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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Louisville WBB #4 in AP poll -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


CARDS GO FROM #2 TO #4 IN AP POLL


As most expected and surmised, the University of Louisville women's basketball squad slid from #2 to #4 in the latest AP poll, released yesterday. The Cards went 1-1 in the past week, but the pollsters dropped Louisville two spots, because of the loss to Notre Dame at Notre Dame on Thursday. Louisville received 652 points. Notre Dame retained the #1 ranking (23 first place votes and 736 points) and UConn climbed back into a tie for second place with one first place vote and 706 points. 

The Baylor Bears are tied with UConn in second with (6) first place votes and 706 points also. After Louisville, Oregon fills out the top five with 621 points. 

The top 12 remains the same as last week, just a little shuffling of the deck occurred at the top. Stanford retained sixth spot and Mississippi State checked in at seventh again. Keeping their spots also from last week were #8 NC State, #9 Maryland, #10 Oregon State, #11 Texas and #12 Syracuse. There was only one newcomer in the top 25, that being Rutgers -- tied for #20 with Tennessee. Florida State dropped out of the top 25 but is the leader in others receiving votes with 54. Indiana stays at #25 with 56 votes. 

Some interesting developments in the week that ended January 13th.  Kentucky fell to Ole Miss but remained at #16 in the AP poll. Clemson downed Florida State and knocked them out of the top 25. Tennessee has lost three games in a row now but retains a tie for #20. No climbing for NC State, despite them being the lone undefeated team in DI WBB.

Clemson actually got (3) votes in the "others receiving votes" category. How long has it been since we've seen their name mentioned there? 


By conference, the Big 12 has five teams in the top 25. Four conferences (ACC, SEC, Big 10 and the Pac 12 have four schools representing. the Big East checks in with two, the AAC and WAC have one team on the list.  

The Cards have faced three of the top 25 so far (Notre Dame, Kentucky and Arizona State). They have three to face, based on the current rankings , in Connecticut, Syracuse and NC State.  

According to ESPN's Charlie Creme's "Bracketology" , the Cards are getting placed as the #1 seed in the Greensboro region of the NCAA Tournament. Plenty of river to row, though, before we get there. 

Coming up? The Cards host Virginia in two days and travel to Wake Forest this week on Sunday. 


DID YOU KNOW?  

Here's five fast facts for you.

--  The top nine in the RPI rankings stayed the same? Louisville has a #6 RPI. The top five are Notre Dame (16-1), Stanford (14-1), Baylor (13-1), Syracuse (14-1) and Oregon (15-1). 
UConn checks in at #7. 

-- Louisville WBB has a +18.5 scoring margin over their opponents this season? The Cards largest win (55 points) came against Tennessee State and closest victory was over #19 Arizona State ( two points). 

-- Louisville is #10 in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 81.4 points per game. Louisville has scored 1303 points this season and allowed just 1009. 

--UofL is actually shooting threes better on the road? They connect for 40.9% away from the KFC YUM! Center and 32.1% in the downtown arena. 

-- The Cards are averaging 8791 per home game? Last year UofL averaged 7836 at home.


CAPTION THIS PICTURE


Caption Me !! 
Our illustrious photographer here at CARDINAL COUPLE is Jared Anderson. We share him with River City Cards and after each home game, he sends me a multitude of pictures to peruse for articles. Monday morning was no different. Here's one from the Georgia Tech game. Feel free to apply a caption to it. 

No prize or award (I'm trying to conserve the contents of the prize drawer for later on this season...after all, we still have ACC and NCAA Tournaments contests to take part in and the total UofL ACC WBB record is in progress). 

Every picture tells a story. I think Rod Stewart wrote a song about that. Tell us your story about the picture in this segment. 

Have a terrific Tuesday.  Today is the late Ronnie Van Zant's birthday. We recommend you crank up a little "Free Bird" or the Lynyrd Skynyrd song of your choice in remembrance of one of the greatest rock and roll singers of all time. Gone too soon, a victim of a plane crash on October 20, 1977.  Good lord, has it really been 41 years? I suddenly feel very old.

We got some Skynyrd linked up for you below.

A Paulie favorite here, indeed, that goes back to the days of singing with Robbie Bartlett's band at UofL Football tailgate parties over at the Parrish House. Show me that back door...

