THURSDAY @ THE COUPLE:
-Are the Lady Cards a top ten team?
OK. First, we'll admit it's a slow women's sports day. Plenty of action this weekend...so, today...let's take a look at the University of Louisville women's basketball team. They're in their second week of practice and we hope to get some words from Jeff Walz in the Friday CARDINAL COUPLE about how that's going. Today, we look at what might be there.
Paul ran a column yesterday with his top ten in WBB. You responded. About half of you disagree with his preseason eighth place ranking. The rest of you think it's about right. One respondent (anonymous, of course) doesn't think they're a top twenty team. One of you out there have them #3...behind Baylor and Tennessee. Different strokes, different folks.
|We're thinking Monique gets a starting role this year.|
Gotta believe that Shoni's spot is safe as a starter. Same for Monique. After that, the race is on.
Point guard will be an interesting battle. Charmaine Tay returns. Shelby Harper is still there. Add Bria Smith and Jude Schimmel to the competition mix and you have a very interesting scenario.
The paint looks to be a major fight as well. Pick two out of Asia Taylor, Cierra Warren, Shawnta Dyer, Sara Hammond and Sherrone Vails. Tough, huh? And if Walz goes small and puts Mo at the "4"...well, you get the idea.
So, how does all this talent compare to the other teams vying to reach the "Great Eight" this spring?
Can't bump either Baylor or Texas A&M from the BIG 12 out of the upper echelons. Both are packed and experienced. Same for Tennessee and Kentucky out of the SEC. Take Stanford out of the PAC 12 and Duke and Maryland from the ACC as contenders for the top ten spots. Add Louisville, Connecticut, Notre Dame and Georgetown from the BIG EAST. Don't forget Rutgers and DePaul. We're also hearing that Florida State and Miami are going to be strong. Toss in always tough Texas and Oklahoma. North Carolina. Who do you eliminate?
The key to Louisville getting a top ten ranking and holding onto it is going to be determined on how well this group can play defense and rebound. Both, at times, were less than spectacular for Walz's bunch. They're going to face some excellent rebounding teams before they get to conference play in Texas A&M, Kentucky, Florida State and their opening exhibition game against Lindsey Wilson might find them facing a front line that is 6'2" or better.
Our final answers:
"Top ten definitely. I put them at #8 and I'm sticking with it. The BIG EAST is going to be a war, though and the LADY CARDS will take some losses there. Defense, defense, defense. It's the key.
"I've got them higher. #6. This potential scoring ability won't be easy to stop. You try to shut down Shoni and the other four on the court are easily capable of putting up double digits on you. Defense will be fine. The transition game Walz loves to run will create plenty of steals, turnovers and opponent fouls.
"Naturally, I'm going against the grain. I've got them at #12 in the preseason. Too many questions right now about the paint play. Keisha Hines was a very un-heralded, hard-working anchor for last year's team. Can Warren, Dyer or Vails equal that? Asia Taylor needs to sleep with a backboard...because if she can become familiar with the concept of rebounding and put-back shots...the Lady Cards will be OK and advance up the polls. Show me, Cards.
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We'll take a few comments and post them in a few days.