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Friday, November 18, 2016

Cards Split Double Game Day -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


FREAKY FRIDAY FOR FANS  


After the game last night, I got my computer out to write. I made it through half of the first sentence of the basketball segment before I decided that it would have to wait. Why I let the performance of a team that I have no stake in, other than fandom, affect me so much, I will never know, but I literally lost sleep over last night's football game. That's just how I get with sports, and that passion is part of what I try to convey in my writing. Anyway, since the workday is barreling down on me, here's a brief table of contents. I'm going to start in just a minute with some breaking news, then I'm going to go happy with the men's basketball portion, then I'll put football at the end so you can skip it if you want (I wish I could). Pictures are on you, Paulie. I trust you to supplement my message. Let's jump right into it.

Breaking News:


University of Louisville volleyball coach, Anne Kordes, announced her resignation yesterday, It will be effective at the end of the season. The release cited personal reasons, and this came as a shock to many people. I don't know much more about the situation, so I'll leave that up to Worldwide to provide us with some insider information on Saturday.

Kordes has stated that the resignation is due to a conflict in her family life, time on the road and being a mom. There will be a press conference Monday and we'll be there to cover it.

Anne has been a good friend to CARDINAL COUPLE over the years and, although we hate to see her go...our philosophy here is "family first" and family always. We admire the courage to make such a tough decision and appreciate what she has done for Louisville Volleyball. 

Strong Second Week for Men's Basketball


While Jeff Walz's squad has been busy lighting up the hardwood for four quarters, Rick Pitino's group has been doing the same for two halves. The two performances this week were no different. Louisville started the week Monday night with a 91-58 throttling of William and Mary, and continued yesterday afternoon with a 88-56 drubbing of Long Beach State. Neither of these teams were expected to offer much resistance against the Cards, but Rick Pitino has been careful with his scheduling this year. His goal was to schedule only teams that finished last season in the RPI top 100 and returned at least two starters. Long Beach State was even picked to finish near the top of the Big West Conference. Louisville has come out and played to the potential we expected them to, and it's still early November.

I would be lying if I told you that the Cards looked perfect through these first three games, but they have looked good. There has been some sloppiness--more turnovers than I'd like, easy baskets missed, etc--but we, as fans, can't complain about those games when the team is still winning by 30. The reason that you play these early games is to get acclimated as a team and work those early kinks out. Louisville will get it's share of tests coming up, with Michigan State the potential opponent in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game and Purdue coming to the Yum! Center on November 30th. Ignore the fact that Michigan State no longer has Denzel Valentine and that they were run out of the gym by UK. The Spartans are still a team for Louisville to value themselves against, and Tom Izzo is never an easy coach to beat.

My excitement on the floor thus far is coming from a few people you expect, and guy that you don't.

Donovan Mitchell and Deng Adel are doing all that they can to live up to the hype attributed to them during and after this year's adidas Nations camp. They've started off pretty well. Adel is currently going for 11 points per game and is shooting 92% from the free throw line. Hopefully his other shooting percentages aim to reach his free throw percentage and not the other way around. Mitchell is shooting 10.7 ppg while pulling down 5.3 rebounds per game and snagging 2.3 steals per game. He looks like he's going to step right into the two-guard role formerly filled by Russ Smith. I think he might turn out being even better.

Additionally, Jaylen Johnson has been playing lights out, averaging nearly a double-double and VJ King is starting his college career off hot. King is averaging 10.3 ppg in the early going, while only seeing the floor for 14.7 minutes per game. My surprise excitement has come from Ryan McMahon, who looks like he might fill the "we desperately need a bucket" role, a la Tim Henderson, but he might see the floor even more than that. He hasn't shown quite as much in the three true games so far as he did in the exhibitions, but in 15 minutes against LBSU, he finished with 6 points and 5 assists.

This could be shaping up to be a fantastic basketball season for the men. It's definitely going to be exciting to watch, regardless of outcomes. This team is also extremely easy to like, and those are the best kind of teams to have. Say whatever you want about Rick Pitino not being a great recruiter because he consistently misses on one-and-done players, but, quite frankly, I prefer the long term players so that we fans can build relationships with the teams. It makes it much more enjoyable in my opinion. First test starts on Paradise Island next week. Let's see what these guys are really made of.