LINK:  GIMME THREE STEPS





paulie
xxxxx




Monday, January 14, 2019

Cards take sting out of Yellow Jackets 61-44 -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


DURR, FUEHRING LEAD LOUISVILLE TO 17-POINT WIN


They say the best way to avoid being stung is to avoid the source. Georgia Tech didn't bother the Cards offensively, never let Georgia Tech get close to them, thanks to a strong Cardinal defense, and UofL goes to 15-1 on the season with the 61-44 win Sunday afternoon in the KFC YUM! Center. 

Tech managed just 26.2% shooting (17-65) on a cold and cloudy day by the Ohio River and couldn't pester Louisville from the the free throw line either with just nine attempts and six makes. The Cards drove the swarm away early, with an opening 15-2 salvo in the first
4 -1/2 minutes and was never seriously bother the entire game by the 12-5 Jackets. 

That early UofL run featured Asia Durr, who led all scorers with 21 points, 10 of those in the first session of the afternoon, and "#Nite-nite" went 8-16 from the floor -- including three threes in her body of work in the Cards fourth ACC contest of the season. 

Showing her strength and skills, as well for Louisville, was Sam Fuehring. Her 13 points and 14 rebounds gave her a double-double for the afternoon. The feat was the sixth  of her career and first of the season. On an afternoon where Louisville lost the rebounding battle for the second straight time 46-32...almost the same numbers we saw in the Notre Dame game  (48-32), Sam and her sleeveless arm had the most time on the quarter for the Cards (37:20) and 44% of the Cards grabs. 


The future...my girls Duv and Kasa
Arica Carter with another steady performance, 10 points that included two threes and 50% shooting. She also, maybe for the first time in her career, led Louisville in blocks with two.  A strong 14 minutes off the bench for Kylee Shook yesterday as well, getting six of her eight points in the fourth quarter to keep a Georgia Tech team,that had trimmed the lead to 11, at bay. 

The Cards took that 24-14 first quarter lead and turned it into a 36-23 halftime advantage. Jazmine Jones and Dana Evans took their turns at dismantling the Rambling Wreck with five points each in a 12-point quarter for Louisville...the Cards getting eight of those off turnovers. 

Georgia Tech would pare that Cardinal lead down to 44-33 at the end of the third quarter. Freshmen point guard Lotta-Maj Lahtinen (from Helsinki, Finlandsparking Buzz's Ballers with four of her eight points in the ten-minute segment. 

Kylee Shook took over the offense for Louisville early in the fourth quarter, though and made the Cards first two baskets to create a 48-33 advantage that had Cardinal fans breathing a bit easier and Louisville actually won a fourth quarter for once, outscoring the Atlanta school 17-11. 


"Gimme that s--t" 
105-point games aren't exactly as exciting as they get. But, a win is a win and Louisville's defense was a thing of beauty. Coach Walz will tell you he wants his team to get up shots but it was the Techsters who held the 65-53 shot attempt edge. Fortunately, the Cards led in "makes" (23-17) and that's the stat that makes the biggest difference. 

The Ramblin' Wreck never could get started against UofL WBB yesterday. Call AAA. 


THE FRED REPORT


The late, great Fred Wiche would have
approved of this elimination of a
pollinator. 
F- Free Throws. Louisville didn't take many (10) but converted eight of those. Just three players had the privilege of toeing the line (Fuehring 4-4, Shook  2-2 and Durr 2-4). We universally accept 80% as capital letter material here at Cardinal Couple...we bestow the capital "F" for the job done.  

R - Rebounding. Besides Sam, the Cards sent in a few absentee ballots on the boards Sunday afternoon. Jaz had the misfortune of being in the wrong place all night with zero grabs in 21 minutes. The offensive grabs were particularly embarrassing for UofL, Tech taking that stat 21-4. No letter awarded

E - Effort/Execution. Points off turnovers was a bright spot, 23-24 in favor of the Ville. Fast break points solidly in the Cardinal camp at 10-0. Nineteen assists on 23 made hoops shows a bit of team unity and effectiveness as well. Unfortunately, the hustle involved in getting second chance points wasn't present...GT taking that category 15-2. I'll offer the lower case "e" here. IT was a win, UofL didn't stink the place up and the hustle was there

D- Defense. The Cards came out hawkish, hungry and harassed the Tech squad into 21 turnovers. Credit the Cards for six steals, too. Holding an opponent to 26.2% shooting can mean two things...an excellent defensive presence or an opponent that isn't very good at shooting. Besides three-time freshman of the week Elizabeth Balogun's 13 points,t here weren't many offensive threats in yellow and white uniforms. Hand out the capital "D". 

FINAL FRED TALLY:  F-_-e-D

SOOOO...


On a day where there was one surprising result in ACC play (Clemson taking down #22 Florida State 57-45) the Cards did what was expected and what they needed to do with the win over Georgia Tech. You need to pile up the wins in the ACC when you're expected to, even if they aren't exactly masterpieces, and the Cards added another one to their resume. 

Virginia comes in Thursday night, sufficiently humbled by still-undefeated NC State 66-38 yesterday. The Cards feature the Jeff Walz bobble-head as a promo, so get there early to grab yours...even though we got several reports that fans were getting "bobble-heads" yesterday afternoon.

On "spirit" and Speed School Day, yesterday....Louisville exhibited plenty of "get up and go" early on Sunday afternoon and constructed a needed and earned win over "a hell of an engineer" school. 


"I've got spirit, how about you, Tom?" 
The defense rests. They deserve that rest, after a strong performance on National Rubber Ducky Day...the Cards put the squeeze on Georgia Tech. 

Links for Walz's, Asia's and Sam's post game presser below. 


LINK: WALZ POST-GAME GEORGIA TECH

LINK: ASIA AND SAM POST-GAME GEORGIA TECH

(Photos by Jared Anderson, except for Fred. Check out his other photography work at https://www.instagram.com/jdaphotography1994/  or www.jdaphotos.com ) 


paulie
xxxxx



Sunday, January 13, 2019

Louisville women's basketball faces Georgia Tech today -- Sunday Cardinal Couple

Basketball Preview


Game day is here again, and today UofL WBB faces the Ramblin' Wreck of Georgia Tech.  I do have to admit that I appreciate the rhyming.  I also, as someone that works in engineering-esque work, always have a bit of a soft spot for "Engineering schools", such as Georgia Tech and Purdue.

Apparently I'm not the only one, as today's game is listed on the gocards.com schedule as "Presented by The J.B. Speed School of Engineering".  Us geeks have to stick together, you know. We won't get the Model A in the YUM! today and probably not "Buzz" the mascot either. That's a shame.

GT has a history of being mostly an also-ran in ACC WBB, and while they're not exactly world beaters this year, they're putting up a respectable record so far.  They're coming into Louisville today off of a win over Duke (though, Duke is sitting at 0-3 in conference and barely above .500 overall).  I think it's also worth pointing out that, while it's still very early in conference play, GT and Louisville are officially tied in conference standings at this point.

In the solid wins column, GT lists Duke, a surprising entry in Boston College (who isn't playing the doormat of the ACC role that they typically do), Seton Hall, George Washington (new home of former Cardinal, Sydney Zambrotta), Georgia, and Appalachian State.  On the loss side of the equation, the Houston Cougars took two overtimes to get the win, the YellowJackets played to within 13 of Maryland, lost by about 20 to Dayton (which may be their worst loss of the season), and almost kept it within 20 with what we know is a very good Notre Dame team.

Elizabeth Balogun is the offensive leader for the Model A driving Yellow Jackets averaging 16 points per game.  Oh, and she's a freshman.  Also look for Lorela Cubaj, and Elizabeth Dixon to contribute to the offense, with both posting up double-doubles in the game against Duke.  Oh, and Dixon is also a freshman, and Cubaj a sophomore. Francesca Pan, a veteran on the roster, also has big game.

The game tips at 2 p.m. with doors opening at the KFC Yum! Center at 1 p.m.

Coach Walz talked a lot about dedication and getting into the gym after the loss to Notre Dame. Usually, that equates some players picking up more time and some players getting less time. We'll see what the "mad scientist" has come up within the deep,dark recesses of his laboratory with his assistants.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Review


While we missed Case and Jared at the Magnificent Media Mansion on Mellwood yesterday, we're always happy to be joined by the magnificent and majestic Daryl Foust.  We, ah, had a thing or two to say about the officiating in the Notre Dame game, but we did break down a bit about what else went wrong for the Cards in South Bend.  We also shared a bit of news from the Volleyball world.

You can check out the replay at:

-- 
JMcA

Saturday, January 12, 2019

New Roundup -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Catch Up Time


The Cardinals' women's basketball team was in action Thursday night, which means you've gotten a recap, and they don't play again until tomorrow, which means it's not quite time for a primer.

The Cards WBB squad will bring in Georgia Tech, who has been having a very good season so far at 12-4 and 2-1 in ACC play.

They have two great freshmen and will be looking for revenge from last year, when they got "Myisha-ed" in Atlanta.

There has been a lot going on in the other sports in the world of UofL and general women's athletics, so here are some quick news items for late this week. 

Volleyball Brings in Transfer Setter


Tori Dilfer, daughter of former NFL QB Trent Dilfer, has decided that she no longer wants to call TCU her home. Louisville Volleyball announced the incoming transfer of Dilfer yesterday afternoon. Head coach, Dani Busboom Kelly, says she's excited to add Dilfer to the 2019 team, but unless a waiver is filed and granted (which I would find unlikely), it seems Dilfer will be sitting this entire year. Dilfer was a full time starter at the setter position for the Horned Frogs last season and played every set for them. 

In the 2018 season, Dilfer found herself climbing the single season record lists for TCU. Her 11.2 assists per set is good for 5th all time and her .40 aces per set was best in the Big 12 and 7th all time in a season for TCU. Dilfer was All-Big 12 second team, and Academic All-Big 12 first team. Dilfer's former head coach at TCU, Jill Kramer, says she respects all of her players' decisions and just wants them to be happy and successful. I imagine Kramer may think otherwise if the two schools meet in some capacity once Dilfer is eligible, but it is a commendable position to be sure.

Dilfer will join a setter room that is a bit thin following the departure of Wilma Rivera. She'll sit and learn with the rest of those trying to fill Rivera's shoes as she awaits her eligibility.

Coach Dani Busboom Kelly was pretty successful with that first setter transfer, so let's see if the magic can work again.

At the very least, maybe Trent will hang around campus and venture over to watch the Cardinal quarterbacks a bit and offer advice if asked. He did have a very decent NFL career (winning a Super Bowl with the Ravens) and joins the list of celebrity fathers of Louisville Volleyball players...we'll miss Winston Bennett. 


Indoor Track and Field Season Begins Today


The indoor season for Louisville Track and Field gets underway this weekend as the Cards travel to West Lafayette for the Gene Edmunds Cup. There, they'll be taking on Purdue, Alabama State, IUPUI, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame, and Western Kentucky.

Standout Dorcas Wasike began her indoor season last month, but the rest of the team will be joining her in competition today. Live results are available on the Go Cards website.

Lauren Hartlage Invited to Augusta


Hartlage has been invited to the inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur event in April.

Hartlage earned an invitation as one of the top 30 ranked amateur women's golfers in the United States, as she found herself ranked 22nd at the end of 2018. The event takes place the weekend before the Masters, with only the final round actually being played on Augusta National. Hartlage says it has been a goal of hers to make the tournament since it was announced, and I imagine that goal also includes making it to that final 18 hole round.

Best of luck to Lauren, who should be one of the leaders in the Louisville clubhouse this spring.

Maori Davenport Reinstated


Following an absolutely bonkers saga, Maori Davenport returned to the court for her high school team in Alabama last night. She scored 25 points and the high school stat keepers were unable to keep track of her assists and rebounds. In her first game back after being held out by a ridiculous ruling, Davenport showed why she was a highly sought out recruit.

Congratulations to her for getting the opportunity to enjoy her senior year before heading off to Rutgers and a semi-sarcastic congratulations to a sports association for finally making a common sense decision. 

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour


I am a late scratch from the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour squad this morning, but have no fear!

Paulie and Worldwide will be joined this morning by Daryl Foust who is amped to bring you her wrath about officiating in women's basketball. The crew will talk the women's basketball loss to Notre Dame and what needs to be different for the Cards to reestablish themselves going forward. They'll also dive into the transfer news and more about the joy and excitement of Louisville women's sports.

Tune in at 11AM to WCHQ FM, available at 100.9 FM, wchqfm.com, the WCHQ app, or on Facebook Live at WCHQ FM.

Until next time, Go Cards!
-CH-

Friday, January 11, 2019

Cards Falter in South Bend 82-68 -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Notre Dame Tops Louisville at Purcell Pavilion

Little Miss Muffet,
Sat on her tuffet,
Getting the calls to go her way


I'm not one who likes to put the blame on the officiating but you have to be kidding me with how last night's game played out.  Arike Ogunbowale attempted to kick AC in the face and AC was called for the foul.  Brianna Turner flopped and stretched out on the court to get Bionca her fifth foul.  The fouls were 28-15 and the free throw attempts were 39-16. UofL will have plenty of footage to send to the ACC offices for "examples" and review of a job that was less than average.

Granted, there was much more than poor officiating that led to the outcome of Louisville's 82-68 loss at Notre Dame. The Cards were seemingly fouling Notre Dame every time they went into the paint on offense. Rebounding for UofL was not a pretty thing.  The loss, however, ends any hopes of a perfect season for the Cards, now 14-1 with a 2-1 conference record.  Notre Dame is 15-1 with a 3-0 conference mark. Believe it or not, NC State is the lone undefeated team in the nation.

For starters, the Cards lost the rebounding battle badly.  The final numbers were 48-32.  Notre Dame's defensive rebounding numbers (30) nearly matched UofL's total rebounds.  Jessica Shepard was nearly unstoppable on the glass with 15 boards.

Missed lay-ups were a problem for the Cards.  This didn't just happen overnight seeing that this has
been an ongoing issue all season.  A lay-up should be one of the easiest buckets a player can make, but the Cards struggle to make them nonetheless.  In close games that each position can spark or ruin a run, missing the easy bucket can help build momentum for the other team.

Overall, Louisville shot 38.2% from the field.  26-68 is poor and well below the season average.  From three-point range, the Cards were 4-20, 20%, another below-average mark.  The free throws were pretty solid with the 75% of 12-16.

The first quarter resulted mostly in the two team trading baskets.  Both teams saw their lead as high as four points early in the game.  Sam Fuehring and Jaz Jones both found themselves with a pair of fouls before the quarter ended, quickly dwindling the impact they would make on the half.  Notre Dame held a 20-19 lead after the first 10 minutes.


Louisville doubled up the Irish's second quarter points before Notre Dame got the final five points to get to halftime.  Of the Irish's 13 points in the second quarter, nine came from the free throw line.  Six different Notre Dame players made a free throw.  Asia Durr, Arica Carter, and Kylee Shook joined the ranks of Louisville players with multiple fouls.

At halftime, Durr was already up to 19 points and the Cards only had two turnovers.  The 2-11 three-point shooting and the missed layups were holding the Cards back from leading by more than two at the time.  Ogunbowale was held to just four points in the first half.

Things changed in the third quarter.  Notre Dame won the quarter 24-12, holding to Louisville to one of their worst quarters of the season.  Foul trouble became more apparent and Jeff Walz had to be careful not to burn through his players in foul trouble too early in the game.  Turnovers and transition defense became worse and the Irish capitalized on fast break points.


Both teams had their highest scoring quarter in the fourth quarter, although Notre Dame used it to add
a few extra points down the stretch.  Dunham, Carter, and Evans all retired to the bench with their five allotted fouls being used.  Fuehring recorded her fourth foul, but managed to stay in the game for the final seconds.  The highlight of the final quarter was Mykasa Robinson's in-your-face defense on Ogumbowale.  The 2018-19 Finals MVP became frustrated and it allowed the Cards to bring the score within two at the 1:48 mark.  Sadly, things went south the rest of the way.

When you lose the "second chance" stat 19-5...it probably isn't your night. That 14-points differential was also the final margin of defeat for the Cards...82-68.

POST GAME WALZ PRESSER: WALZ TALKS SANDERFORD, LOSS TO ND 1/10/19

F-R-E-D Report

"How many intentional fouls were called on
UofL, Fred?" 
F - free throws: Louisville made 75% of theirs.  Notre Dame made more than double what the Cards did with 29 made free throws on 39 attempts, but we don't give a grade based on comparisons on free throws. Capital "F".

R - rebounds: Losing the rebounding battle by 16 is not good.  Foul trouble limited some of the post players and kept them off the boards. Notre Dame also had a player in double-digit grabs (Shepard) with 15 and that was more than double UofL's best rebounder on the night. No letter.

