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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Several News and Notes Items -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

With there being few sports going on right now we don't have as much to report from a game-by-game perspective but the news coming out of Louisville athletics has been coming in waves lately.  Today we have all the news for you ranging from new rankings, to All-Americans, to new records, to coach resignations.

WBB Moves Up in the Rankings 

The AP Poll moved the Cards up to #4 in their most recent rankings, but the Coaches Poll did UofL one better in their updated rankings.  Louisville is now #3 in the nation in the most recent Coaches Poll.

UConn (9-0) and Notre Dame (8-1) hold the top two spots followed by our beloved Cards.  Baylor (7-0) and Mississippi State (9-0) round out the Top Five.  Louisville joins NC State and Maryland as the only teams to reach 10-0 on the season so far.

  Louisville is also one of 18 remaining undefeated teams out of the 351 D1 programs.

Women's Soccer All-Americans

Emina Ekic and Maisie Whitsett were named All-Americans by Top Drawer Soccer.  Ekic was named a third-team All-American while Whitsett was named to the All-Freshman team.

Ekic was also named an All-American by the United Soccer Coaches Poll earlier this year.  She scored seven goals and had five assists for a total of 19 points during her sophomore campaign.

Whitsett earned her first ever All-American honors.  The freshman led the team with nine goals while also adding two assists for 20 points.

Mallory Comerford Sets American Record

It comes as no surprise as Mallory Comerford continues to make waves with her record breaking performances.  I'd continue with my clever water jokes but many of you don't even laugh at my dry humor so we'll move on.

Comerford took home the silver medal in the 200 free with a time of 1:51.81.  She topped her own record set during the preliminaries which was 1:52.52.  Knocking that much time off in such a short span is nearly unthinkable.

She is accompanied by her UofL companions Zach Harting, Marcelo Acosta, and Carlos Claverie at the 14th FINA Short Course World Swimming Championships in Hangzhou, China.

Ken Lolla Resigns

It is rare for UofL to come out with news that appears to have come from left field, but it happened yesterday.  It was announced that Ken Lolla would be stepping down as the men's soccer head coach effective immediately.  Fans and media alike scrambled to find answers as there was very little known about it upfront.

I spoke with a few of the players as well as some of our colleagues in Daryl Foust, Paige Sherrard, and Mike Gilpatrick.  No one knew anything of it as it came as a surprise to all.

I had speculated early on that it was either to take a position with a professional team or to pursue something with his religious affiliations.  The latter turned out to be true as more media releases came in the evening.

"Thirteen years ago, God blessed Tina and I with the opportunity to come to Louisville and be a part of this amazing Cardinal family and the Louisville community.  We are forever grateful for the acceptance, support, and love we have received from the Louisville community.  It has been an honor and a privilege to represent such an outstanding institution and special community.  Recently, we have received similar promptings from God that it is time to seek new challenges.  We have always been faithful to those promptings and we will move forward faithfully, knowing there is a calling we are to fulfill," said Lolla.

Although their future is uncertain, Ken and Tina Lolla are confident that they are being led in the right direction as they continue to help everything and everyone around them.  Lolla built Akron into a national powerhouse before coming to Louisville and taking the Cards to 11 NCAA Tournaments appearances in his 13 years and owning 45% of all of the wins in program history.

Many of us have a favorite coach and Coach Lolla has been mine.  He and his family have been some of the biggest supporters of everything I have done post-graduation and I thank them for that.  Best wishes to the Lolla family wherever life may take them.

Men's Basketball Hosts Lipscomb

Coming off a loss at Indiana over the weekend, the men's basketball team hosts Lipscomb for a midweek match-up.  Perhaps we can lend them Asia Durr for a game or two as the senior on Jeff Walz's squad continues to show why she is the best player in women's basketball.

Sorry Muffet, but you're wrong.

From what appeared to be a season on the rebuild forr the men's squad when Chris Mack to the job, there is now talk among fans and media that the Cards just might take the men's version of the Battle of the Bluegrass against the Kentucky Wildcats. Mack has certainly taken the program and fans by storm.

Saturday Reminder

Just as an early reminder, UofL women's basketball tips off at 11:30 a.m., against Northern Kentucky this Saturday.  Yes, that is morning as in before lunchtime.  Because of the conflict it also means we will not be in studio this Saturday, but we will be playing highlights from the "Best of 2018" during the 11-12 hour.

Happy Wednesday and Go Cards!

- Jared -

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Durr named ACC WBB Player of the Week -- Cards ranked at #4 -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


After a week where she averaged 28.5 points per game in two contests, Asia Durr has been named the ACC Player of the Week. It's the third such honor for Durr in the 2018-19 season. She also received the award on Nov. 12th. and Dec. 3rd. 

