Saturday, March 31, 2012

SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE covers Softball, FINAL FOUR and FLORIDA DERBY

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SATURDAY WITH THE COUPLE


-Softball in Chicago for two today


-Angel McCoughtry named to 2012 U.S. Olympic Team


-Florida Derby could be a key to Kentucky Derby


-FINAL FOUR TONITE!  Are you ready?


The University of Louisville Softball team takes their 28-0 record to the Windy City this weekend to face the DePaul Blue Demons in two games today and one on Sunday. The #11 Cards travel north after going east and defeating UK Wednesday 1-0 in Lexington. 


This is the BIG EAST opener for DePaul. They are 16-10 on the season and just recently dropped out of the top 25. Last time out, the Blue Demons participated in the Alabama Challenge and went 1-3...losing twice to 'Bama and going 1-1 against Longwood. 


Dodd leads DPU in hitting
The noise-makers in the DePaul line up are Samantha Dodd and Kirsten Verdun. Dodd bats .408 and Verdun leads the Chicago school with six fence-clearers. Dodd...a junior outfielder...has fared well against Cardinal pitching in the past. Verdun alternates between pitching and first base. On the stripe, she is 9-5 this year and has 71 strike-outs in 81 innings pitched. 


Louisville is getting powerful pitching from the trio of Tori Collins, Caralisa Connell and Chelsea Leonard. They sport a collective ERA of 1.08 for the season, have had 13 shutouts and punched out 215 batters this season...which is almost eight per game. 


Austin's solo blast at UK proved to be
the game winner.
At the bat, Louisville has two players batting over .400 (Alicja Wolny and Kristin Austin) and Katie Keller, Taner Fowler, Jordan Trimble and recently returned Maggie Ruckenbrod lead a squad that has a combined batting average of .337. Louisville has out-scored the opposition 156-33 this season. 


Louisville did sweep the meeting last year with 2-1 and 13-2 wins at Ulmer Stadium. The schools have been playing each other since Louisville started softball in 2000 and DePaul holds the series lead 23-15. 


Good luck to Sandy Pearsall's gang this weekend in Chicago!


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What do you get when you combine Geno Auriemma and the 2012 U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball team? A Connecticut coach and a bunch of former Connecticut players.


One exception, though, is the selection of former CARDS great Angel McCoughtry to the squad. Geno has decided on 11 of the 12 players that'll compete for the Gold Medal. We're pretty sure he's saving a spot for Baylor swat and dunk specialist Brittany Griner...but CARDINAL COUPLE'S Sonja is waiting by the phone...just in case. (After all, she did hit double figures several times her senior year in high school.)


The roster, comprised of all current WNBA players, is below with college team affiliation as well:


Semoine Augustus - LSU                  Sylvia Fowles - LSU
Sue Bird - UConn                             Maya Moore - UConn
Swin Cash - UConn                          Angel McCoughtry - UL
Tamika Catchings - Tenn                Candace Parker - Tenn
Tina Charles - UConn                      Diana Taurasi - UConn
Lindsey Whalen - Minnesota


While we have CARDINALS on the brain, here's a great read on Becky Burke. Thanks to Commish Mark for the fins and link:


Becky Burke 


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Today's FLORIDA DERBY at Gulfstream Park will pit three solid Kentucky Derby contenders against each other at a mile and one-eighth distance. UNION RAGS, EL PADRINO and TAKE CHARGE INDY have all been top five choices by many race analysts and handicappers. 


We're going to toss a fourth horse into the mix and suggest that NEWS PENDING, trained by Dale Romans, has a shot to upset at a price today. He did lose to Union Rags by four lengths in the Fountain of Youth this winter in Florida, but the pace that day was brutal and jockey Rajiv Maragh has learned that keeping him just off the lead is a better tactic for this runner. If he can keep "Rags" and El Padrino in his sight as they turn for the stretch, he could surprise. 


Also keep an eye out for REVERON to contest the early speed and if he can get a clear lead with Elvis Trujillo on board, he might have something to say about the win, place and show payouts. You'll be rewarded well if this one can spring the upset...he'll go off around 20-1. 


This one goes to post at 5:40 p.m. today, so it'll be right before the UofL v UK tip-off. The NBC crew has the coverage, which means there will be plenty of sensationalism and innuendo over the airwaves... 


Paul's Picks                                             Sonja's Selections


1. News Pending                                     1. Union Rags
2. Union Rags                                         2. Take Charge Indy
3. El Padrino                                          3. El Padrino
4. Reveron                                             4. Neck N Neck


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Rick saves the specs for post-game. Thankfully...
(Photo by Charlie Springer-Card Game)
Finally, the CIVIL WAR, THE BATTLE OF THE BLUEGRASS...or whatever moniker you choose to put on it goes down today around 6 p.m. in the Superdome. Can the CARDS pull off the upset? Will it be a game that Cardinal fans might contemplate turning off at half-time? Who will get more camera shots...Ricky or Cal? 


Where will you watch it? 


We're going to view it with a couple of UofL friends at their house instead of taking it to the bar scene. Too important a contest to get messed with by waitress drama, unruly UK fans and elbow-to-elbow insanity. 


Might be open to a little post-game troubadouring, though...if the result turns out positive. Shoot us an e-mail or leave a comment about your game-day viewing plans if you'd like to share or if you're looking for ideas. If UofL wins, we're guessing that the Belknap Campus could get crazy and it might be fun to drive down and watch the celebrators. 