E - effort/efficiency:  In terms of effort, UofL battled tough in the Purcell Pavilion.  They even roared back to trail by two with under two minutes remaining.  The true ACC Player of the Year totaled 29 points.  Louisville was smart with the ball and only committed eight turnovers.  Getting out-shot 44.6% to 38.2% isn't terrible.  Louisville also scored 25 points off turnovers.  Notre Dame scored 19 second chance points and 23 fast break points.  We can award a lowercase "e".

D - defense: Notre Dame shot 44.6% overall and 37.5% from deep.  The Irish totaled 82 points and scored at least 20 points in three quarters.  Ogunbowale scored 30 points, 26 coming in the second half, and two other Notre Dame players (Brianna Turner 16 and Jackie Young 14) also were in the double-digits.  The Irish scored 23 fast break points.  Some of those were off a turnover, but many of them came on poor transition defense by the Cards.  The one plus side is the Cards forcing 18 turnovers.  Still, the second half defensive struggles and the 82 points prevent the Cards from earning a letter here.

FINAL FRED TOTAL: F-_-e-_

F-_-e-_ is not too good of a report.   Assuming a capital letter is 2/2, a lowercase letter is 1/2, and no letter is 0/2, the Cards get an ugly 3/8 on the score chart.

The women are back in action Sunday at 2:00.  They return to the KFC Yum! Center to host a solid
Georgia Tech squad.  The Yellow Jackets are 12-4 and are 2-1 in the ACC.  They defeated Boston College in Massachusetts, fell at Notre Dame, and beat Duke at home by six last night.  Expect the Cards to come out angry and ready to leave a trail of destruction in their path between now and Jan. 31, and then the same on the path to the ACC Tournament.

The Irish were dancing on January 10th. Louisville needs to put this one behind them and go on, so they can dance in March.

Happy Friday and Go Cards!

- Jared -

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Louisville WBB vs. Notre Dame tonight -- Let's Play -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


#1 vs #2 TONIGHT


It goes down tonight in South Bend. The University of Louisville women's basketball squad faces #1 Notre Dame. ESPN bringing in the big guns....Adam Amin, Rebecca Lobo, Kara Lawson and Holly Rowe. A sold out crowd of 9149 in the Purcell Pavillion ready for the contest. The biggest game of the season, so far, for the Cards.The sixth top 25 opponent of the season for Notre Dame. Asia vs. Arike. Are you ready? 

Notre Dame plays very well in Purcell. In their last 105 games there, they have lost three times. All to UConn. Louisville last visited there on Feburary 6th, 2017 and took a 85-66 loss. 

So, what about these Irish? They are at 14-1 on the 2018-19 season, the lone loss coming to UConn on December 2nd., a 89-71 defeat. In common opponents, both have played Duke and UND down them 82-64. The Cards took a 73-51 win over the Blue Devils. Both have gone up against WKU. The Cards getting a 102-80 win there to start the season. Notre Dame having the Hilltoppers at Purcell and dismissing them on December 19th 94-53.

The Irish squad has plenty of talent. Arike Ogunbowale leads them in field goal attempts (252) field goals made (123) total points (331), free throw attempts (86), free throws made (66) and points per game (22.1). Look for Jackie Young as the set-up student athlete, her assist to turnover ratio is 2.33. Brianna Turner has 33 blocks this year and has had over 80 in the previous three seasons she has played. On the boards, it's Jessica Shepard -- 9.5 rebounds a game. Add "do-everything" Marina Mabrey, back after an early season quadricep injury to that starting lineup and averaging 14.3 points per game and they look very impressive. All but Young were selected to the pre-season ALL-ACC Coaches Panel and Blue Ribbon panel squads. All but Young are seniors or graduate students. 


The Irish average 52.7 points in the paint so far this year and that's where the Cards will have to be able to contain them. They allow a mere 27.2 points in the paint. 

Louisville is undefeated at 14-0. They have played and defeated two top 25 teams. They are one of two teams undefeated on the season, after Ohio fell to Central Michigan last night 88-70 in Athens, OH. The Cards defeated CMU 72-68 before Christmas break. The other undefeated squad besides the Cards is NC State and the Wolfpack goes up against Pitt tonight in Raleigh. 