Durr recorded 32 points in the 80-75 win over Kentucky on Sunday. On Tuesday night, against UT-Martin, Durr ended up with 25 points in the 102-62 win. 

Durr shot 49% in the two games...going 13-25 against the Wildcats and 8-18 against the SkyHawks. The Denny Crum Court has been friendly territory for the Douglasville, GA senior in the first five games of the current six-game home stand and she has 228 points for the season (22.8 a night) in ten games. The Cards close the home stand Saturday when (1-5) Northern Kentucky visits for an 11:30 a.m. contest. 

ACC Player of the Week accolades have been bestowed on Durr nine times in her career at Louisville. She owned the first quarter in the Cards most recent game against the Cats. She scored the first seven points for the Cards in the contest and ended the first 10-minute session with 15 points. 

The Cards face two more non-conference foes before entering ACC play. In addition to the NKU game, the Cards will travel to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan for a Thursday 12/20/18 contest against the 7-1 Central Michigan Chippewas. Currently unranked, CMU did advance to the Sweet Sixteen in the 2018 NCAA WBB Tournament.

Information for that one still not finalized but viewing is listed as of now on ESPN+.


Louisville women's basketball is now #4 in the NCAA women's college basketball rankings based on the most recent AP poll. The Cards are one of nine undefeated teams in the top 25. 

UConn retains the #1 spot, getting all 31 first place votes. The Huskies are 9-0 on the season. Notre Dame is #2 with a 8-1 record. Baylor takes #3 with a 7-0 mark. The Cards (10-0) are fourth and Mississippi State rounds out the top 5...the Bulldogs are 9-0 this season. 

Despite losing to Louisville, UK moved up one spot to #18. 

The undefeated teams are UConn, Baylor, Louisville, Miss. State, Maryland (9-0), Tennessee (8-0), NC State (10-0) Minnesota (8-0) and California (9-0). 

Besides Notre Dame, Louisville and NC State, other ACC teams in the top 25 are #15 Syracuse and #24 Miami. Both schools are 8-2 on the season. 

The ACC, SEC and PAC 12 dominate the top 25 with five schools each in the top 25. Tennessee, Miss. State, Kentucky, South Carolina and Missouri are the SEC representatives. From the PAC 12...Cal, Arizona State, Stanford, Oregon and Oregon State are top 25. 

The Cards have played two top 25 teams in Arizona State and UK and are 2-0 against them. Still to come, top 25 match-ups feature Notre Dame, UConn, NC State, Syracuse and Miami. 

Last weeks Bracketology predictions had Louisville as a #1 seed in the Greensboro region.

With roughly 1/3 of the season in the books, the Cards have performed well on the road and at the KFC YUM! Center. Let's face it, though, the toughest part of the schedule remains and the odds for the Cards to remain perfect going into the ACC and NCAA Tournaments are a considerable long-shot.  

How do you think the Cards will finish the regular season? Undefeated? One loss? Two or three losses? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section! 

One game at a time, though, is how UofL approaches them, far, perfect! 

Halfway to the 20-0 record that the 2017-18 Cards started the season...sit down, buckle up and get ready for the journey! 


We are very grateful and always happy to have WBB analyst and Cardinal Sports Zone columnist Paige Sherrard  join us on our weekly broadcasts of The CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR. As well as seeing her at UofL WBB games. Her love for all things UofL fits perfectly with our thinking and she's been a Cardinal fan since her early days, when "Mom" would dress her up as a cheerleader and unleash her on unsuspecting but appreciative crowds and gatherings.  

It's Paige's birthday today! Wish her a Happy Birthday via Twitter at @PaigeS_502 !!!



Monday, December 10, 2018

Sea of Red sees Cards defeat UK WBB 80-75 -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Another classic Battle of the Bluegrass yesterday in the KFC YUM! Center as Louisville WBB holds on after squandering an 18-point lead to down Kentucky by five in front of 13786 screaming fans Sunday afternoon. 

The fans had plenty to yell about. A Cardinal team that looked invincible in the third quarter after a close first half. A Cats squad that did not buckle under the pressure after falling behind 18 points in the third quarter. Frustration about the Cards 41% free throw shooting in the final quarter. Outrage at maybe the most ridiculous technical foul assessed to Louisville this season. All the elements were in place to create a situation that ultimately ended with a lot of Cardinal fans leaving with feelings of relief that victory was secured and UK fans walking out wondering "what might have been" if the defense had been a little stouter earlier. 

This was a contest early on that featured an Asia Durr 7 - Cats 7 start, after the senior All-American provided the Cards offense in the first two minutes. UofL used a 5- 0 run to take a 12-7 lead after Sam Fuehring completed an "and one" a minute later. Louisville held that five-point lead for the quarter with Dana Evans knocking down a jumper with 25 second before the horn. 

