Terapins traveled to Louisville. Maryland came into this game outscoring their opponents by an average of 21.4 points so to say the Cards would have their hands full is an understatement. Shooting an impressive 50% from the field heading into this matchup, seniors Donta Scott and Hakim Hart were certainly ones projected to lead the Terps in scoring.

Rough From the Jump

The Cards never found themselves in the lead as the Terapins jumped to a quick 14-point advantage thus killing any momentum Kenny Payne and company had leading up to tip-off. Louisville once again finds themselves getting exposed on defense and simply forcing too many unnecessary shots on the opposite end of the floor. Senior Sydney Curry found himself not in the starting lineup for the second straight game and was replaced by JJ Traynor who is only averaging 6.2 points per game. Trailing by 11 at the half, the Cards found themselves in a very similar situation they’ve been in all year, digging themselves a hole they can’t get out of.

Second Half Horrors

If the Cards were planning on finally succeeding in a second-half comeback, it wasn’t going to be this contest. Shooting woes continued for the Cards after the break and the Terapins found themselves leading by as much as 33 with six minutes to play in regulation. All 14 Cardinals saw action in the second half but only El Ellis’ 15-point performance is worth mentioning. Ellis continues to carry the workload for this team with no signs of help coming any time soon.

Who’s To Blame?

Entering this year, no team from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, or SEC had started 0-7 (statistic courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info). Louisville broke the record books. Fingers can be pointed to a lot of individuals as to who is responsible for this horrific start, but this falls simply on the coaching staff. It is a coach’s job to prepare his or her team appropriately so they don’t end up playing like the Louisville team we’ve seen for the last seven games. Something is clearly not clicking for this team and there is by no means a lack of talent on this roster. Former head coach Chris Mack was able to accomplish more with less during his tenure in the ‘Ville so that leaves just one suspect. Kenny Payne continues to struggle in his inaugural season as head coach and a lot of fans are wondering if this was the right hire. Surely Rome wasn’t built in a day, but at least progress was made along the way. The Cardinals are now favored in just three of their remaining games (Florida A&M, Lipscomb, and Florida State).

Looking Ahead

The Cards will be back in action on Sunday 12/4 against Miami (Fla.) on the ACC Network before playing their first true road game of the year when they travel to Florida State on 12/10.

Photo Courtesy// Matthew Mueller 

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How Much Pressure is on Kenny Payne This Season? Sunday, Oct 23 2022 

By: Jason Krell

Earlier this year, University of Louisville athletic director, Josh Heird named Kenny Payne to the head coaching role of the men’s basketball team. With the firing of former head coach Chris Mack, Heird faced a lot of pressure in getting this decision right in hopes of bringing Louisville back to the national powerhouse it used to be.

A former player under coach Denny Crum, Payne knows what it takes to be successful having won a national title as both a player and as an assistant at the University of Kentucky. Payne also spent four years in the NBA as both a coach and player and was selected in the first round of the 1989 draft.

Louisville legend, Denny Crum welcomes Kenny Payne to Louisville in March of 2022.

Historically, Louisville basketball is a winning program. With dominance in the 1980s and steady success through the 2000s and 2010s, a lot is at stake for Payne to make Louisville basketball relevant again. Former coaches like Denny Crum and Rick Pitino have set the standard where anything less than an ACC championship and final-four run would be considered a lost season. Or would it?

This will be Kenny Payne’s first gig as a head coach, at any level so it is expected for things to not be perfect and smooth sailing. However, valuable assets such as Nolan Smith and Danny Manning showcase to fans that Louisville basketball has one of the most experienced coaching staff in the country.

Assistant coach Kenny Payne and PJ Washington getting ready for a game in the NCAA tournament.

In addition to a distinguished coaching staff, players such as Sydney Curry and El Ellis will be looking to make their case for ACC player of the year and make a run in the NCAA tournament. With so much young talent on the roster, you can’t help but think they have nothing to lose, and a team that has nothing to lose come March can be a dangerous thing.

With the rich history that comes with Louisville basketball, there is going to be pressure to succeed right away as a new head coach. For as long as Payne knows the expectation from fans and is realistic with the roster he has, Louisville will be put back on the map as the powerhouse in the state of Kentucky.
File Photos // Darrell Bird (247Sports), Pat McDonogh (Courier Journal), //

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Chris Mack leaving post as men’s head basketball coach Wednesday, Jan 26 2022 

By Daniel Rankin —

Jan. 26 marks the end of an era, as the U of L Board of Trustees and U of L Athletic Association announced the departure of men’s head basketball coach Chris Mack.

The decision comes as the Cards are about to miss the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row with an 11-9 record this season. They also currently have an 8th place 5-5 record in the ACC.