Houston Runs Louisville Out of the Stadium (and out of the Playoff)


Last night was rough. That's pretty much all there is to say. Down 31-0 in the first half, Louisville
faced it's largest deficit since 2009. They were also shutout in a first half for the first time all season. As many times as we have seen the Cards put up 25+ points in a quarter this season, I still had faith, but it was dwindling quickly. From my seat at Buffalo Wild Wings, things only appeared to be getting worse each and every play after Louisville fumbled the opening kickoff. While it was probably over long before then, the final nail in the coffin in my opinion, was a strong Louisville drive, with the Cards down 31-7, dying inside the ten yard line with, you guessed it, a lost fumble. Instead of being down 31-14 with 4 minutes remaining in the third quarter, Louisville eventually had to settle for a field goal to start the fourth after holding Houston.

Louisville is one of the worst teams in the country at turning the ball over. Usually, this is offset, at least in part, by the defense forcing turnovers of their own. Such was not the case last night, as Louisville increased its lost fumble total on the season to 21. That is seven more than any other team in the country. A hot offense can only be so hot when it isn't putting the ball on the turf all the time. Here's hoping ball security becomes a point of emphasis through the rest of this season and over all of the offseason. 

I'm not going to blame any one player, or any group of players, for the loss because I think that this was the worst team performance of the season. However, I will point out that the offensive line was abysmal. Lamar Jackson gained 116 yards on the ground. That's a low number for him, but it would still be considered respectable... if it was his net total. Instead, Lamar Jackson finished with 33 yards rushing after being sacked ELEVEN TIMES for a loss of 83 yards. While some of these may be on Lamar, for holding onto the ball for too long (or throwing it away in the end zone for a safety), most of them were not, as the offensive line missed assignment after assignment. Nearly every sack came as the result of at least one person being completely unblocked, even on four man rushes. 

I don't do this often, because I think that blaming the referees is a fruitless exercise, but this site makes no claims about not being for homers, and I'll make no claim about not being a homer. The officiating crew last night was a joke. Beyond the fact that we were playing an American team, at home, with an American officiating crew (I think impartial crews should always be used in non-conference games), the penalty discrepancy was ridiculous. And when I say ridiculous, I mean Louisville was called for 15 penalties for over 110 yards and Houston was called for a single false start. Louisville got called for holding on a kickoff that went out the back of the endzone. I didn't even know that was a thing. The refs were absolutely not the reason that Louisville lost, please don't misinterpret my statements, but at least try to call an even game. Thus ends the ref rant. 

Without some crazy final two weeks of football, Louisville's playoff hopes are most certainly dashed.

This isn't one of those Go ACC moments for me, though. As much flak as Louisville has gotten this season from its conference brethren, I am firmly planted in my belief that "if we can't go, nobody can." I have fully prepared myself for Louisville to win the ACC if Clemson loses this week, and for the ACC to be left out of the playoff. Of course, more than any of that, I am just worried about a Louisville win over that team from down the road next week after Thanksgiving. I've written much more than I meant to about this game, but I got all worked up. Louisville still has at least two games to play this season, and I'll be looking forward to them as much as I did the season opener. As frustrating as the loss last night was, it won't even begin to make me waver in my support of the Cards. 

The smoke has cleared; Houston was victorious, but the Cards live to fight another day. Join me in supporting our guys on the gridiron til the end.

As always... Until next time, Go Cards. (Beat Kentucky. And also, Go Wake. Except for your bogus accusation about us cheating. I'll be willing to forgive you if you beat Clemson.)
-CH-

8 comments:

  1. Why even mention the officiating? It had nothing to do with the outcome. The false starts on offense and the tackling of defensive players after they whipped our offensive linemen were so obvious that I could call them from my sofa. The personal foul in the pile after the nice gain was a no-brainer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I agree the Offensive line got whipped,they didn't provide time for lamar to set up in the pocket.Go Cards beat Kentucky!

      Delete
    2. I'll jump in here and just emphasize what bothered me. The Coogs were whistled for (1) penalty in 60 minutes of football. No, it did not affect the outcome but I * thought * I saw a face-mask, block in the back and holding at least twice.

      No, I am not an official. Maybe my eye-sight was off. But (1) penalty in 60 minutes. It does raise the eyebrow.

      Houston outplayed the Cards in all three facets...offense, defense and special teams. They definitely earned the win.

      Paulie

      Delete
  2. Houston, we have a problem. You kicked the crap out of us.

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  3. