Kenny Payne has had a terrible past 2 weeks, to say the least as head coach of the Louisville Cardinals, and Sunday's game against Pepperdine is looking to be Payne's biggest game as head coach of the Cardinals.
Yes, that's right I said Pepperdine. Not Duke, not Kentucky, but the 5-7 Pepperdine Waves.
After starting 2-1 (with a ten-point home loss to Chattanooga), Louisville has gone 2-5 and has lost 3 in a row. In that stretch Payne's squad has beaten Bellarmine and New Mexico State, and has lost to Texas, Indiana, Virginia Tech, DePaul, and Arkansas State. while 4-6 is a lot better than 1-10 (which was their record last year) it still is not good enough to be the head coach at Louisville. Louisville will face #12 Kentucky next Thursday in the Yum Center, and if Payne is still the head coach they are liable to get run out of the building by 30 points and have 12K fans in blue takeover the Cardinal's home court.
If Payne loses to Pepperdine who is 5-7 (0-2) then the University could honestly push to fire Payne. At that point the team is likely going into the Kentucky game with no confidence and fans will have no reason to get excited for what used to be the biggest game of the season.
If Louisville were to fire Payne let's say Monday or Tuesday after a loss then fans I feel could get excited that a new coaching staff would eventually get introduced and to just see what the team would play like without Payne leading the helm.
This is all hypothetical, but this could be the game that gets him fired if Louisville loses. Even Cardinal fans who deeply support Kenny up until this week are giving up their hope with him. The DePaul loss and Arkansas State loss seem to have turned everybody on Payne, and a loss to Pepperdine would certainly just drive the stake into the heart even more.
Pepperdine has lost to teams like UC Irvine by 16 points at home, and if the Cardinals find a way to lose that game then you could possibly see someone else new on the sideline coaching the Cardinals for the rest of the season.
Not to mention that the fans might have something to cheer about against the Wildcats next week.