Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Big East getting some separation
TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-BIG EAST Review and Comments
-Women's golf on the links
The BIG EAST womens' basketball participants are at the point in the conference schedule where they have just four or five games remaining. Some separation has occurred in the standings. Today, we'll take a look at where the teams are...they we think they'll finish in conference play and make a few comments:
CONNECTICUT 12-0, 23-1
The Huskies looked very dominating against a good Oklahoma Sooners team Monday Night. The only real weakness here is the lack of a deep bench. So far, they haven't
needed it. They finish with a couple of tough tests. Hosting Notre Dame will be a dog fight. Hosting Seton Hall a comedy. Going to Georgetown could be a close one. Hosting Syracuse a double digit win. WE see them 16-0 in conference. They do have Maya Moore...after all.
NOTRE DAME 11-1, 22-4
McGraw's Irish have lost only to UConn and are on a nine game winning streak since then. They face Geno and crew again next and will fall...barely. A trip to WVU will be another battle and hosting Cincy a chance to empty the ample bench. Finishing at DePaul...with second place in the BIG EAST most likely at stake...one you shouldn't miss. WE see them going into tournament play 14-2. Skylar Diggins drives this train. Tons of help from Novosel, Peters, 'Bruiser'...etc..
DEPAUL 10-1, 22-4
After a closer than expected win hosting Marquette, Doug Bruno's battlers invite Rutgers into town tonight. They win this one and bring in Georgetown next. Another win there and a trip to Louisville on the 23rd.looks much closer than one would think. They get by with a win, though...and move on to Marquette. They escape win another close one there and take the battle ending the regular season on a seven game win streak. WE see them at 15-1 in conference. Hampton and Quigley rule...
GEORGETOWN 8-4, 20-6
The Hoyas in the pack following the big three in the BIG EAST. The loss to St. John's was a surprise. It won't get any easier at DePaul on Sunday. Pitt at home they should be able to handle...but UConn comes in after that and G'Town tales a "L" in this one. An early spring break to end the season at Tampa against the Bulls. WE got Georgetown at 10-6. Rodgers and McNutt can be very formidable...when they're 'on'.
MARQUETTE 7-4, 19-5
They've been the pleasant surprise team, in our opinion, of the BIG EAST this season and battled DePaul tough in Chicago. Seton Hall Wednesday night will be a destruction job. They host Rutgers after that and should prevail. Going to Providence adds another win for the Golden Eagles. Hosting DePaul should be a close one but a loss for Terri Mitchell's crew. They soar to tournament play by ending with Cincy. WE see them at 11-5 at the end of the season. McMorris, Robinson, Fiedorowicz...a lot of weapons of mass destruction present here.
LOUISVILLE 7-4, 16-9
The Cardinals stressed defense against WVU and it paid off with a win last time out. A trip to Syracuse next may not go so well, they're not a great road team and the barely lose to the Orange. Next, USF down there and they handle this journey...but not easily. DePaul comes to town after that and narrowly defeats the Cards. Seton Hall visits for a Saturday tilt and the Cards romp. A season ending visit to Providence will be a close one..but the Cards win there. WE see Louisville ending at 10-6. Shoni Schimmel is pure magic, Monique Reid a certified threat and Becky Burke the gunslinger from deep.
RUTGERS 7-4, 14-10
C.Viv has taken away the practice jerseys (again) which means the Scarlet Knights are in the doghouse. Notre Dame had their way with them in South Bend last time out.They stay sleeping with Fido after losing at DePaul tonight. The road trip from hell continues with a loss at Marquette. Hosting USF gets them a "W" but West Virginia comes in and takes one from them in the RAC. Blowing out Seton Hall in the battle of New Jersey ends the season. WE see Rutgers finishing 9-7. Oliver is legit for them. Sykes and Rushdan capable.
ST.JOHN'S 6-5, 17-7
Tough team to figure out this season and our candidate for Underachiever of the Year in the BIG EAST. They did manage a win over Georgetown in their previous. They should take USF in Tampa. Hosting Syracuse is anyone's guess...we'll go with the 'Cuse. They roll after that at Villanova, squeeze by Pitt in Little Louie Arena and fall to the Mountaineers in Morgantown. WE see St. John's at 9-7 by end of conference. Stevens and Smith are the stars...McKenith and Burakowski solid sophomores.