In case you're looking for something to do
before the big game. (Photo courtesy of Charlie Springer- Card Game)
We looked back at the 1983 match-up the other night and recalled where we were for that afternoon show-down. Sonja and I watched it from the living room couch and she remembers that I was miserable with sinus problems that day and she couldn't tell if I was sneezing or cheering. David Watson writes that...


"I was clanging off my fraternity room walls at Notre Dame. Me and a few buddies that were UofL fans had started "celebrating" way too early before tip-off and the four of us gathered in my third floor frat room to view it on my large Zenith TV. By the second half, we had about 10 people in there. When Louisville ripped it wide open in the overtime, it started a chain of events that eventually culminated with me rambling around the campus screaming 'UofL !' at 1 a.m. Not many 'got it' -- especially campus security -- who not-so-gleefully escorted me back to the frat house and advised the graduate resident assistant to 'keep me indoors' for the rest of the early morning." 


GO YOU UofL CARDINALS!!! L1C4, baby
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Friday, March 30, 2012

BURKE finishes second in 3-point shoot-out

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FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


-Becky Burke comes in second in State Farm 3-point contest


-Good reads on the UofL v UK rivalry


-The Watson Chronicles


UofL senior guard Becky Burke wasn't picked by any of the ESPN "talking heads" to win the Women's 3-point shootout last night in Tulane's Fogelman arena. It didn't phase the Clarks' Summit, PA native, though...as she qualified for the second round and finals of the shoot-out before losing to USC's Ashley Corral. 


It was very exciting to see Burke standing on the sidelines before her turn...#11 paying attention to her tying of her shoes and chatting with the other participants. She went last in the first round...knowing that Corral had put up a score of 20 and that two other participants had registered scores of 15.


The announcers' hype was on her first-round shooting adversary...Alyssa Shoji (Santa Clara). Becky started slowly...but picked up her accuracy as the contestants circled their way around the arc. She shot well at the final rack of balls and ended up with 15 points. It put her in a tie for second with Jessica Jenkins (St. Bonaventure) and Courtney Ingersoll (Toledo). 


We heard a rarity in the second round, ESPN guys actually saying favorable things about a player from Louisville...complementing her on her form and release from three point range. And, Becky was "on"...scoring 18 points..best of any of the second round contestants and advancing to the finals to meet Corral. 


Loved the shirt "puffing" of the Louisville name by Burke and the obvious excitement and joy on BB's face as she dominated the other three participants. She had a total of 33 points in the first and second rounds...second best behind Corral's 34. 


Corral went first in the finals and was hitting well, especially on the "money ball" or two point shot. She torched the nets for 20 points again and Burke's work was cut out for her. 


She gave it her best effort...but the shots just weren't falling as frequently as they were in the first two rounds and Becky finished with 11 points. 


Still it was great to see her out there having fun and to watch her doing what she did best in four years at UofL -- bomb from long range. 


We had surmised that she was the only UofL women's basketball player to ever participate in this event...but were informed by CARDINAL COUPLE correspondent Jenny that Jill Morton took part in the event in 2000 and made it to the second round before bowing out. Morton is fourth on the all-time made 3-point field goals list at UofL with 201.


We're gonna miss that big Becky smile and great personality around here next year. Always loved the way she was straight-forward and detailed in her post-game press conference comments. 


Whoever steps in to fill those shoes as the long range "hired gun" will have their work ahead of them to try and duplicate what "double B's" accomplished here at Louisville in four years. She's third on UofL made threes list with 249 and will be first in a lot of Cardinal fans' hearts for a long time. 


Good effort tonight for Becky. Any WNBA franchises interested in a dead-on bomber from long range? If so, dial 1-800-UL BECKY...and hit "3" at the prompt....


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Great read on the UofL and UK rivalry below and a thought-perception look at the UofL and UK fan profile. 


Cats fans have much to fear

And, this tongue-in-cheek look at the rivalry...


The day Louisville died

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(David Watson is a special correspondent for CARDINAL COUPLE. He's also about the only one we can get to write articles lately. Maybe too many articles...but D.W. has never been shy about saying what's on his mind. HERE WE GO...)  


Final Four's have been established for both the men's and women's NCAA Tournaments. How did you do in your prognostication picks on who would get there? I'll take my 5 out of eight possible any day. I went 3 for 4 with women's picks -- missing only on Stanford. I figured St. John's to get there in my original bracket picks. I wish I had submitted these to the CARDINAL COUPLE contest. I'd be in third place, but time, work and just plain forgetfulness on my part were my reasons for missing the event. 


On the guys side, I'm 2 for 4. Had to put UK there. They're better than several NBA franchises this year. I also liked Kansas to get to New Orleans and play in the Championship game against the Calipari Cats. I have them beating UK. I've revised that as of late and I am optimistic that we'll see a Louisville - Kansas title match Monday night.  


Louisville is the highest seed at #4 out of all eight finalists. Five #1 seeds advanced and two #2 seeds join the Cards in the FINAL FOUR'S. Got them right where we want them, right? No surprise that in various polls and opinion surveys I've looked at, Louisville is being chosen as the least likely to capture the crown on the men's docket. Shock and awe, baby. It's worked well so far. 


Finally, I want to publicly address an e-mail forwarded to me by Sonja that CARDINAL COUPLE received about me. It was an "anonymous" sender and although Sonja offered to track the IP address for me, I declined. I will put mine out there for all to see, though. You can e-mail me at this link.