Evans also started the scoring to open the second quarter. Several fans commented to me that they were puzzled by Arica Carter's lack of minutes in the contest, but with Evans performing the way she was on both ends of the court, Walz made the decision to keep the diminutive point-guard from Gary, Indiana out there. Her free throws gave Louisville a 34-27 edge with 2:30 before the halftime break and Durr's two charity tosses secured a 36-29 halftime edge for the red-clad home team, an interesting choice of uniforms, arguably to support the "red out" promotion..while UK was clad in the white. 

Louisville was bucketing the ball and that was good for a 16 for 29 half of shooting for 55%. UK at 38%...hindered by a less than spectacular 4-15 effort in the second session of ten minutes. Cardinal fans gladly, but a bit nervously, eyed the lead while wondering if the Cats had a run still to come. 

One thing UK was proficient at was knocking Durr around like a cue ball on a billiards table. Between UK's trio of Maci Morris, Rhyne Howard and Taylor Murray...Durr was getting pummeled like a defenseless quarterback under siege by the Chicago Bears defense. Asia shrugged it off and even smiled about it in the post-game presser. Just a part of the college game were her words.

Nevertheless, the Cards came out on fire in the third. A Jazmine Jones three-ball, followed by a Durr trifecta and then a Fuehring basket plus free throw gave the Cards an early 9-4 run in the first two minutes of the second half to push the lead to 45-33. That would grow to 57-39 (the Cards biggest lead of the game) with three minutes left in the quarter when Jones went coast-to-coast to put in a layup. A minute later, a beautifully timed lob to Jones for an alley loop basket had the YUM! Center patrons in a frenzied delight.  Then, inexplicably and incredulously Jones was whistled for a technical foul. She was stunned, the fans were stunned and Jeff Walz argued the call vociferously with head referee Joe Vaszily. He's not nicknamed "silly Joe" without good reason, you know.

Jones had yelled "Let's Go!" after the alley-oop went in.

Either those two words are a couple that really tick off this officiating crew or her vocal delight was mis-heard and mis-understood. It was the start of a 8-2 run for the Cats after the free throws and subsequent possession. The Cards recovered, though, and finished the quarter up by 15. Bionca Dunham on a excellently-timed bucket and free throw and an Evans basket. It appeared the Cards might have the Cats searching for the exit and the quarter ended with Louisville up 67-52. 

Give credit to Matthew Mitchell and his squad for succeeding on their strategy to get back in the contest. In what might have seemed like the longest ten minutes in Louisville play this season, the Cats employed the "let's foul them and see if they can earn it from the line" ploy. 

It was the right employment and worked well. 

The lead started to drop. From 17 to 10 halfway through the fourth. Louisville was sinking either just one of the two free throws they were getting, or none at all. The Cats were scoring on their possessions. Asia Durr was having trouble finding the range on three-pointer attempts and, despite a eye-popping swat of a Rhyne Howard layup by Jones, the Cards had seen the lead evaporate to five with two minutes remaining. 

The Cards had 12 free throw attempts in those final two minutes. Five went in. UK sank two free throws with 27 seconds remaining to get within four at 77-73. It was nervous time in the downtown arena. 

Fortunately, UK never got closer than four. A Fuehring free throw with 14 seconds set the tally at 79-73 and Carter hit one of two with 5 seconds to set the final numbers 80-75. The Cards win. Despite being out-scored 23-13 in the final quarter. Louisville remains undefeated at 10-0 and Kentucky takes their first defeat of the season to set their record at 9-1.

Asia Durr early made this win possible. Despite 2-10 three point shooting (I still say she had dead legs in the fourth quarter, something she denied in the post-game interviews) Durr's theatrics for three quarters helped UofL construct an advantage.

The first seven points, 17 in the first quarter, 24 by halftime. Despite the tae-kwon-do, defense-by-mugging tactics UK employed. 

Walz played nine players in the contest, but three of them combined for just 14 minutes (out of the 200 minutes available). I'll not question the substitution patterns. He's with them every day and knows what he's got.  


I think we all needed water (or something stronger) after Sunday. 
Free Throws -- 15-28 is 53.6% I won't say anything else about it. I've already got Coach Walz mad at me about my earlier question about them. No letter awarded

Rebounds -- UofL held a 32-28 edge in grabs. Fuehring and Dunham with seven each. Jazz added six. The number, while a "win" for Walz's squad, pales when you consider that the Cards managed only six on the offensive boards and gathered only six second-chance points. I'll offer a lower case "r" here, but it could easily be a "no letter". 

Effort/Execution -- The Cards definitely hustled all game and had a 12-0 fast-break-for points edge. Seven steals and 13 forced turnovers. 56% shooting is excellent. They had no answers for Rhyne Howard (25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists) but they just may have faced the SEC Freshman of the Year yesterday. Just seven turnovers for Walz's Warriors. I'll award the capital "E" here. 