WEST VIRGINIA 6-6, 20-6
Someone punched a hole in the tires when the 'Eers hit the BIG EAST. A bewildering loss at Louisville last time out. Mike Carey said they quit and we were there to acknowledge it. At Pitt is the 'backyard brawl' and we wouldn't be surprised to see them fall again. Hosting Notre Dame next doesn't cure their ills and they drop another one. They pull a victory out at Rutgers...which should be a slugfest and end the season by calming the Red Storm in Morgantown. WE envision a 8-8 WVU record at the end of conference play...and a dangerous first round opponent for someone. Four very tough ones to end the season for the Mountaineers...They go as Liz goes.
SYRACUSE 5-6, 17-7
Another team that has taken body punches in BIG EAST action. A Villanova win last time out was expected after getting hammered by Notre Dame, Rutgers and DePaul in the previous three. They'll sneak past visiting Louisville tomorrow night and get a close win at St. John's Saturday. Visiting Cincinnati is a easy win and hosting Providence after that looks like a "W". Their final at UConn won't go well. Alexander the scorer. Morrow and Harris get it to her.
WE foresee the 'Cuse at 9-7 when the smoke clears.
PITTSBURGH 4-7, 12-12
We now get to the "thanks for participating" part of the BIG EAST teams. Pitt survived at home against USF last time out. They'll survive as the home team against Providence tonight. They're going to win in the Peterson again versus WVU Saturday. Trips to Georgetown and St John's will produce losses for Agnes's Panthers, though...before they win the final hosting Seton Hall. WE slot Pittsburgh in at 7-9. Scott, Cole and Harrison the top three Panthers.
PROVIDENCE 4-7, 11-12
'Here comes the boom' might be the new Friars theme song. UConn dismantled them last time out. Pitt gets them tonight in Pittsburgh. They should prevail at Cincy but Marquette in Rhode Island and Syracuse in the Orange Dome take the Friars down. Louisville adds to the misery in the season finale in the Dunkin Donuts Arena. WE report a 5-11 record before they head to the XL Center in Hartford for the tourney. Wright, Roberts and Hankins the head fry cooks.
SOUTH FLORIDA 1-10, 10-15
"Here comes another one...DUCK!" could be the phrase around Tampa these days. A road loss at Pitt extended the streak to four. St. John's will blow by them in Tampa. So will Louisville. They'll find no comfort at Rutgers. Going to Villanova a change to notch a win? Gotta go with the home team here...sorry Bulls. They end a nightmare of a season with Georgetown coming in to beat them. WE see 1-15 and despair. The Smith twins and Porsche Grant...not much else.
CINCINNATI 1-10, 8-15
You know it's been a rough season when Seton Hall comes into your place and wins. Maybe redemption at Villanova tonight...but we don't see it. Home team wins. Hosting Providence prolongs the pain and inviting Syracuse in after that makes it uglier. Going to Notre Dame should just be cancelled and the travesty mercifully end when Marquette comes to town to thump the Bearcats. WE pencil in 1-15 for Cincy. Yikes! Shreese Ulis and that's about it.
SETON HALL 1-10, 8-16
Beating Cincy was a surprise..but one Anne Donavan will take. Marquette visits Wednesday and will leave a winner. Villanova comes in next and we see them getting a win in Walsh Gym over Anne's crew. At UConn and Louisville will be just flat discouraging for them and hosting Rutgers to end the year won't bring any smiles either. WE acknowledge a 1-15 season for the Pirates. The ship has sunk... the Greens, Crew and Simmons wear the eyepatches...
VILLANOVA 0-11, 8-16
A chance to get off the "0-for BIG EAST" record and they will hosting Cincinnati. More good news when they win at Seton Hall after that. St. John's breaks up the win streak but the Wildcats send USF home a loser when they visit next. Going to Pitt to end the year won't be fun...but WE got 'Nova ending at 3-13. Sweeney is great, Kimmel and Roberts assist.