David's e-mail


It is: mrwatsonipresume@insightbb.com


The writer expressed his dis-satisfaction on just about every item I've submitted to CARDINAL COUPLE. The writer also went back into time and berated me for my participation at another website (a site that banned me for speaking my mind). Here is my response: 


Dear "Anonymous"


How fortunate you are to be 100% correct all the time and never controversial in your life! 
How great it must be for you to live in a world where everyone is always in perfect agreement with you and if a dissenter exists...you can make them disappear with a wave of your magic wand. I am envious. 


I, sadly, live in a world where there are differences in opinion. I make mistakes. I sometimes take the "road less traveled" opinion and viewpoint. I live in a world where there is unforeseen tragedy and horrible events that cause devastation and heartbreak. Sadness is as common and happiness and I've tried many shades of glasses...but none can block or prevent my view of the real picture out there.


Maybe someday -- I'll be allowed to reach your lofty, pristine and tranquil world. Until then, I will dwell in reality and write about it as well. As Paul has said in the past, if you don't like what you are reading, your laptop or main frame keyboard has a back arrow or just click the red "X" on the top, right hand corner of your screen.


-David Watson 


Have a great weekend everybody and let's hope we are marveling Sunday morning (April Fools Day, too!) about how Louisville is playing for it all on Monday night. Next week is "Holy Week" -- so take some time to remember what happened in the past to a man who gave his life for us so that we could be free of sin.


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FINALLY, THIS...


I am of firm conviction that this game must not be allowed to take place. Too much at stake. Crisis phone bank centers being overwhelmed with distraught calls from fans on the losing side. People hurling themselves off the K&I bridge in Louisville or the bridge on I-75 over the Kentucky River outside Lexington. Families weeping openly in public venues while priests, state employees and used car salesmen try to console them. 


I have to take action. I am headed to New Orleans to prevent this mistake. 


I left a note on the kitchen table for the wife and kids. It explained what I have gone to do and what I hope to accomplish. The note also reminded my son to cut the grass and revealed my secret for keeping the garage door on it's hinges. I'm not giving up my recipe for chicken fritattas yet. That note will probably get eaten by Ralph, the chocolate Labrador. It will not taste nearly as good as my fritattas. 


I am in my Ford Escort driving down I-65. Talking into my voice recorder. Wondering if I have time to visit Mammoth Cave. I stopped for gas earlier. Too many White Castles in Louisville. I told the girl at the register in the gas and groceries of my plan. She ignored me. Just like the Americans ignored warnings that a big ol' fleet of Japanese planes were flying across the Pacific back in 1941.


I left her a copy of my 22 page manifesto on why I am doing what I am doing. She gave me $3.71 back in change. I am reborn, feeling good about this trip and I will bypass Nashville by taking back roads outside of Hendersonville. The voices are telling me to. I will comply. 


I've tried to reach Tom Izzo and Billy Donovan several times now by cellular means. Left voice mails telling them to have their teams ready to hop on charters and play each other for the chance to meet the Kansas vs. Ohio State winner. I also mis-dialed once and ordered a pint of Moo Goo Gai Pan and (2) egg-rolls from some restaurant in Bangor, Maine. It matters not. I don't even like egg-rolls. 


Arriving in the city of New Orleans. I know I am being followed. I'm being watched and talked about all over the Crescent City. They don't think I know that I know they are watching. But I do. I stop at a package store on the west bank. I buy three packages, one with pretty floral wrapping paper and a yellow bow. Oh, yeah. This is real and it's going down.


I'm outside Pitino's hotel. He is who I must talk to first. Only he will be able to understand the logic of what I have to do. Only he has the foresight and knowledge to wisely step aside and call this Armageddon off. We posed together for a picture once in the 1990's. I know he'll remember.


Things are starting to greatly upset me. People telling me Pitino isn't available. That Pitino is sleeping. That Pitino rhymes with Petrino. Tall, muscular men with sunglasses and dour dispositions. I'll have the last laugh, though. 


Got him! He was sneaking out the back of the hotel with Ricky, Jr. and Paul Rogers. Face to face. I tell him quickly, fervently to call the game off. It is a brief plea and there are people talking all around us. He smiles and autographs my New Orleans map with his sharpie. So does Rogers. Junior gives me a business card for a tax attorney. WTF?  They are in the car and gone before I can fight my way through the sunglass dudes and hitch a ride. I have no choice now. I've got to get to Calipari. Six hours before tip off. Maybe some sushi or craw-fish fettuccine first... 


I enter the Calipari hotel and some pretty young thing from a Louisville television station grabs me by the arm and asks me if I'd like to be on the air and talk about the game? Divine providence! A chance to share my position with the world! It's a blur. Lights, babbling. A microphone shoved in front of my face. I pull out a copy of my manifesto and start to read. All of a sudden, a bleach-blonde babe comes walking in the lobby with two yorkies on leashes. One wearing a red jump suit and the other clad in blue. Oohs and ahhs, and in a flash, the cameras, the reporters and the crowd leave me. I stand there alone. I am dismayed but not defeated. 


It cost me $250 but I met this guy who knows this guy who can get me five minutes alone with Calipari. It's my best shot now. We're to meet in 45 minutes, in an abandoned coin laundry establishment five blocks from the Superdome. 