“Coaching transitions are always difficult, especially during the course of the season, but Chris and I agreed that it is in the best interests of our student-athletes that he step aside immediately,” said Interim Athletic Director Josh Heird. “We will always prioritize our student-athletes and do all that we can to ensure that they have an incredible experience at Louisville. I want to thank Chris and his family for their service to the University and we wish them the very best in their next chapter.”

Mack finishes his tenure at U of L with an overall record of 68-37 and without any NCAA Tournament victories.

During Mack’s first year as head coach in 2018, the Cards entered the Tournament with a No. 7 ranking, but took a loss to No. 10 Minnesota in the first round.

In the 2019-20 season, expectations were high for the team, as their pre-season ranking was No. 5, and achieved the No. 1 spot midseason for two weeks. However, the NCAA Tournament was cancelled in March due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020-21 season saw multiple game cancellations for the Cardinals and they were the first team without an invitation to the tournament.

After some staff turnover, which included an extortion attempt by former assistant coach Dino Gaudio, Mack was suspended six games without pay by the University last November.

Assistant Coach Mike Pegues will be taking over as interim head coach.

Now U of L will begin the national search to find the next coach of the U of L men’s basketball team.

Photo Courtesy of Jeff Reinking // Louisville Athletics

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Cards’ Hoops Schedule Announced, Louisville Yum Center Game Tickets Available Thursday, Sep 16 2021 

From University of Louisville Sports Information

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Appearances in the Cable Beach Championship and Big Ten/ACC Challenge, three ESPN Big Monday appearances, a daunting 20-game ACC schedule and 18 home games in the KFC Yum! Center highlight the 2021-22 University of Louisville men’s basketball schedule.

“Time to start playing some games and we can’t wait!” said UofL Head Men’s Basketball Coach Chris Mack.  “The schedule will test our team and as always becomes a monster the further into the calendar we go. The 20 game ACC schedule is grueling. By the time March arrives our team will have prepared well for tournament play. We have a long road until that time but it’s certainly in the back of our minds.”

Including the Cardinals’ ACC schedule, 16 of the Cardinals’ 31 games will be played against teams that participated in post-season competition last season, including 11 from the 2020 NCAA Tournament field (NCAA Tournament:  Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan State, North Carolina twice, Syracuse, Virginia twice, Virginia Tech; NIT:  Mississippi State, NC State twice, Richmond, Western Kentucky).

Seven UofL opponents are ranked among the ESPN way-too-early top 25, including non-conference foes No. 9 Kentucky and No. 20 Maryland, with Michigan State among those “next in line.”  That early ranking also includes ACC members No. 11 Duke, No. 17 North Carolina, No. 21 Florida State, No. 24 Virginia Tech and No. 25 Virginia.  Louisville has faced a schedule among the top 16 toughest by the ratings percentage index or NCAA NET ratings in 11 of the past 14 seasons, including four of the last five years.

Thirteen games will be played on Saturday this season, eight on Wednesday, four on Monday, three on Tuesday, two on Friday, and one on Thursday (Thanksgiving day).  The Cardinals will not play a game on Sunday this season.  UofL will play 10 games during the month of January, marking the first time it has played as many in that month since the 1997-98 season, when UofL played 11 games in January.

Including two exhibition games, eight of the Cardinals’ 13 non-conference games in the first two months of the season will be played at home in the KFC Yum! Center, UofL’s spectacular 22,090-seat home arena.  The Cardinals will face their first outside competition in an exhibition game on Oct. 29 in the KFC Yum! Center against in-state NCAA Division II foe Kentucky State — just 43 days from today.  UofL will play its second exhibition on Nov. 3 against West Georgia, which advanced to the NCAA Division II tournament second round last season.

The Cardinals officially open their 2021-22 season on Nov. 9 against Southern, the first of four straight games in the KFC Yum! Center.  The next three at home include Nov. 12 vs. Furman, Nov 15 vs. Navy and Nov. 20 vs. Detroit Mercy.  The Detroit game is the first of three for the Cardinals in the Baha Mar Hoops Cable Beach Championship, with the other two played at the Baha Mar Resort in Nassau, Bahamas on Nov. 25 against Mississippi State and Nov. 27 against either Maryland or Richmond.

The Cardinals begin the month of December against Michigan State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Dec. 1, followed by its first ACC game of the season on Dec. 4 at NC State.  Louisville will next return home for a pair of games: on Dec. 10 against DePaul — a former fellow Conference USA and Big East member with UofL — and Dec. 14 against Southeastern Louisiana.

Louisville will travel to face a pair of in-state foes on Dec. 18 at Western Kentucky and Dec. 22 at Kentucky, the final nonconference game of the season.  The Cardinals close out 2021 with a home game against Wake Forest on Dec. 29.