This is the Cards first ever participation in a #1 vs. #2 match-up. They have Asia Durr


The Cards learned yesterday that "Nite-nite" had been named to the John Wooden mid-season top 25 list. She's one of five ACC players on that list. Ogunbowale, Young and Shepard from Notre Dame are on there. So is Tiana Mangakahia from Syracuse. 

The Cards' talent is deep beside Durr, though. Arica Carter is a dangerous three-point threat. Jazmine Jones is the Cards "do-everything" player.  Sam Fuehring provides the inside muscle, along with Kylee Shook and Bionca Dunham. Dana Evans comes off the bench with speed, quickness, scoring and defensive intensity. Lindsey Duvall is 12-28 from three-point range this season. Hoe big a factor will she and freshman defensive specialist Mykasa Robinson be? Louisville is probably the better team in terms of depth. Louisville is a quicker squad that Notre Dame and they have won the last two contests against pretty much this same Notre Dame lineup. 

Jeff Walz will tell you offensive accuracy and cutting down on turnovers are two keys to this one for the Cards. He expects a game "in the eighties" and he'll probably see that come close to fruition. 


Notre Dame will be fired up, seeking revenge and I fully expect them to come out strong and try to bury the Cards early. Louisville needs to withstand the early attempts at the knockout punch and try to create a big first quarter, like they did against UNC, NKU, Miami and Kentucky. 

We heard from Arica Carter and Jeff Walz yesterday. They previewed the game, the season and other things for the media in about a 1/2 hour press conference. You can see and hear that presser below.



We wonder what our buddy Tom's choice is tonight?
LINK: WALZ AND CARTER 1/9/19

We apologize that you can't hear the questions very well on the feed above. If you want a better quality audio where you can hear the questions but with no video, try the link below: 

LINK: WALZ AND CARTER 1/9/19 (AUDIO ONLY)

I urge you to review the presser. Walz and Carter are loose, engaged and ready to go take care of business. I got the same out of the entire team while watching practice yesterday. A chance to do what every player dreams of, come to school for. A chance to play "in a big-one", under the national spotlight and show what they've got. 



A potentially important factor will be the officiating. No "TV" Dee Kanter for this one. The crew will be Eric Brewton, Kevin Dillard and Karen Preato. They call a lot of ACC contests and the Cards are familiar with their game-management. 

Another sideline is McGraw vs. Walz. The history between those two is well-documented. 

Eric Crawford was at yesterday's presser. He has an interesting take on tonight's match-up. Read it at the link below: 

LINK:  CARDS VS. IRISH

Here we go. The highlight of the Cards WBB season so far. Louisville has been outscoring opponents by  20.0+ game a year this season. They probably don't get that huge a win tonight (in fact, another website has conducted a poll and 95% of the participants predict a Notre Dame win) but I will go in a different direction. UConn gave Coach Walz another blueprint on how to defeat the Irish earlier this season. UofL and Durr "show up" for the big games and the Cards have won 11 straight ACC road games. 

How do I see it? A win for the Red and Black tonight in South Bend is how I see it. Let's say 80-75. Asia has a huge, Asia Durr-type game and the Cards go to 15-0. Jaz thrills the watchers, Arica buries a few threes and Sam "does work" inside against the taller Irish. 

Regardless, though, of the outcome...it's a wonderful thing to see the Cards in the national spotlight. This is what they play for. Let's do it. We'll have a full recap tomorrow here at CARDINAL COUPLE. 

Today is "wear red" day to support our squad in Sound Bend. You know you look good in red, so...do it !! 

Your thoughts on the contest? Let us know in the comments section.   


OFF TOPIC, BUT...


-- Louisville MBB lost a exciting one last night at Pitt. Overtime. Half of Pitt's squad fouled out it seemed. The Cards unable to hit the big buckets in O.T., though.  

-- A player Cardinal fans grew to know over 2018, Maori Davenport, has been ruled ineligible for her senior high school season in Alabama. This seems a bit unfair, if you ask me, but...you decide. It won't affect her eligibility at Rutgers, though, in the 2019-20 season. The article link below: 

LINK: MAORI MISCHIEF?  

-- Yay! For Wilma Rivera ! She's been picked for the Puerto Rican National team. Louisville Volleyball's premier setter is all that...