I get there early and walk in and look around. I see the place is empty and that's the last thing I remember before I feel this sharp thump to the back of my head and I sink into unconsciousness. 


I awake in pain. My wallet -- gone. My watch -- gone. Even my wing-tip shoes -- gone. I've also got a toy balloon in the shape of a giraffe on my head. I get up. I stagger out of the laundry into the mid-afternoon sun. "Nice balloon, dude!" a young man comments as he walks by me on the sidewalk. I know now that it's "final option" time. I walk down the sidewalk toward the Superdome. Pants around my ankles -- because the bastards got my belt, too. I give the giraffe balloon to an elderly couple passing me on the sidewalk. They hand me a $5 dollar bill. City of big spenders. 


I lurk outside the employees' entrance to the Dome. Waiting for weak prey. I find one, approach and offer congratulations on being selected for and winning a 3-day, 2-night all expenses paid trip to Six Flags over Peytona-Waddy. The gullible victim follows me behind the dumpster. It is over quickly. Mercifully. Clad in my new uniform, equipped with I.D, I walk away. I hear a plaintive 


"Hey, Mister. Where's my trip voucher?"


from behind the dumpster as I approach the door. The security guard gives me a perfunctionary glance and hurriedly checks my badge as I briskly walk in. "Go ahead, Ms. Soo Lee Kwang." I hear as I walk away. Perfect! I have to ditch these heels, though.


An hour before tip. I am high up in the Dome, in front of a vast array of electrical control panels. What I had to do to get that far, I'd rather not go into detail about and I'm not too proud of. Let's just say that if I ever end up in prison, I'll be one popular dude and probably have inmates fight over sharing a cell with me. During the player introductions, this puppy goes off the grid! No way they can play in the dark.


There were about a dozen of them and just one of me, but I put up a heck of a fight. They overpowered me, though. Damn girl scouts selling cookies for their troop. 12 boxes of Tag-a-longs later, I am alone again. I wonder why Soo Lee doesn't carry any large bills in her purse and I wonder who the people are in her wallet photos? Why is there a picture of Danny Most from "Happy Days"? I hear the National Anthem over the speakers. It's almost show-time, kiddies!


Just as Anthony Davis trots out to exchange greetings with the rest of the Cats, I start flipping switches. What? It isn't stopping the introductions! I take a crowbar to the panels. Sparks flying everywhere, the thick acrid smoke choking my lungs. But, the lights remain on. I dash out of the electrical room. Power is on everywhere. An electrical maintenance guy strolls my way briskly. I ask what's happening. He looks at me. 


"Ms. Kwang, all the parking lot lights have gone off. Excuse me. please." 


He also winks at me and hands me a piece of paper with his phone number on it. Guys just love to open their big mouths and blab, don't they? 


I sag. My mind is spinning. Parking lot control boxes? I hand him a box of Tag-a-longs and feebly shuffle off.


I walk slowly, dejectedly down the concourse. I hear the crowd roar and the announcer boom "Goal by Siva!" I have failed. I walk to the ramp leading to the lower level. A supervisor in a tie grabs me by the arm, though, and wildly shouts:


"I need you to go get more chicken strips for Luxury Box 13, Soo Lee!" 


Why not? Maybe I can lurk up there and watch a little bit of the contest. Maybe meet a big-shot attorney or investment banker and go out for cocktails and whatever after the game. 


I've been changed by all this. I doubt I ever get back to my home, my wife and kids. But, there are advantages to being a middle aged, single Chinese woman in New Orleans, I suppose. 


How do you say "New in town, big fella?" in Mandarin (or ca-jun)?  


(Looks like we'll be looking for someone to replace David as a contributing writer. Unless we develop a strong following in China or New Orleans) 
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE...SOFTBALL GOES TO 28-0

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THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


-Austin's blast gives CARDS 1-0 win over UK


-BECKY BURKE to participate in 3-point challenge tonight


-"One Shining Moment" 


-How crazy is the UofL vs. UK rivalry?


Kristin Austin's first home run of the season couldn't have come at a better time. The senior right fielder from Hartsburg, MO. led off the top of the fourth inning by planting a 3-2 pitch from UK pitcher Chandra Bell over the left center fence for a solo home run that proved to be the only run of the game. It was the most important of the six hits UofL managed against Bell and UK reliever Rachel Riley Wednesday night in Lexington and only the second career home run for Austin in her four seasons as a Cardinal. 


It was also the first hit of the game for the CARDS off Bell in the game. She and UofL's Tori Collins had produced a pitchers duel through three innings...Collins allowing just a double to Brittany Cervantes in the first and single by Lauren Combess in  the home half of the second while striking out two Wildcats.

The CARDS staved off a seventh inning rally by UK to notch their 28th. win with no defeats. Chelsea Leonard, on the pitching stripe in relief Collins, got Griffin Joiner to pop up for the first out of the inning. UK's Ginny Carroll worked Leonard for a base on balls, though. Leonard looked like she was working her way out of the jam by striking out Ellen Weaver...but Combess reached first on a UofL fielding error and Carroll went to third on the play. That brought Gaines to the plate...who had entered the game in the bottom of the fifth as a pinch hitter for Krystal Smith...and Leonard got the save by getting Gaines to strike out swinging.



Another exemplary pitching performance by Collins and Leonard...allowing just two UK hits and none after the 2nd inning. 


And, for the Cardinal bats, a home run blast by a singles hitter. 


