Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Wednesday Cardinal Couple -- Who will beat them?
WEDNESDAY CARINAL COUPLE
- Who will beat the Lady Cards?
As Jeff Walz and his Louisville WBB squad prepare for a Thursday night pre-season WNIT matchup against LSU in the KFC YUM! Center...one can find very little wrong with Louisville's first couple of games this season. The Cards have reached 100 or more points in each contest. Three-point shooting seems to be back to where it left off last season. Louisville has additional strength in the paint and no one has gotten within 18 points of them in two games and an exhibition.
Jeff Walz finds some faults, though.
It is his job to do that. The drive for perfection necessitates a coverage of all aspects of performance. The good and the bad. Coach Walz is not normally a negative person...but there are aspects of the Cardinals' performances that have him furrowing his brow and stating that he's resigned to the fact that only the players can correct the maladies and conjure up the motivation to excel at optimum performance. After all, Walz hasn't sunk a free throw, grabbed a board or made a deflection in seven years...
The areas that are in need of improvement?
Free throw shooting, rebounding and defense.
He's put it upon them to find the answers. How badly do they want it? Are they inspired enough to make positive changes in grabs, free ones and stops?
This Louisville women's basketball team is power energized enough to where they could possibly play matador defense all season long and win games simply by outscoring the foe.
It isn't the way Jeff wants to see it go down, however.
Defensive lapses allow point production for the opponent. Leaving points on the table by failure to hit free attempts from the charity stripe is like leaving money in the ATM. Lack of rebounding prevents the squad from getting the ball back into the hands of the eager and capable scorers.
Failure to do the three things well eventually leads to beating yourself.
Make no mistake...besides UConn and maybe UK, there are no teams scheduled to face this deck of Cards that can beat them if Louisville plays to their abilities.
Free throw shooting is 90% mental. Concentration, smooth form, release and follow through makes the ball go in the hoop and down through the net. Rebounding is all about positioning, blocking out and elevation. Guarding an opponent goes back to the mental aspect as well. Anticipating, creating mis-matches, taking advantage of opponent hesitation, carelessness and judgement. Putting up your hands, denying the paint, baseline and open look on the shot process.
If Louisville has any head-scratching, "how-did-that-happen?" losses this season, it'll be because the Cards beat themselves.
Repeat. It will be because they beat themselves.
The grocery list has a lot of things already checked off as done. This team can score like no other in Cardinal WBB history. They can run the transition game like a confident engineer guiding a diesel locomotive. They recognize each other on the offensive sets quite well an they have a magician who can create the seeming un-creatable.
Three more things to pick up before they tote the bags out of the store and head to Nashville. A prescription for shooting 70% or better from the foul stripe. Playing smart and suffocating defense. Grabbing missed shots.
All controllable and possible if the desire, motivation and work ethic is there.
How bad do you want it, orange orb bouncers?
Jeff Walz stressed to the team last year that if they would follow the game plans he and his assistants drew up and presented to them...that they would succeed.
They went to the Championship game.
I still firmly believe that this is the year that this team can beat the Huskies of Hartford. Make me look good here, girls....and take care of the things that are controllable. The talent is there. Bring the tenacity.
Yours is a brief and fleeting time to bask in the limelight of the thrill and excitement of big-time women's college basketball in a state-of-the-art arena, appreciative and large fan base and supportive community. Why waste any single moment of this situation that so many would give dearly to be a part of?
For every one of you that has a locker and Cardinal jersey hanging in it....there are thousands of capable WBB players who would leap at the opportunity to be you and have your status.
Time is now. Unfinished business. Pack a lunch and go to work.