Wednesday, January 13, 2016
ACC WBB is as tough as expected -- Wednesday CARDINAL COUPLE
FIVE SCHOOLS IN TOP 25...LOUISVILLE AND IRISH SIT ATOP STANDINGS.
Going into the 2015-16 women's basketball season, Louisville was aware of the tough road that laid ahead when they completed a very challenging non-conference schedule. With 1/4th of the ACC regular season schedule in the books, the Cards sit atop the ACC standings along with Notre Dame at 4-0. The work for Louisville has just begun, though...five ACC schools (Notre Dame, Miami, Florida State, Louisville and Duke) are in the NCAA top 25 and the Cards have yet to meet two of them.
How is Syracuse not? We'll get into that later...
Six schools have just one loss in conference play so far...so the chance for change and upheaval definitely still exists. The Cards prepare to go on a three game road-swing where they'll face three of those one-loss conference opponents (Virginia, NC State and Syracuse)..a trip that will have Louisville away from the friendly surroundings of the KFC YUM! Center until January 28th.
Who are the movers and shakers in the Atlantic Coast Conference so far?
Louisville has faced all three of these point-producers and Whiteside had 24 against the Cards, including 11 free throws. The other two were held to below their season averages. Myishia Hines-Allen is fifth in the conference at 15.4 ppg.
Stevens and Bulgat both had more than their averages against the Cards and Louisville hasn't faced Quinn yet. Hines-Allen has 7.7 and Cortnee Walton has 7.4 for Louisville.
(Sidebar...I see Cortnee's named misspelled a lot in various publications and message boards. It is CORTNEE, not Courtnee. Give Mama Lion her due respect...)
Some other numbers...
The Cards are sixth in the ACC in scoring offense (71.9), 11th in scoring defense (62.3) and ninth in scoring margin (9.6).
Sit down for this next stat....Louisville is 3rd. in the ACC with free throw percentage at 71.4%. You can scratch your head in puzzlement on these next ones...the Cards are last in the league in 3 point field goal percentage defense at 35.4%. Louisville is also last in conference in defensive rebounds per game.
Louisville's next three opponents have a combined 36-14 record this season.
ACC...good as advertised and tough as expected.
Now...the case for the 'Cuse...
Syracuse is a dangerous opponent that waits at the end of the road trip. They are receiving votes in the AP poll but still not being recognized in the top 25. The Orange (12-4) certainly have nothing to be ashamed of in any of their losses...to Maryland, Arizona State, Tennessee and North Carolina. Like Louisville, they have had most of those losses early in the schedule...they are currently on a 6-1 run and deserving of a spot in the top 25.
Only the SEC (7) has more schools in the AP Top 25, than the ACC. The top 25 is dominated by six conferences. The Pac-12 also has five schools represented. The Big 10 adds three and so does the Big 12. The AAC lists two schools in the top 25. These numbers will probably change as the season progresses...but just as football talks of the "Power 5"...women's basketball can point to their "Power 6".
Any claims that the ACC is a better women's basketball conference than the SEC might have to wait...the ACC is 4-10 in head-to-head matches against SEC schools.
Fun times ahead for the Cards as they roll through January. It will be good to get back into the KFC YUM! Center...where Louisville is 81-10 since beginning play there in 2010.