-- After watching the WBB squad "do work" yesterday, I did wander over to the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium to watch them practice for a few minutes. A lively and spirited session, which was impressive given the cold and windy weather we're experiencing. Go LouLAX !  



paulie
xxxxx 




Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Countdown to Notre Dame -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


CARDS VS. IRISH


One of the games Louisville fans had on their schedule before the first game of the season ever tips off tomorrow.  Louisville and Notre Dame are set to square off in South Bend at the Purcell Pavilion.

With the UConn loss at Baylor last weekend a new team has claimed the spot in the charts.  The Irish, who also are the reigning national champions gladly took the No. 1 ranking in the AP Poll.  Louisville is close behind at No. 2, tying the highest ranking in program history.  The Irish had 12 first place votes and 715 overall.  The Cards received 10 first place votes and 708 overall.  The Huskies, who the Cardinals host in three weeks, fell to No. 3 with three first place votes and 701 total votes.

Going back to Louisville vs Notre Dame, this is the only scheduled match-up between the two teams this season, although these two teams facing each other in the ACC Tournament final is expected.  Last season, the only regular season match-up was hosted by the Cards at the KFC Yum! Center.  That win became memorial to UofL fans as the Cards crushed the Irish 100-67.  Asia Durr and Myisha Hines-Allen totaled Notre Dame's entire point total.

The Cards and Irish met in the ACC Championship game and played a much closer game.  Louisville trailed by two at halftime but came back in the second half to secure a two-point victory for their first ACC Championship.  The Cards claimed the conference title in the regular season and tournament.

This season, Louisville remained one of three undefeated teams remaining alongside NC State and the Ohio (Bobcats, not Ohio State Buckeyes).  Notre Dame is 14-1 after suffering an early season home loss to UConn 89-71.  The 71 points is the Irish's lowest point total of the season.

Notre Dame has wins over ranked opponents Oregon State, DePaul (receiving votes category), Gonzaga, and Marquette.  Their two conference wins came at home against Pittsburgh 100-44 and at Georgia Tech 76-55.  The Rambling Wreck was 11-3 going into the Notre Dame game. Even if it is rebuilding Pitt -- a 56-point victory against any opponent is certainly an impressive feat.

Averaging 90 points per game, Notre Dame's biggest threat is their offense.  They have a strong .345 three-point percentage despite only making four per game.  From the free throw line Notre Dame is shooting 75%, on par with the Cards, and make a whopping 17.5 per game.  With a high-scoring offense it's expected to see a high number of assists per game.  The Irish don't disappoint with 19.5 assists per game.

On the defensive side, the Irish have still been strong, but have had some tough times against high-powered offenses.  Notre Dame is allowing allows 64.1 pints per game.  They're holding teams to a .366 field goal percentage, fairly average for ranked teams' defenses.  The Irish force 16 turnovers per game, eight and a half of those being steals.  The Irish record five blocks per game.

Breaking down each quarter, opponents typically have their best quarter at the beginning of the game.  Notre Dame will crank things up the middle two quarters before relaxing in the final quarter.  Louisville and Notre Dame are similar with their fourth quarters.  Both squads usually have a sizable lead and will pull off the gas.  It's also the time of the game you see some of the reserve players come in to get playing time experience.

Louisville's best chance to win this game is to come out firing from the get-go.  Notre Dame has given up the most points in the first quarter and has not played catch-up much this season.  The worst thing for the Cards would be to start slow and go down big early.  The Irish don't give up leads once they take them and the crowd in the Purcell Pavilion can be unforgiving.

On the personnel side of things, Notre Dame returns four starters from last season in Arike Ogunbowale, Marina Mabrey, Jessica Shepard and Jackie Young. Two time All-ACC First team defender Brianna Turner is back also. The 6'3" redshirt senior sat out last year with a knee injury.
Those five do the bulk of the scoring for Notre Dame, no one else averages mote than five points a game for them.

A slimmed-down Jessica Shepard has really become one of the keys for the Itrish in the 2018-19 season. She lost 40 pounds over the summer-fall of 2018.

I expect Paulie will dive deeper into the match-up tomorrow and break down their starting five plus a whole lot more about the contest.

He'll also have the Jeff Walz/Arica Carter interview that takes place today at 12:30 down at the Cards practice facility on Floyd Street.

This game is a prime-time feature on ESPN, making it easy to find a place to watch it.  Let's hope the Cards shine in the national spotlight and perhaps earn their first ever No. 1 ranking come next week.


Happy Wednesday and Go Cards!

- Jared -