Defense -- Louisville held UK to a 43.3% shooting percentage. They shut down long range threat Maci Morris ( 11 points in 26 minutes ) but senior Taylor Murray and Howard went for 43 points on 14-29 combined shooting, You can defend free throws and the Cats did excel there with a 16-19 success rate. (84.2%) 75 points a bit higher than Louisville normally allows. I'm OK with designating a lower case "d" for the defense. 

FRED RECAP:  _-r-E-d


Louisville did what they needed to do to win the Battle of The Bluegrass. Five players in double figures (Durr's 32, Fuehring with 12, Jones added 12, Dunham contributing 11 and Evans ending with 10). 

A game yesterday that Louisville was never really in danger of losing but a game where UK dominated the final quarter, a quarter that has been their worst quarter so far this year. Kudos to the incredible hustle and spirit of Jazmine Jones, Durr's "oh-it's-time-for-another-big-game-performance" afternoon and solid battling in the paint from Fuehring and Dunham. 

An example of the beating performed on
Asia yesterday (From Charlie Springer's
UofL Card Game website -- Photo credit to
Cindy Rice Shelton) Taking it on the chin...
I'm not overly concerned with the lack of minutes from Shook or Carter. You win as a team and you go with whose hot. We don't know how much Shook's tendinitis affected her time or performance and Carter contributed well in her time out there. 

This was a game most Cardinal fans thought would be a close win for Louisville and they got just that. Maybe not in the way expected, but, any landing you can walk away from is a good one and Louisville flew through some choppy weather, weathered a slew of questionable "calls" and "no calls" from the stripes and scored the most points. 

The team will take it. The fans will accept it. I'm happy about it. A fun afternoon in front of a vocal and enthused sea of red that hung on every shot, play and sequence. 

An opponent that refused to roll over. A home squad that gutted out a quite physical win. College basketball, with all it's many twists and turns, was in fine display yesterday by the river.


Post-game comments below: 






Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sunday Cardinal Couple - Rivalry Day


Merrian-Webster defines "rival" as "one of two or more striving to reach or obtain something that only one can possess".

On first glance, that doesn't seem to capture everything that is a rivalry.  But when you stop and think about it, it is the core of the concept.  Only one team can hold bragging rights for the state of Kentucky in women's basketball.  In a series like UofL and UK, someone is a winner, and someone is a loser in the game, only one can be that winner.

But what makes a rivalry different than any other competition, as all of the above holds true for any series between two teams.

Frquently, there is a geographical component.  Most of the great rivalries (at least at the college sports level) are between teams that are relatively near each other.  Duke vs UNC, Pitt vs WVU, Ohio State vs Michigan; all of these schools are relatively close to each other geographically.

OK, that's interesting and all, but that certainly can't explain the phenomenon.

What I think may be one of the most important factors is relatively equality between the teams.  As
much as there's a tendency to trash talk a rival, and brag about how much better your team is than the rival's team...ultimately, most rivals have a relatively balanced competitive landscape, and tend to be from relatively similar school.  When you look at UofL and UK, you end up seeing a lot of similarities.  The schools are in the ballpark of the same size (UK is a bit larger, but not radically so), they're located in the two largest cities in the state (Louisville is definitely larger than Lexington, but they're both mid-sized cities in the overall scheme of things), they have a broadly similar set of academic programs available (yes, each school has programs unique to itself, but there are many degree programs in the same fields at both schools).

Rivaly, it seems, is largely about similarity, competitiveness, and least broadly.

I mentioned this on the Cardinal Couple Radio Show yesterday.  Rivalry games aren't fun when they're blowouts all the time.

So, when you're on that message board, or poised over the "Publish" button on that comment box, maybe take a second and think about the broader picture.

The trash talking and posturing can be fun (though I personally find I tend to tire of it fairly quickly), but maybe think about whether you really want a blowout of a game and the other team to be totally humiliated.  You probably don't, in reality.  It's OK not to admit that on that message board, or comment thread, but do keep it in the back of your mind, and consider, even if just for a moment, that the folks on the other side of that rhetorical Maginot Line, assuming they think it through like this, probably feel the same way.

The Deets

Gameday is here.  Louisville vs Kentucky.  Arguably, one of the greatest overall basketball rivalries of all time, comes to Louisville today.  2pm is the tip and for you out of towners, it is available on the ACC Network Extra.  If you're in town, well, it's still available on the ESPN streaming setup, but really, there's no excuse for not getting down to the KFC Yum! Center today.

 It is a Red Out, so wear red (and, yes, we accept that "The Guv" will be in blue today, that's fair.).  It is the annual Pack The House Promotion as well.  Today is also a Toy Drive for Family Scholar House, a fantastic organization that strives to break the cycle of poverty and support single-parents working to get a college education through housing and so many other programs that celebrate and support both the parent and the children's work in their education.

