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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The road awaits...


WELCOME TO TUESDAY @ CARDINAL COUPLE:
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-The road test.
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-Schimmel named BIG EAST Freshman of the WEEK.
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Lady CARD FAN and CARDINAL COUPLE Staff Psychiatrist Dr. Ted likes going on road trips. Pictured here shortly before the Beef O Brady Bowl game, Teddy never misses a UofL womens home game and it wouldn't surprise us if he hits the road for the LADY CARDS next two...or at least sends a consultant to be available for distraught fans or players.
(Photo by Tilly).
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Wednesday night, Jeff Walz takes his 12-5 LADY CARD basketball team to South Bend, IN. to face the dangerous #13 Notre Dame Irish in Purcell Pavilion. The Cards can expect a loud crowd of 7000+ to be in the stands cheering on Muffet McGraw's BIG EAST Squad.
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Purcell Pavilion is a snake pit for opposing teams. Back when it was the Joyce Center, I had the chance to combine a little business with pleasure and attend a UofL / Irish game there back in 2007. It was Tom Collen's final year at Louisville...the Cards had Angel McCoughtry, Jazz Covington, Patrika Barlow and Tise Wright...but could not beat the Irish that night, losing 64-55. There weren't many red jerseys in the place. Forget about sitting behind the Cardinal bench...I was delegated to an upper corner of the gym...and got my fair share of fan vitriol and abuse. Lexington can be rough for a visiting fan. UofL games at Bowling Green were interesting back when WKU had Crystal Kelly and were a good team. Both venues fall short of the fan fervor that exists in South Bend for the Irish. I was very glad to get back to the hotel room...
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After the trip to South Bend, Louisville goes to visit Geno and the Huskies. Another tough venue to play in there...whether it's the XL Center or Gampel Pavilion. Connecticut fans are a very self righteous bunch and get very defensive when anyone speaks badly of their program. WE'VE felt the wrath of them here at CARDINAL COUPLE. It was even suggested to US by a very well known associate of the University of Louisville women's basketball program that we "take it easy" on Geno and UConn in CARDINAL COUPLE comments and columns. "We don't want him on our bad side." We listened. We parody a lot of things here at CARDINAL COUPLE...but know when to shut up, too.
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UConn has set the bar for the rest of the schools in womens college WBB to strive for. Doesn't mean you can't root against them, though. If there is anything akin to a Marlon Brando "godfather" figure in women's college basketball...we'd go with Geno as the portrayer. We'll take suggestions on who can fill in for Sonny, Michael and Fredo.
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So, how will this current crop of LADY CARDS handle the toughest road trip of the season? The Cards are young and only Keisha Hines, Becky Burke and Monique Reid have made those visits to Irish and Husky land for regular season games. The Cards have been in a couple of hostile, loud environments this year...namely Xavier and Old Dominion...but nothing can prepare you for the experience about to unfold. They also lost in both places.
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Jeff Walz is a combined 1-9 against the two schools lifetime as a head coach. Walz is 86-38 lifetime at Louisville...so almost 25% of his defeats have been at the hands of Geno and Muffet.
We hope the Cards do well and play their game against both squads. A win over either on the road would be huge. Avoiding blowouts like the 18 and 46 point defeats administered by the two (in Freedom Hall, no less) is crucial. This isn't last year's version of Louisville, though and WE truly believe you could send newcomers Shoni Schimmel, Tia Gibbs and Charmaine Tay to go play basketball on the moon in spacesuits and it wouldn't faze or shake them. Burke, Reid and Hines have been there, done that and if the three's are finding net...could be interesting.
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Two games. Two chances to catapult UofL back into the national women's basketball spotlight. Shame that there isn't any TV for either of these. We'll be watching on the radio, though. Good luck, ladies....
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Shoni Schimmel has been named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week for the third time this season. Schimmel had 11 points and 11 assists in the win over St. John's and 15 points and seven assists in Louisville's beating of Pitt. Schimmel leads the BIG EAST in assists this season with 100 in 17 games. Better stay alert when the precocious point guard is on the court...she fires passes faster and with more accuracy than Brian Brohm used to zip to the Cardinal football receivers. And some of hers are "no look" and the length of the court. Makes one wonder if UofL football coach Charlie Strong would consider...nah...never mind, bad idea. Some of those BIG EAST defensive lineman are pretty big guys and the Cards have two excellent quarterbacks on the way for 2011. "Show-time" in a helmet and shoulder pads...someone needs to 'photoshop' that visual....
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