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Friday, March 23, 2012

FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE UofL advances to Great Eight...Clark-Heard headed to WKU...A WBB Sweet Sixteen preview

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FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


-UofL defeats #1 seed Michigan State to advance to Great Eight


-Michelle Clark-Heard accepts head coaching job at Western Kentucky.


-NCAA WBB Sweet Sixteen starts Saturday


How about the University of Louisville men's basketball team! Advancing to the Great Eight in the NCAA Tournament with a 57-44 win over #1 seed Michigan State Thursday night. 


Chane went insane in the final
twenty for the CARDS! 
I know, CARDINAL COUPLE is primarily a women's sports site and there will be about a gazillion articles out there about this win...but we're proud of the guys and how about freshman Chane Behanan tonight for Pitino's players? Huge second half for the Bowling Green/Cincinnati guy and Gorgui Dieng with what seemed like a dozen blocked shots.


 L1C4, baby!  


A month ago, few would have predicted this run for UofL. Reeling from defeats and seemingly having no dependable scorers on the squad, the Cards have come together and are on a seven game win streak. Sweet revenge over a MSU squad who knocked the Cards out of the running for the Final Four a couple of years ago. 


A big salute, fellas, from CARDINAL COUPLE and keep it going. Louisville faces Florida at 4:30 Saturday for a chance to go to New Orleans and the Final Four. Pitino vs. Donovan. Should be great! 


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Michelle Clark-Heard has been named the newest head women's basketball coach at Western Kentucky University. The Cardinal assistant was with Jeff Walz for the past five years at UofL and head coach at Kentucky State for two years before that. 


She faces a rebuilding job in Bowling Green...but she is widely known out on the recruiting circles and should be able to land some of Kentucky Girls High School's best to play for her and the Toppers. 


WE'VE watched Michelle run practices before at UofL and there is no doubt that she knows the game and how to get the most out of the players while teaching them important fundamentals at the same time. She's the second Walz assistant to leave the next and take a head coaching job. We love her self-stated philosophy on basketball...get the ball and get down the court and score. 


WE hate to see her go..but are happy and proud that she's back in the main spotlight again. She's the second assistant that has left the Walz nest and gone off to build her own. That speaks volumes about the success of the program and the genius of Jeff. 


Congratulations, Michelle. Now, get Louisville back on that Hilltopper schedule! 


LINK below.
Michelle Clark-Heard named head WBB Coach at WKU

Also, a clip of her acceptance ceremony below:


Clark-Heard is introduced and speaks at WKU

(Thanks to our readers for providing these links!) 


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The field of sixteen teams that have advanced in the NCAA Women's College Basketball tournament has quite a few expected attendees and a few surprises. 


WE take a look at the finalist and give a little commentary on who will get to the Great Eight in the games being played in Des Moines, Fresno, Raleigh and Kingston over Saturday and Sunday.


BAYLOR VS GEORGIA TECH 


The Baylor Lady Bears are the #1 team in the country. They have the probable player of the year in Brittany Griner. They haven't lost yet in 36 games. We don't see that changing yet. Georgia Tech has had an easy path to the Sweet Sixteen with wins over Sacred Heart (how a Louisville Catholic girls high school got in there..we'll never know) and a Georgetown team that had underachieved the last half of the season. Baylor fans will travel en masse to Des Moines...and they won't be disappointed. 


KANSAS VS TENNESSEE


Our bracket predictions were way off in this one...expecting to see DePaul and Delaware square off in this one. Give Kansas credit. They come out of an #11 seed and from a tough WBB conference in the BIG 12. They got it done against Nebraska and knocked off Elena Della Donna and Delaware to earn their spot. They face a Tennessee team on a mission, though, and the Lady Vols have taken care of business impressively so far against high-scoring UT-Martin and DePaul. The Lady Vols should continue to put notches in the "W" column and most likely head to the Great Eight and Baylor


STANFORD VS SOUTH CAROLINA


Stanford is Sonja's pick to win the NCAA WBB Tournament and they haven't disappointed so far with a convincing win over Hampton and out-muscling WVU. The Ogwumike sisters are a great one-two punch and they should breeze against a South Carolina team that surprised us by getting as far as they did. Give Dawn Staley a lot of credit for getting the Gamecocks this far...they handled E.Michigan and Purdue. Grant, Stevens and Brewer are great players..but the bus stops here for the SEC school. 