The remainder of the Cardinals’ 20-game ACC schedule includes home games against Boston College, Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Miami, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Virginia. UofL’s other nine league road games will be at Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

The Cardinals will be featured on ESPN’s Big Monday telecast on three occasions in a five-week ACC stretch, including Jan. 24 at Virginia, Jan. 31 vs. North Carolina and Feb. 21 at North Carolina.  Five of the Cardinals’ last eight games will be played on the road.

The ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament will be staged at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. on March 8-12.

Louisville achieved a 13-7 record in a pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season as the Cardinals finished seventh in the ACC with one of the least experienced teams in the nation.  Louisville returns three of its top five scorers (five of its top eight), including front line starters Samuell Williamson and Jae’Lyn Withers.  The Cardinals have added a top 25 recruiting class and four impressive transfers, including a junior college All-American.  Louisville will open its season with five players who shot 40 percent or better from three-point range in their previous collegiate season for the first time in school history (transfers Matt Cross .400, El Ellis .417, Noah Locke .404, Jarrod West .408, and returnee JJ Traynor .500).

The Cardinals have posted 73 winning seasons over the last 76 years.  Louisville is one of only five schools to be ranked in the AP Top 25 poll at least once during each of the past 18 seasons (since 2002-03, excluding preseason polls) and the Cardinals have finished among the nation’s Top 25 teams in eight of the last 11 years.

Additional game times and televising networks will be added to complete the schedule in the coming weeks.

The complete 2021-22 schedule is available here, a printable pdf version here.  Information on obtaining season tickets, which start at just $325 and may be paid over an extended period, is available here (link:

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U of L Men’s Basketball Coach Chris Mack put on six-week suspension Monday, Aug 30 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville announced Aug. 27 Men’s Basketball Coach Chris Mack will be suspended without pay for six games during the 2021-2022 season.

According to U of L, Mack was a victim of an extortion attempt by former assistant coach Dino Gaudio. However, Mack allegedly failed to follow University guidelines, policies, and procedures in handling the situation. “The sanctions imposed upon Coach Mack are unrelated to the extortion attempt itself and the ongoing NCAA process,” the university said in a statement.

The suspension will last from Nov. 8  to Nov. 27  and includes six non-conference games, two of which will be in the Bahamas. The conditions of the suspension for Mack include having no contact with the men’s basketball coaching staff or student-athletes and forfeiting $221,000 in compensation.

“I understand that I could have handled matters differently and therefore I accept this suspension. While it will kill me to be away from our basketball family in November, I will do everything possible to set them up for success before and after my time away, and I am fully confident that our coaches, staff and student-athletes will rise to the occasion,” Mack said in a U of L press release.

Photo Courtesy // The Courier-Journal

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Louisville denied bid to play in this year’s March Madness Monday, Mar 15 2021 

By Hannah Walker —

The University of Louisville’s men’s basketball program announced on March 14 that Louisville will not be playing in this year’s NCAA March Madness tournament. This comes after the Cards were denied a bid to play by the NCAA on Selection Sunday.

Kentucky and Duke also announced that they would not be playing in the tournament either. This will be the first time since 1976 that all three teams will not compete in March Madness.

After a hard season for Louisville basketball, head coach Chris Mack had to announce the ending of the season for his team March 14.

No one was prepared to not be extended an invite to the tournament this year, and the shock of the matter has everyone questioning on what they could do differently for the following season.

“We need to have a great off season in front of us. One that we needed last summer,” Mack said in a press interview on Monday, March 15. “When you welcome three new freshman, two grad transfers and you’re bringing back sophomores that didn’t play a year ago, you need an off season.”

Mack went on to speculate that if the team hadn’t been affected by so many positive COVID-19 cases, as well as injuries, things could have played out differently for them.

Still, Louisville basketball will have one last chance to play in the NCAA tournament, but only if another team drops out due to COVID.

Mack said that he does not see an incident like this occurring when the tournament is just around the corner. He also said that he would never wish for any team to be hit with new COVID cases, and that it wouldn’t feel as rewarding to know that they would be replacing a team that was supposed to be in the tournament.

Mack finally ended the conversation by speaking out on how he has been dealing with negativity surrounding his name as the head coach of Louisville’s men’s basketball program.

“The key is to have humility about any of these situations,” he said. He said he tries to be a supportive coach for his team and that they were dealt a bad deck of cards this season.

Nonetheless, his team is looking forward to improving their three-point shooting and defense in the following season in hopes of making it to the tournament next year.