The Cards head to the Windy City this weekend to take on their BIG EAST foes DePaul for three games. The Blue Demons are one of the favorites to capture the BIG EAST regular season title. It'll be the first home game of the season for the Blue Demons (16-10) and their first BIG EAST game of the year as well. Two on Saturday and one on Sunday for these two squads...first pitch at noon. 


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UofL women's basketball standout senior Becky Burke will participate in the 24th annual State Farm College Slam Dunk and 3-point Championship tonight in Fogelman Arena on the Tulane University campus. The event will be shown on ESPN at 9 p.m. EDT.


(Just in case you wondered...Burke WILL be popping threes and not trying to do a Brittany Griner impression)


Besides Burke, seven other WBB seniors will be playing string music in the shootout. They are:


Brittany Rayburn (Purdue) -  Jess Jenkins (St. Bonnie)
Ashley Corral (USC) - Taylor Alton (Michigan State)
Courtney Ingersoll (Toledo) - Alyssa Shoji (S. Clara)
Markeisha Grant (South Carolina)


(Thanks to Commish Mark for the player roster) 


If you're already down in "Nawlins" and are reading this, admission is just $8 for UofL alumni. How you prove you are an alumnus is beyond us...but belting out the UofL Fight Song for the ticket sellers might do the trick...


Burke is the first UofL women's basketball player ever to take part in this contest, to the best of our knowledge. She finished her career third on the all-time 3-pointers made at UofL with 249. Kristin Maddox made 271 (1992-96) and Sara Nord had 260 (2000-04)


Square, set, release and follow through...double B!!


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We all know the poignant "One Shining Moment" song that is played at the conclusion of the final game in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Here's a glance at the first ever showing of it...from 1987. A great article that accompanies the video goes into the writing, discovery and history of the song. Notice how young Rick Pitino looks on the Providence sidelines and what a meanie Bobby Knight is during the clip. 


WE always loved the way Luther Vandross did this song and wish CBS would return to that version of it. Lose the Jennifer Hudson version, please...CBS.


Who hasn't daydreamed that they were in this thing...cutting down the nets and celebrating your buzzer beater to win the championship game?


And, wouldn't it be great if someone could come up with such a dramatic and popular accompaniment for the end of the NCAA women's basketball tournament? 


We hope that this year's version of it has plenty of Cardinal clips...including a final shot of UofL players celebrating the National Championship. 


Enjoy the clip. And, it's OK if you get a little misty eyed. We did. The Syracuse cheerleader's expression at the 3:54 mark...priceless! Almost looks like a young Geena Davis.


One Shining Moment


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Finally, we give you this article link about the rivalry between UofL and UK. It's by Gregg Doyel..who WE go hot and cold on as far as his journalistic reports. 


Heaven help the loser 


56 hours to tip-off and counting here at mission (out of) control @ Cardinal Couple. The annual chimp UK vs. UofL banana creme pie fight is today at 1 p.m.


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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lacrosse wins at Cincinnati...Softball faces UK Wednesday...WE have a final four

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WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


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GAME REPORT: UofL 1 -UK 0 in softball


-Cards now 28-0 with win over Kentucky


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The University of Louisville got a lead-off home run from Kristin Austin in the fourth inning to manufacture the only run they needed to defeat Kentucky 1-0 in Lexington Weds. evening.


They also survived a slight scare in the bottom of the seventh from UK to hold on for the win. Tori Collins and Chelsea Leonard combined for seven pitched innings with just two hits allowed, but the Cats had runners on the corners with two out. Leonard clinched the win, though by striking out UK's Emily Gaines for the win.


The teams went through the first three innings with just two UK hits...Chandra Bell baffling the Cards from the pitching stripe and allowing just one base runner...a walk to Katie Keller in the first inning. 


Kristin Austin came to the plate in the top of the fourth and soon changed that, though, leading off with a line drive shot deep to left center that easily cleared the fence. Katie Keller followed with a double to right center...but Bell composed herself enough to get out of the inning by getting Taner Fowler to flt out to center, Alicja Wolny to fly out to left and Jordan Trimble getting sent to the dugout on a called third strike.


Collins cruised along for the Cards until the bottom of the sixth. After getting UK's Emily Jolly to pop out to third, Kara Dill singled to right. UofL coach Sandy Pearsall called on Leonard to relieve Collins and the Cards got out of the inning with no further damage done. 


The Cards started the top of the seventh with a Kayla Soles single but couldn't advance her against Rachel Riley, who had taken over pitching duties to start the sixth inning. 


UK mounted a last-ditch rally in the bottom of the seventh when Ginny Carroll drew a walk with one out. Ellen Weaver struck out for the second out...but Lauren Cumbess reached on a Cardinal fielding error an Carroll advanced to third. That set the stage for Leonard striking out Gaines to end the contest. 


Louisville returns to action this weekend with three games in Chicago against DePaul.


28-0. The only undefeated team in NCAA D1 softball. And, the first win of the week for CARDINAL SPORTS against the UK Wildcats !!! Carry it over to Saturday, CARDS!  


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-Lacrosse defeats Bearcats 18-7


-Cards vs. Cats Wednesday (in softball)


-FINAL Four WBB is set


-The roving reporter report.


Louisville lacrosse jumped out to a 13-2 first half lead against Cincinnati Tuesday at Nippert Stadium and cruised to 18-7 win over the Bearcats in BIG EAST conference play. Louisville (3-6, 1-1) got four goals from Nikki Boltja en route to the win. 