ST. JOHN'S VS DUKE


BIG EAST regular season runner-up St. John has talent, speed, great team play, Nadirah McKenith and an excellent coach in Kim Barnes Arico. They survived a close scare against Creighton and looked good against Oklahoma. They face a Duke team that has been dominant in the tournament and may have the best freshman center in the nation in Elizabeth Williams. Wins over Samford and Vandy came easily -- even in 90 degree heat in Nashville. They'll face a much tougher task in St. John's and we see this one as too close to call. I like the Red Storm...Sonja says Duke.


NOTRE DAME VS ST.BONAVENTURE


We're seeing the Irish as a Final Four team and we've raved about Diggins, Novosel, Peters, Mallory and the rest of Muffet McGraw's team all season. They've been their usual outstanding juggernaut so far against Cal and Liberty and should handle the upstart Bonnies of St. Bonaventure. Gotta admire what St. Bonaventure has accomplished so far in the tournament..but this isn't Florida-Gulf Coast or Marist that they'll meet in Raleigh. 


TEXAS A&M VS MARYLAND


Another one that we feel is too close to call. Maryland escaping against an inspired Louisville squad after sinking the Navy. Texas A&M is the defending NCAA Champs and after abolishing Albany they had their hands full with Arkansas...escaping at the buzzer. We like the play of Laurin Mincy and Brenda Frese is a quality coach. We also expect Alyssa Thomas to have a much better game than she had against the Cards. Sydney Carter gets the job done for the Aggies and this one just might go to the final buzzer. 


CONNECTICUT VS PENN STATE.


Geno has the Huskies rolling...winning the BIG EAST Tournament and romping over Prairie View and Kansas State in the NCAA Tournament. We see them putting a pretty significant beating on the Nittany Lions in Kingston. Penn State has had a nice run in knocking off UTEP and LSU...but we felt they were over-ranked as a #4 seed and they'll travel back to Happy Valley after Saturday's game...not so happy.


KENTUCKY VS GONZAGA


UK has had a roller coaster NCAA Tournament ride so far...struggling against #15 seed McNeese State and getting very lucky to advance against Green Bay. But, they keep winning. Gonzaga surprised some by knocking off Rutgers and then sending Miami back to the beach...they must be respected and we can see this being another game that could be undecided with a minute to go. A'dia Mathies is, by far, the best player on the court in this one. We'll go with the underdog here, though. One has to advance to the Great Eight, right? The Zags get lucky against Kentucky. Cardinal fans know all about the Zags in post-season play. Even though this one isn't in Spokane, we can see the Bulldogs barking one last time in the Sweet Sixteen.
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2 comments:

  1. Certainly an inevitable part of coaching, especially from a successful program, still very bittersweet losing assistants. Wish it weren't so, but still wishing Coach Clark-Heard much success!
    Cardinal Couple-any ideas who will be replacing her? Laura Terry?

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    Replies
    1. We were discussing that last night, K. Our guess was possibly Liz Sherwood, who has been on staff a few years and is very good at working with "the bigs" but we're not going to enter a horse in this race. As far as Laura Terry goes -- we don't think it is her time yet. She knows the game quite well and will make a great coach some day, just not right now. Another e-mailer suggested Candyce Bingham. Again, someone who knows the game quite well but needs a little more high school coaching experience before making the next step. Pretty sure Walz will move on this quickly to have someone in place to assist in hitting all the camps and tournaments that take place over the spring and summer. Just speculation on our part, we know nothing.

      Sonja

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