Photo Courtesy of GoCards 

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U of L basketball’s head coach tests positive for COVID, U of L vs Pittsburgh postponed Tuesday, Feb 9 2021 

By Joseph Garcia —

Tomorrow’s men’s basketball game against Pittsburgh has been postponed following additional positive tests for COVID-19 within the program, including head coach Chris Mack. In a press release, the University of Louisville said the postponement also comes following subsequent quarantining and contact tracing within the men’s basketball program.

The athletics department reported that Mack is experiencing mild symptoms and is communicating with team members and staff virtually while he quarantines.

Mack will be absent at Louisville’s match against Virginia Tech on Feb. 13, however assistant coach Dino Gaudio will take his place during practice this week and Saturday’s game.

Kenny Klein, spokesman for U of L athletics, said that last week the athletics department conducted more than 1,100 tests, four of which were positive. Since testing began in June of 2020, the department has reported 235 positive tests.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Men’s basketball captain out 12 weeks with foot injury Tuesday, Nov 10 2020 

By John McCarthy–

University of Louisville men’s basketball forward/center Malik Williams is out 12 weeks with an apparent foot injury. The senior captain will miss the beginning of the 2020-2021 season with the Cardinals.

Williams returns to Louisville’s men’s basketball program as the most experienced player on the roster. His foot injury resides from a fracture found on his fifth metatarsal in the right foot. Williams will be undergoing foot surgery this week to repair the fracture.

This is the second season in a row that Williams was named team captain. Throughout his career with the Cardinals, Williams has collected 604 points and 444 rebounds. In the 2019-2020 season, Williams had 15+ points in his last 22 games.

“I feel for Malik. He is everything a coach could ask for in a person, player, and captain, so my heart aches for him. Our team will miss his presence on the court during his time away. I feel for our fans as well who love watching and supporting Malik’s play,” Louisville Head Coach Chris Mack said.

Williams finished as the runner-up in the 2019-2020 ACC Sixth Man of the Year award voting. He scored double figures ten times as a junior and 23 times total throughout his collegiate career at U of L. Last season Williams finished 19th in the ACC in rebounding.

This the second consecutive season that the Cardinals will have to begin the season with Williams on the sideline. Last year Williams had the same fifth metatarsal injury in his right foot that caused him to miss U of L’s season opener. Williams’ Cardinal teammates, coaches, and fans wish him a healthy recovery ahead of the 2020-2021 season.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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UK & U of L basketball at odds over location of this year’s matchup Tuesday, Oct 20 2020 

By John McCarthy–

University of Louisville men’s basketball head coach Chris Mack recently expressed his concern regarding the location of U of L’s matchup with its in-state rival, the University of Kentucky this season.

Because of complications due to COVID-19, Mack suggested that playing Kentucky at a neutral site would minimize the risk of complications or restrictions.

John Calipari, head coach of UK’s men’s basketball, strongly disagreed with Mack on the rescheduling of this year’s commonwealth matchup to a neutral location.

U of L would have to host Kentucky at the Yum! Center this season without fans in attendance. Kentucky on the other hand would potentially be able to host fans and students when Louisville heads to Rupp Arena for the Cardinals and Wildcats 2021-2022 season matchup.

“Chris and I have talked and he expressed his concerns. While I understand the difficulty and the complications created by the pandemic, we are prepared to come to Louisville to play this season under the previously agreed terms,” Calipari said.

Via U of L and Kentucky’s contract, each school trades off home-court advantage year by year. If the 2020-21 matchup were to be rescheduled to a neutral site, it would cause turmoil prior to next year’s face off.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Malik Williams and Carlik Jones named 2020 men’s basketball captains Thursday, Oct 15 2020 

By John McCarthy–

Senior Malik Williams and graduate transfer Carlik Jones have been chosen as captains for the 2020 Louisville men’s basketball season.

“As voted on by their teammates, seniors Malik Williams and Carlik Jones have been named captains for this year’s team,” Louisville head coach Chris Mack said.

Williams comes into his senior season with the Cardinals showing an impressive collegiate resume. He was the runner-up for the ACC Sixth Man of the Year award in the 2019-2020 season. Williams hit double-digit scoring totals ten times in his junior season. He averaged eight points and six rebounds per game in his junior year.

Jones will come into the Louisville men’s basketball as one of the nation’s more highly-scouted graduate transfers. Jones comes from Radford University, where he averaged 20 points, six assists, five rebounds and one steal per game. He helped lead Radford to their second-straight conference championship with a 21-11 record. Jones is the only Division-I player to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists last season.

The Cardinals will look to Williams and Jones to help lead them toward the top of the ACC standings. “Our team is fortunate to have terrific leadership and it starts with these two. Their experience, ability to lead, and toughness have been evident throughout the offseason and preseason,” said Mack.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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