"The first half was one of our strongest we have played in five years." head coach Kellie Young commented after the match. "We showed great team play, beautiful transition and stingy defense." 


Louisville jumped out to a 4-0 advantage and three of Boltja's goals came during a 10-1 run that gave Louisville the 11 point first half lead. 


The Cards continued their "rotating goalie" strategy...Danielle Pawliw getting the start and Ashley Herbst finishing in the second half. Louisville returns to action on April 5th. They'll host Loyola, MD at the Louisville lacrosse stadium.


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Louisville softball travels to Lexington Wednesday for a game against the Kentucky Wildcats. Louisville moved to #11 in the nation with a three game sweep of Pittsburgh this weekend. They are 27-0 on the season. 


UK is 15-16 on the season and last time out took two out of three on the road against #21 Auburn. The Cats are led by Kara Dill (.407) and Rachel Riley offensively. Chandra Bell (8-5) has a 2.57 ERA on the pitching stripe for UK.


The Cards pitching trio of Tori Collins, Caralisa Connell and Chelsea Leonard have a combined ERA of 1.05 and are holding opponents to a batting average of .166. The Cardinal hurlers have struck out 195 opponent batters and have 12 shutouts so far this year. 

Louisville has a team batting average of .341 and is outscoring opponents 155-33 this year. Alicja Wolny is batting .426 and Taner Fowler has a .414 average and leads the Cards with five home runs so far.


Last year, the two teams split the series...Louisville winning at Ulmer 6-0 and UK taking the Lexington contest 14-8. 


Game time is 6 p.m. It would be nice to get a mid-week win in over Kentucky so that Louisville can go 2-0 against UK in sporting activities this week, right?


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UConn and Notre Dame are joining Stanford and Baylor in the NCAA Women's Final Four in Denver. 


The Huskies had a tight first half against Matthew Mitchell's UK Wildcats Tuesday night in Rhode Island, taking a two point lead at half-time on a buzzer-beating Kelly Faris layup off a Tiffany Hayes pass. 


Connecticut gradually pulled away in the second stanza, holding the Cats scoreless over a six minute stretch and leading by over 20 points several times before the final 80-65 outcome. Tiffany Hayes had 22 for Geno's gang and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 18. We'll give Matty grudging compliments on the job he did with the Kentucky women this year. They did get further than the Lady Cards and beat Louisville in the regular season. Wait until next year, though...MM.


Connecticut will get a 4th match with Notre Dame in the Pepsi Center. The Irish blasted Maryland 80-49 in the second regional final game Tuesday night to earn their berth to Denver. Skylar Diggins recorded a triple-double against the Terps.


The FINAL FOUR begins Sunday...Stanford and Baylor meeting in the other semi-final game


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'The minute you start talking about what you are going to do if you lose...you have lost.' 
-George Shultz


Kentucky or Louisville? The decision is as tough as trying
to convince a seemingly hung jury to decide on a
conviction. 
Yep. 'The Game' is getting closer. The fans are getting more edgy and uptight. In the spirit of research and human interest, I decided to do a little "poll" today after work to get the lay of the land in my area on this 'Saturday Night Special' between UofL and UK in the NCAA semifinals. I did not want to influence comments in any way...so I got out my Bears t-shirt and Dixie Beer cap and hit several business establishments within a five mile drive of our stately estate  and manor. 


Nice afternoon for a drive. I rolled down the windows and blasted a little Jimmy Buffett for the neighbors.  


It is good to know the will of the people in the areas you spend your consumer dollars.


My first stop was the post office. It is usually a mid-afternoon stop for me anyway, and I needed stamps..so I was multi-tasking here. Dangerous... but still within the realm of my control. Not using real names here in some cases...the Post Office is in enough trouble as it is. I didn't get names in a couple of instances. So, sue me. 


(Clarence) is a big UofL fan. He talked about the rivalry. He's never stepped foot in the KFC YUM! Center..."I need to go down there and take in a game someday"...He also feels UofL will have their work cut out for them Saturday. "You going up against a team that already has 5 NBA players, you know it's gonna be tough. This ain't Prairie View. I hope the Cards can pull it off, man." (For the record -- Prairie View A&M was 15-16 on the season and did not play Louisville or Kentucky this year.) I purchased my stamps and moved on.


Didn't wear the usual UofL gear today
Next, I went to the "chain" pharmacy I usually frequent. They've just opened up a new facility near me and I hadn't explored it very closely...so I went in with my debit card and expectations. 


Never pass on a good deal.


I spoke with (Matilda) a clerk at the store while she was stocking shelves. She didn't understand what all the fuss was about ("they play each other all the time, right?") but noted that a lot of people had been buying school-fandom related gear that the store carried and surmised that this was good for the economy and her place of employment.


Could the guy maybe
been Lachlan MacLain?
"I did have this guy looking for blue plastic plates and blue plastic utensils. We have the blue plates but not the blue forks and stuff. He actually got upset about that, kinda in a kidding way, but I'm thinking to myself...really? Upset about not being able to buy blue spoons?" she confined. She has no pick in the game, is not a sports fan and wishes that people would put the same time and effort into animal adoption as they do events like this. I declined the opportunity to adopt a puppy and headed to checkout. I do send money to the Kentucky Humane Shelter each year. I could end up there someday.