You can get a $4 ticket for admission either by showing your Kroger Plus Card for the Pack the House promotion, or by bringing a toy for Family Scholar House.  At this point, you're probably going to be sitting in the upper deck as more than 11,000 tickets have already been sold (as of the latest I heard yesterday), but the atmosphere should be electric, and the basketball should be amazing between two Top 20 and undefeated, teams.

We started a "name the winner and score" prediction revelation yesterday on the radio. On the Cards winning side of the ledger, Paulie sees it 78-73, Daryl 79-63, Jared 84-78 and Worldwide Jeff McAdams 86-83. We've also had people weigh in on the score verbally. Sonya went 55-49 UofL and Paulie's pal Hollywood says 100-79 UofL. Via comments on the site here, we've had Joe Hill 67-58 Cards, K.Starks 82-64 Cards, "The Guv" 77-61 UK and an e-mail from "someone who is well familiar with the UofL WBB squad" who went 77-67 Cards.

You can weigh in also in the comments section. We'll send you either a Panera or Famous Dave's Gift Card if you pick the winning team and are closest to the final score.

Fire away!

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

Daryl joined Paulie, Jared, and I in the studio yesterday for the weekly Cardinal Couple Radio Hour, and a fun time was had by all.  We had a great hour-long discussion about the African Pygmy-Kingfisher.  I learned that they are a monogamous breed of birds whose habitat is pretty much all of African with the exception of the Sahara.  They burrow, or inhabit the abandoned burrows of other animals....

Wait, that's not right.

We had a great discussion about the upcoming rivalry basketball game of course.  Jared, Paulie, and Daryl previewed the UK team and what we should expect from this game.  I fiddled with knobs and buttons and forgot to double-check that the audio stream was coming across on Facebook Live at the beginning...sorry for that.

You can check the replay, including the pantomimed intros, at:

Daryl is deciding on permanent walk-up music, so if you have suggestions for her, throw them in the comments.


Saturday, December 8, 2018

A Statistical Look Nine Games In -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

How is Louisville Women's Basketball Doing So Far?

With a bit of a lull in the early winter schedule, it has been great timing for Louisville to be taking on Kentucky in women's basketball. Here on Cardinal Couple we've been bringing you seemingly non-stop previews of tomorrow's game, and I'm going to do a bit of that myself.

I'd like to look at how Louisville looks from a statistical standpoint so far this season, and then project how that might look against the Kentucky squad they'll face on Sunday. If you'll indulge me, we'll look at the season long FRED and CASE Reports to this point and then compare those season stats to the Wildcats and see what we see.

The FRED Report

F-Free Throws: On the season, Louisville has taken 16.3 free throws per game. They're not getting to the line an outstanding amount so far this season, but they are making 77.4% of those shots. 147 of their 781 total points (or 18.8%) have come from the line. On a per game basis, that would be 14.5% of their points. Louisville needs to continue to get to the line and make the free ones to succeed this season. They are scoring otherwise, but if you do not continue to make free throws, teams will prevent you from scoring by just fouling. For the record, that 77.4% puts them at a capital F.

Kentucky is getting to the foul line 16.8 times per game and only allows opponents 9.3. Louisville allows 12.7. The Cards will have to force Kentucky to foul, while also avoiding fouls themselves. This game could come down to free throws late, and it may finish with a very close overall foul/free throw number.

R-Rebounds: Louisville is averaging only 38.6 rebounds per game, which is good for 6 better than their opponents. Ideally, those numbers would be much higher. When you look at the offensive rebounds on the season, Louisville and their opponents are tied at 112. While Louisville has been making more shots this year, which would drive that offensive number down, their opponents haven't. This means that the Cards are giving up far too many second chance opportunities. For outrebounding the opponents, there has to be some credit given, but the Cards have got to clamp down on the defensive end and prevent second chance points. Lowercase r.

Kentucky, on the other hand, is being outrebounded on the year. They're only pulling down 36.7, which is a stat that Louisville can really exploit. They have grabbed 136 offensive rebounds, which is more than Louisville, but they're getting hammered defensively. This will come down to a battle of positioning, and the Cards will need to win it to prevent easy points.

E-Effort/Execution: Louisville has been all over the court this year, scoring 100+ on three separate occasions. The Cards have turned the ball over more times than would be preferred, but they still have a positive turnover margin. They're scoring 50% of their field goals, getting to the line more often than their opponents, outrebounding, and scoring more points off of turnovers. They're fouling at about an even rate, but still doing pretty well overall. And they're 9-0. I'd have to grant them a capital E for their efforts so far this year.