(Projected season ending standings)
1. UConn 16-0
2. DePaul 15-1
3. Notre Dame 14-2
4. Marquette 11-5
5. Georgetown 10-6 (owns win over Louisville)
6. Louisville 10-6
7. Syracuse 9-7 (could change)
8. St. John's 9-7 (beat Rutgers)
9. Rutgers 9-7 (beat Syracuse)
10. West Virginia 8-8
11. Pittsburgh 7-9
12. Providence 5-11
13. Villanova 3-13
tie 14. South Florida 1-15 (or not..)
tie 14. Seton Hall 1-15 (Whoooppeee!)
tie 14. Cincinnati 1-15 (Like it matters...)
WE'LL TAKE IT... a few steps further. A BIG EAST Tournament format beginning today would look like this...while we're at it...let's play it out, too...
#12 Providence vs #13 Villannova. #9 Rutgers vs. #16 Cincy. #10 West Virginia vs. Seton Hall and #11 PITT vs #14 South Florida.
PROVIDENCE advances to play #5 Georgetown. RUTGERS moves ahead and gets #8 St. John's. WEST VIRGINIA takes Seton Hall and gets Syracuse. We'll take SOUTH FLORIDA over Pitt to face #6 Louisville.
GEORGETOWN handles Providence and faces Marquette. ST. JOHN'S slips by Rutgers and gets Connecticut. WEST VIRGINIA upsets Syracuse and sees DePaul next. LOUISVILLE wins and gets Notre Dame in the quarterfinals.
We like GEORGETOWN over Marquette. CONNECTICUT retires St. John's. DEPAUL sends WVU home and LOUISVILLE pulls a shocker over Notre Dame. (Had to go there...)
CONNECTICUT finishes Georgetown. DEPAUL ends Louisville's run.
Home court advantage gives CONNECTICUT edge over DePaul.
(Above prognostiction is solely the opinion of Paul...senior columnist and class clown here at CARDINAL COUPLE...for entertainment purposes only. Do Vegas 'books' take womens' BIG EAST action?)
Maybe you saw UConn dismantle Oklahoma last night on the "deuce". WE like them, hard to believe...knowing our Connecticut negative bias...as the early favorite to get the #1 seed overall in the NCAA Tournament. With the vast improvement of freshman center Stefanie Dolson and the holy presence of Maya Moore..they'll take Stanford on a neutral court if they meet again and will beat a Baylor team that struggled last night. You heard it here first...we think the Huskies repeat as national champs. (That was painful to type...)
The spring season of golf for the Lady Cards is at hand and "Coach K" and her girls are competing in the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in Palos Verde, CA. (If the UofL golfers are in the California region...they got some major road trips coming up.) They finished the first round Monday tied for 11th...shooting 322. USC leads with 290.
Sara-Maude Juneau, a senior from Quebec, Canada led the way for Louisville with a first round 78. Anna-Karin Ljungstrom fired an 80. Freshman Tara Lyons (competing as an individual and not counting against team score)knocked the orb around in 81 strokes.
Tompinksville, KY. native Laura Anderson carded a 82 along with teammate Maria Castellanos. Candace Wiley, from Shelby County High School, finished at 88.
Three day tournament ahead...so plenty of time to make up strokes.
The LADY CARD golfers are an international bunch this year. Beginning with the freshman class, we've got them listed below:
Sara Karlsson - Myggenes, Sweden
Maike Klein- Dieblich, Germany
Tara Lyons - Little River, S.C.
Katie Petrino - Fayetteville, AR.
Morgan McClure - Tucson, AZ
Candace Wiley - Shelbyville, KY
Anna-Karin Ljungstrom - Skovde, Sweden
Maria Castellanos - Stuart, FL.
Laura Anderson - Tompkinsville, KY
Sara-Maude Juneau - Quebec, Canada
A young squad for Coach K...Juneau, Castellanos, Ljugnstrom, Anderson and Wiley saw valuable fairway experience for the Cards last year...Petrino will probably redshirt but is a boomer off the tee from what we hear.
These girls are going to pick up some frequent flyers miles with this upcoming schedule. No home matches this spring but check out the trips below:
-Weston, FL (Sir Pizza Challenge)
-Baton Rouge, LA (LSU Golf Classic)
-Brown Summit, NC (Bryan National Challenge)
-Columbus, IN (Indiana Invitational)
-Palm Harbor, FL (BIG EAST Championship)
Get them over at the Cardinal Club, Coach! We can play golf here in March and April...sometimes.