While standing in the checkout line, I asked the lady in front of me about the game. She was wearing a UK sweatshirt. (Beth) has recently retired and she and her husband would love to travel to the game in New Orleans but has heard that tickets were scarce and expensive. Also that lodging was even scarcer and expensive. Is 'scarcer' a proper word to use here? Sounds OK to me... 


"I hope the Cats can pull it off. They had a rough time with Louisville in the regular season and that little Smith guy acted like he could score on the Cats anytime he wanted to." she fretted. "Still, I think UK will win. By about 10-12 points."


Maybe I should have gone for pizza...
Next stop was food. All this on-the-scene-journalism was making me hungry. I chose a "buffet style" restaurant and was seated. My waitress had a UofL button on her apron. She also spoke very little English but after determining I wanted ice water with lemon to drink with the buffet...she shyly responded to my question about the game. 


"Go UL. I live here in Louisville. I hope they win." she commented in broken English. I smiled and went to raid the chicken-on-a-stick bin. While cruising the steam tables, I was next to a guy in a Eastern Kentucky t-shirt. I asked his opinion on the game while he studied the beef with pepper and onions steak. 


"Cats." he offered and gave me the once-over. "And Packers in the Central" he added. Hadn't he heard about the Bears getting Michael Bush and Brandon Marshall? I nodded wisely. "Gotta love Rodgers." I replied and walked slowly away. 


Detente is wise when encountering a hungry man at an "all you can eat" place.


After stuffing my gut, I went to my regular gasoline stop. Wincing at the almost $4 a gallon pricing, I nevertheless swiped my card, filled up the tank and went inside for a couple of other items. The cashier nodded. She recognized me as a regular and I placed my items on the counter. I noticed a table set up with both school's items...hats, shirts and trinkets. I asked which school was getting the most sales. She thought and replied "Probably UofL. The young kids, they love the Cardinals." I asked her pick on the game. "UK" she whispered. "But don't tell the manager. She's crazy UofL." 


no...Kim Mulkey is NOT my
neighbor...I just like the pic and
it's our web site so I can put it
on here if I want. Nyah, nyah!!
Sonja wants to know why the guy
in the suit is seemingly yelling
at Kim's derriere... Hmm. 
I returned home and surveyed my results. This is where my pocket voice recorder came in handy. It had been a busy assignment. The results were 3-2 UK, with one abstention. If you counted the manager that the cashier feared, make it 3-3. And, UofL stuff was selling better. I felt I needed a tie-breaker. I went outside and saw my neighbor in her back yard with her dogs. I headed over...she had no idea that the balance of this article's poll hung on her answer. 


(Mary) walked over to the fence and offered me some freshly picked asparagus from her garden. Sonja loves asparagus, so I accepted the offer. She went inside and came out with a plastic bag half-filled with the green-stemed vegetable. We chatted. I waited for the right opportunity to strike. Finally, a lull in the rambling conversation about the other neighbors, her coming across a snake in her side yard and her dogs.


I popped the question. With a steely glint in her eyes and stern look across her face she squinted in the late afternoon sun and slowly spoke. 


"Kentucky. My late (husband) Ralph...he loved the Cats. You remember?" 


I did remember. 


So, there it is. UK will win the Saturday match-up, in a close mandate by the average Joe's and Jane's and Ralph's out there.


Aw, what the heck? Go ahead and give it your best shot anyway, Cards. I'll be in the slight minority cheering for you. 


As the late general and United States president Dwight D. Eisenhower once said..."In preparing for battle I have always found that PLANS are useless but PLANNING is indispensable." 


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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday Cardinal Couple: Lacrosse, WBB Great Eight, 2012 Battle of New Orleans and Watson

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TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE:


-Lacrosse to face Cincinnati 


-Two advance to the FINAL FOUR in WBB


-Mickey Clark records update of CARDS NCAA song


-Watson...on UK vs UofL


It hasn't been the smoothest of seasons so far for Kellie Young's Louisville lacrosse squad...but they look to gain their first BIG EAST win of the season this afternoon in Cincinnati against the Bearcats. Game time is 5 p.m. in venerable Nippert Stadium.


Louisville (2-6, 0-1) travels to the Queen City after falling at Notre Dame this weekend. Faced with the rebuilding of the lacrosse Cards after heavy senior graduation, Young has found at least one budding star in sophomore Nikki Boltja, who is second in the nation in scoring average with four goals per contest. 


UC (3-3) looks to rebound after a loss to Iona Saturday. This is their first BIG EAST contest of the season. Midfielder Laura Simanski had five goals for the Bearcats in the Iona loss and is a player the Cards will need to keep tabs on in this one. 


As we mentioned earlier, they'll play this one in Nippert Stadium on the UC campus. CARDINAL COUPLE hopes that the 2013 football game against the Bearcats will return to the cozy, on-campus site instead of NFL monolith Paul Brown Stadium. Some great memories over the years of going to football games at Nippert to see the Cards and Bearcats do battle.


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Stanford and Baylor have punched their tickets to the NCAA Final Four in Denver and both did so with little problems. 


"I'll get you now, my pretty!" 
The Baylor Bears got 27 points out of Odyssey Sims and almost a triple-double from Brittany Griner in the 77-58 defeat of the UT Lady Vols. 