Kentucky has also been strong. They're not shooting as well, just 40%, but they're turning the ball over far less than their opponents, getting to the line a lot, and obviously scoring more off of turnovers.They're drawing a lot of fouls and they too are 9-0. Both teams will be hard at work tomorrow.

D-Defense: Louisville has been very strong on defense so far this year. Their average margin of
victory is 24 points. They're out-rebounding, out-blocking, and out-stealing their opponents. They've forced more turnovers and they're holding opponents to only 38% shooting from the floor and 29.6% shooting from behind the arc. I would say that is good enough for a captial D.

Kentucky is not blocking well and we've talked about the rebounds, but they are stealing the ball a ton and they're outscoring opponents about as well as Louisville. They're only allowing 38.8% shooting as well and only 31.3% from the arc. Both teams will be playing top notch defense and we'll see who bends and who breaks.

The CASE Report

C-Care: Louisville has turned over the ball 146 times on the season, compared to 183 for their opponents. That looks like a pretty big gap, but the per game margin is only 4.1. Looking at the opponent averages, you would expect Louisville's opponents to have forced 159.1 turnovers through their games. Louisville is still below that, but they're nowhere near the 70% number I'm looking for. That would be a lowercase c.

Kentucky has turned the ball over fewer than half of the times of their opponents and they're in the top five in turnovers forced per game. Louisville will have to be more cautious with the ball.

A-Assists: On 281 made baskets this year, Louisville has 168 assists. That's up near 60%, which I find very good. Assists lead to higher percentage shots. Higher percentage shots lead to more points, which usually lead to wins. However, their season-long assist-to-turnover ratio is only 1.2. That low ratio indicates that Louisville is throwing the ball away or failing to make the extra pass when they should at about the same rate as they're earning assists. That's still good for a lowercase a.

Kentucky is not a fantastic assisting team. They've got 128 on 246 made baskets, which is still better than 50% but not by much. Their assist-to-turnover ratio is only 1.1, so that's somewhere the teams are similar. If Louisville can avoid Kentucky's defensive pressure and prevent turnovers, they could take advantage of this matchup.

S-Steals: With 97 steals on the season compared to only 65 for the opponents, Louisville is achieving both benchmarks in steals. Their benchmark would be 67.5, so they're actually holding their opponents under that number as well.

Kentucky has a lot of steals. They average 14 per game, which is 4 more than Louisville. This is part of the reason that their forced turnovers are so high. I can't stress enough how important Louisville's guard play will be in this matchup. Capital S

E-Efficiency: The Cards are shooting better than 50% from the floor, 40% from three, and 77% from the stripe. The ball is finding the bottom of the net, which is what we expected from them this year. A lot of those are coming from jump shots, too, which means there is still room to find players inside and out on offense. Jeff Walz's offensive playbook is wide open with how Louisville has been playing so far. Look for the Cards offense to continue to drive this team as the season wears on.

Kentucky is shooting at 40/40/76, so pretty similar. They are not getting as many shots inside, which should be a benefit for Louisville, as they are good protectors of the rim and have pretty strong defensive guards.

Overall, the Cards are earning a F-r-E-D and c-a-S-E on the season. There is room for improvement, but Louisville is performing pretty well. On paper, tomorrow's game is pretty close. We will see if the homecourt advantage helps the Cards and which team will bring more energy. I'd expect a close game, but would love to see Louisville run away.

The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

I'm off of the air for the next few weeks as life gets in the way, but that doesn't mean Cardinal Couple
Radio Hour will stop. Jeff, Jared, and Paulie are joined in the studio by Daryl Foust this week, and they'll bring you the joy and excitement of Louisville women's athletics as always. Tune into WCHQ FM on 100.9 FM,, the WCHQ App, or on Facebook Live at 11AM.

I would suspect a whole lot of basketball will be talked about.

Until next time, Go Cards!

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Look into the Weekend -- A Preview of Kentucky -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

A Look into the Weekend

Ah, Friday is here at last.  There's no greater feeling than looking forward to the weekend.  As always, there are a few UofL sports in action and one major game coming up.

Saturday, Dec. 8

Men's basketball travels to Bloomington to take on Indiana at 2:30 p.m.  Sitting at 6-2, Chris Mack has lead his team to some impressive victories including wins against Michigan State and Seton Hall.  This game can be found on FOX.

The Cards get to face the "one who got away" freshman Romeo Langford. IU does have a win over Marquette, a team that beat UofL this year.

Sunday, Dec 9

Women's basketball will host rival Kentucky at 2:00 p.m.  This is one of those games that's circled on the schedule at the beginning of the season.  The Battle of the Bluegrass will feature a pair of undefeated teams, sitting at 9-0 each.  Unfortunately, I will have to miss seeing that I will be performing in a concert at the same time (great planning, right?).

