SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
- A two horse race halfway through the schedule
Louisville WBB will play their tenth of 18 games tomorrow in the American Athletic Conference...a bit of unfinished business at hand...when those South Florida Bulls come to town and try to disrupt the china shop.
So far...it's been nothing but "W" in the win/loss ledger for Jeff Walz's crew...to borrow a softball term, the Cards are pitching a no-hitter against this assortment of Tigers, Cougars, Bearcats and SMU's.
There are no real surprises in the standings above for me...except that I thought Temple had a chance to crack the top 4. And they still have nine games to get there. We knew the Bearcats, Central Florida and Houston would be cellar dwellers.
Louisville and Connecticut have stepped on the court 43 times combined this season and suffered one loss...we all know who delivered it and where. The team that delivered it is having its own difficulties right now...their coach is faced with the dilemma that he only has 200 minutes to distribute to his dozen or so players and they all want 35-40 each. Lexington isn't a real happy place to be these days.
In The American, the place you don't want to be is in fourth. It most likely means you'll have the Huskies in your part of the bracket when tournament time rolls around in early March.
The rest of the basketball world has surveyed the situation, passed judgement and determined that UConn will finish 18-0 in conference play and Louisville will end up 16-2 and get
"place" payouts in this race.
Not so fast, my friend. I'm recommending they still play the games scheduled for 02/09/14 and 03/03/14. Let's hop into the time machine and travel back to Easter Sunday in the year of 2013. Louisville was hunting Easter eggs in Oklahoma City and this big rabbit named Griner was standing in front of the Cards path with her fighting point guard and strip-tease loving coach. Everyone had already filled out their bracket with Baylor advancing to play Tennessee on Tuesday.
Guess who ruined the party?
It could happen again. I'm not ready to hand UConn the games that Louisville will play them in. It could be as many as four times...regular conference twice, AAC Tournament and NCAA Big Dance. The team that the mad scientist coaches isn't ready to shake hands in defeat before the opening tip.
The Louisville WBB theme this year is "Unfinished Business". They did not decide to coin the season with the moniker "Let's Lose To The Dogs Four Times and Beat Everyone Else". Jeff Walz wants to win his final game of the season for the second time in his career...he did it as an assistant at Maryland and you can ask him...it was a pretty good feeling and he'd like to share it with this flock of birds.
The same thing was said about Griner and Baylor last year. The Jeff Walz version of the Rick Pitino "one day contract" theory has worked quite well this season.
Shoni, at least right now...is showing the maturity, seasoning and talent we all knew existed within her. Asia Taylor and Sara Hammond have become the workhorses in the paint and they've got two promising apprentices in "E" and Cortnee.
Tia and Nita are capable of dropping 20 on an unsuspecting opponent any night. Close you eyes for just a second and one of the attack yorkies (Jude and Monny) have stolen the ball from you and are almost at the other end of the court to make a layup. Bria will smile that big, beautiful smile at you and then proceed to embarrass you by pounding down mid-range jumpers or driving journeys to the hoop to make layups. Megan Deines seems to be three people, not one...with her all over the court hustle and playmaking.
Don't count these 11 girls out against UConn. They didn't get to 21-1 by luck. First things first, though. Beating the Bulls and then a winter's trip to Florida to knock off some Knights in Mouseville.
If you believe it, you can achieve it.