This one got a little scary at the end. With 47 seconds left, Sims and Shekinna Strickland got involved in a loose ball tussle that got chippy. Although no punches were thrown, the two were separated and several Baylor players came off the bench to join the fray. Ejections without suspensions were issued to Griner and a couple of other Bears. A riot is an ugly thing.
We're hoping that Pat keeps making
these walks to the locker room.


We're wondering what the future will hold for UT head coach Pat Summit. Not nearly as involved in the game activities from the sidelines because of her onset dementia and Alzheimer's disease, Pat's case is one of  sadness and sorrow.


WE hope that UT does the right thing here, though, and allows Pat to remain on the bench and contribute whatever she can while she can. You don't retire legends until they're ready to step aside. WE'RE fans. Let the first lady of women's college basketball do her thing until she's ready to stop doing it. WE Back Pat. 


Meanwhile, in Fresno, the Stanford Cardinal moves on after disposing of Duke 81-69. Nnemkadi Ogwumike (a spell-check favorite of ours here at CARDINAL COUPLE) poured in 29 points to send Tara's bunch to Denver. We saw this one as the regional final that had the best chance for a #1 to go down...but the "Og" sisters survive and advance. Out of the teams vying for those Denver slots, Stanford has the shortest trip to Denver from the respective campuses. 


Tonight brings Notre Dame and UConn to the HD screen. The Huskies should send Kentucky back to pollen and allergy land and Notre Dame shouldn't have any trouble with over-achieving Maryland. We're calling tonight's action the "...and down the stretch they come !" feature...since two of the participants (Kentucky and Maryland) host horse racing triple crown events each spring. Notre Dame also has a couple of thoroughbred tracks nearby in Chicago (Arlington and Hawthorne). Nothing near Storrs, CT as far as ponies flying down the stretch..but with the Huskies residing there..don't you think that they could at least muster a dog track?  


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Local folk singer and grand ambassador for Cardinal Sports Mickey Clark has released an updated version of his "Battle of New Orleans" Cardinal hoops song. 


Click the link below to give it a spin....courtesy of Charlie Springer and his fine site...UofL Card Game 


MICKEY SINGS!

Mickey is one of the few folk artists that features
balloons as a part of his back-up band. 
We love Mickey! He's been a rambling musical troubadour around these parts since the Nixon presidency and still performs 2-3 nights a week at various Louisville bars and restaurants. He also toils in the same profession as Paul does...advertising. We try to catch his Friday night performances at Fiesta Mexicana when we can...where the margarita's are almost as strong as Tillie the Tour Guide's.


Mickey's five piece Blue Norther band of performing cronies play a lot of classic and original tunes. Red Velvet Cake, Peytona Waddy and Don't (Mist) on my Boots and Tell Me that It's Raining are just a few of our favorites. You can check out the Cardinal Cannonball crooner at his website.


To paraphrase a line from The world's most interesting man:


We don't listen to folk music often..but when we do, we prefer Mickey Clark.

Mickey's Website

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(Finally, DAVID WATSON checks in with this brief piece on the UofL vs. UK battle taking place Saturday in New Orleans. It's Watson. Proceed with caution.)


It is a reality. The annual battle for state hoops supremacy (no offense, Murray State or WKU) in Kentucky gets a encore performance in the city of hoodoo, voodoo and Bourbon Street. 


The stage is the Superdome and the stakes are high -- a trip to the NCAA Championship game for the winner. These out-of-nowhere, never-say-die Cardinals and the #1 ranked, NBA prospect-filled Wildcats take the grudge match to the biggest showcase in college basketball. The Final Four. 


I do not think Louisville will win this game (get ready Paul and Sonja -- the hate e-mails will be keeping Co-Co busy for the next few days after this remark). Kentucky is way too talented, no weaknesses in their seven-deep juggernaut and they've toyed with and then destroyed all comers in the BIG DANCE. 


Then, again -- I think Louisville could pull one of the biggest upsets in recent NCAA Tournament history. This flock of birds doesn't shoot particularly well, has a point guard who rambles and rolls like Otis Campbell on a Saturday night bender in Mayberry and the shooters can get as cold from three-point range as Uncle Donnie's snow-blower out in his Fargo, ND garage in January. But, they play defense and they find a way to win. That accounts for something. 


I am horribly confused and conflicted. It's a beautiful thing.


The Kentucky Wildcats travel with 15. Seven players and
eight guys who carry luggage. 
It is Pitino vs. Calipari. Two guys who probably won't sit down any time soon over a bottle of house red and discuss deep sea fishing. It is Gorgui and Chane against Anthony and Terrance. A shot-blocking, muscle against bone brawl in the paint. It is red versus blue. The legend of Adolph Rupp vs the legacy of Denny Crum. The Doctors of Dunk vs. the Unforgettables. City Slicker meets Farmer Joe. St. Matthews against Lone Oak. 


This sign should be erected at the state line on
every Interstate leading into Kentucky.
Calipari says it's just another game to his guys. No firm feelings for his Cat players concerning the Battle for the Bluegrass rivalry. He spins about as well as Rick. Rick wants his guys to go out and play basketball. What a stunning strategy, monsieur Pitino!


It is time for Saturday and it is only Tuesday. May the best team win. And, I do honestly hope it is Louisville. GEAUX CARDS! 


(David Watson will watch this battle in his red jogging suit while sipping on a few bottles of Blue Moon Pale Ale. He'll be munching on red salsa sauce and blue corn tortilla chips. After the game, he'll drive the family in his blue van to Red Robin for dinner. 4 1/2 days till tip-off)


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