Scouting Kentucky


No. 19 Kentucky enters the match-up 9-0 with their most recent victory coming at home against Rhode Island last night, 75-52.  They have wins against NCAA Tournament teams from last year: Virginia (63-51) and UCLA (75-74).

The Cats have outscored opponents 719-497 so far this season.  The 79.9 points per game is fairly average for early season, but the defense allowing 55.2 points per game is something to make note of.

Defensively, Kentucky is one of the better teams out there.  They're forcing nearly 27 turnovers per game and are right at 14 steals per game.  Their 32 blocks on the year puts the average at about 3.6 per game, enough to make you think twice about driving in the lane.

Sending the Wildcats to the free throw line might not be a good idea as they are shooting .763 on the year.  Their three-point shooting is equally as dangerous, with an average right at .400.

Kentucky's biggest weakness might be the rebounding category, were they have been out-rebounded 342-330.  41% of their total rebounds have been offensive, a higher rate than the more-common 33.3%.  It's the defensive rebounding where Kentucky has struggled and been dominated.

There are three major scorers for the Wildcats: Rhyne Howard (164), Maci Morris (157) and Taylor Murray (133).  If you compare that to Lousiville, Asia Durr has 196 and Sam Fuehring is nearly 100 behind with only 97.  That trio of Blue players will be tough to for Louisville's defense to shut down.

Howard (62) and Keke McKinney (46) have been the major threats down low on the boards.  Fuehring is the closest to those numbers for Louisville with 58, but both Kylee Shook and Jazmine Jones are in the 40's.  Depending on foul trouble the rebounding could be a major key to victory in this one.

Murray is a solid scorer, but her passing is more dangerous.  She's tallied 39 of Kentucky's 128 assists and has been a great senior leader for Matthew Mitchell's squad.

Jeff Walz vs Matthew Mitchell

Both men became head coaches of their respective programs in time to start the 2007-2008 season.

The two had completely different starts to their careers at these programs.

Mitchell came to Kentucky after coaching Morehead State for two years.  Kentucky's program began to turn around in his third season, the year he earned SEC Coach of the Year honors and led the team to a 28-8 record.  Mitchell has made it to the Elite Eight three times, the last appearance in the Elite Eight was in the 2012-13 season. Last year, the Cats did not make the NCAA Tournament with only a 15-17 record.

Mitchell had previous experience at UK, having been an assistant coach there from 2003-2005.

Walz was an associate head coach at Maryland before getting called up to Louisville.  He found immediate success in Louisville, guiding the Cards to their first ever Final Four appearance in his second season, falling to UConn in the championship.  Louisville has made it to the Final Four three times and appeared in the NCAA Championship twice.

Louisville is 5-6 against Kentucky since the two coaches have taken over.  The Cards have won two straight in the series.

The gang (Jeff, Paulie and Daryl) and I review this matchup and these coaches more on THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR,  on WCHQ 100.9 FM and Facebook Live Saturday at 11 a.m. and we'd love to have you join us! Go to the website to listen live as well and be sure to download the WCHQ app while you are there.

Happy Friday and Go Cards!

- Jared -

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Lacrosse Releases Schedule -- Field Hockey News -- Preview of Cats -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Year two of "Teeter's Term" begins on Feb 8th. Officially, that is, with a game in Evanston against Northwestern. Long before that, Coach Scott, Kay Morrissette, Renee Poullett and the squad will be practicing, preparing and planning for the season and, from the eyeball test, it looks to be a challenging and exciting schedule. Who will be some of the players to get to know?

Only one senior on the Lacrosse roster, and she's a great one in Tessa Chad. In her first year donned in the Red and Black, she was second leading scorer on the squad with 42 goals. She played in all 17 Louisville Lacrosse matches. Before the Cards, she was with Teeter at Canisius and earned quite a few MAAC honors in two year as a Golden Griffin. 

The Blaylock sisters return for their sophomore year. Midfielder Caroline made second team ALL-ACC last season and led Louisville in scoring with 45 goals. Sister Sarah is also a midfielder and had eight scores in the 17 games. Lexie Ball is back to compete for the starting goalkeeper role and her backup Jen Schaaf is back as well. 

Freshman Shay Clevenger is a name you might want to get to know. She was ranked #32 in the Inside Lacrosse Top 49 Young Gun Seniors for the 2018 season. The defender played at Marriots Ridge high school, where the Blaylock sisters played. 

A roster of 24 student-athletes that includes 11 sophomores and nine freshmen. Geographical breakdown of the roster shows nine players from Maryland, four from New York, three from Canada, two each from North Carolina, New Jersey and Virginia and one apiece from Kentucky and Florida.  

After the opener against Northwestern in Evanston, the Cards travel to play Marquette on Feb 10th. and then at Denver on Feb.,16th. 

They'll take the pitch for the home opener on Feb.24th against Mercer. Vandy stops by next on Feb 27th. to close out February action. 

March finds the Cards in South Bend to face the Irish of Notre Dame on the 2nd. They'll find out if the Butler did it on March 6th up in Naptown and return home for action against Duke on March 6th. A trip to Pittsburgh will bring a match against Duquesne on the 11th. Back home, the Cards will invite Cincinnati in on the 13th., and Syracuse on the 17th. 

A few days with action before they travel to Blacksburg to go gobbler hunting at Virginia Tech on the 23rd. Then, it's back to the Ville for three in a row to close the home part of the schedule...Delaware on the 31st., North Carolina on April 7th., and Ohio State  on the 9th. 

Louisville concludes the regular season travelling. They'll visit Virginia on April 13th. and Boston College on the 19th. The ACC Lacrosse Tournament is in Boston this year and that begins on April 24th. 

A challenging 2019? You bet. Seven of the Cards foes participated in the NCAA Tournament last year. The Cards went 5-1 early in the 2018 schedule before losing 10 out of the last 11 to finish 6-11. This year's squad should have better luck of it, it's easy to see at least equaling last year's wins and maybe even getting a few more to hit double figure wins and achieve Teeter's first ACC victory. 

We'll cover and report on all the LAX efforts here at the Couple. Go Cards! 


Congratulations to three of Justine Sowry's "stick girls", who received NFHCA DI All-American honors! 

Senior Ayeshia McFerran took first-team accolades, the goalkeeper extraordinaire became the first Cardinal in history to be named to the All-American team for all four of her four years at UofL. The best goalkeeper in the world was named to the third team as a freshman and first team her sophomore and junior years. Her accolades at Louisville would take me a full hour to list here...she is the best to ever step on the Trager Stadium turf and will have a long and successful career playing for the Irish National team now. 

Sophomore Mercedes "Meche" Pastor was honored with second team status. She showed her magician-like skills with the stick and ball for the Cards this season and added this award to her All-West Region and ACC first team selections. At 5'1", the Buenos Aires native meets the qualifications for our "Attack Yorkie" status and we look forward to the next two years of seeing her baffle, confuse and score on the competition. The "pastor" is in the pulpit again! All rise and rejoice! 

Senior Taylor Stone caps off a very successful student-athlete time here at the Ville with third-team honors. This is the second time she's made All-American status and the Herndon, VA native was also named to the All-West and ACC squads this year. She's also a part of the USA Field Hockey National Development squad. 

We wish all three the best of luck as they continue their skills on the field for Louisville and beyond in 2019! 


Since I'll be out of the CARDINAL COUPLE writing rotation until Monday, I thought I'd provide a few thoughts and observations on the upcoming UofL vs. UK women's basketball game this Sunday at the KFC YUM! Center.  

Rest assured that Jared, Case and Jeff will provide much more in the next three days about the annual "Battle of the Bluegrass". Be sure to check back here for their columns. The Sunday contest should be all that's advertised. It is a "red out" so dress accordingly! 


Maci Morris and Taylor Murray run the show out front for Matthew Mitchell's squad and they've been quite successful in helping UK go 8-0 so far. Morris poured in 31 points last time out for UK in a 87-57 win over Morehead. Point guard Murray leads the squad in assists and has 13 against the Eagles. She's showing a brand new confidence out front and has picked up her aggressiveness this season. Backups Blair Green and Jaida Roper are quite capable of providing quality backup minutes. We'll cover another guard below. 


Rhyne Howard has come in and found instant success. The freshman, who played under Walz on the FIBA Americas squad, leads UK in scoring with 18.1 p.p.g. She's listed at 6'2" and classified as a guard. She also leads UK in three-pointers made (23-45) for 51% and has the highest rebounds per game average at 6.9 a night. 


Keke McKinney , a 6'1" sophomore and Tatyana Wyatt, a 6'2" sophomore are the other two probable starters for UK and prowl the paint. They combine for 8.3 p.p.g. a night and 8.5  grabs a contest. They could be the "weak links" in the UK configuration and an area where the Cards try to capitalize. 

Sam, Kylee and Bionca should prosper. 


The Cats are 8-0 and their wins have come against Alabama St., Southern, Virginia, High Point and Morehead at home. They won the Paradise Jam Tournament with wins over South Florida, UCLA and UNC. A two-point squeaker against the Bruins. Every thing else has been by 10 points or more. They downed the ACC Cavs by 12 and the Tar Heels by 10.

They are ranked #19 by the AP. This will be their first top 25 test of the season. 

We'll have much more on the match-up in the following days.  If you want a sneak peek of UK, you can catch them tonight against Rhode Island in Lexington on the SEC Network tonight at 7 p.m.

(The weekly Paulie Podcast is up and you can hear him ramble at the following link):

Paulie Podcast for 12/6/18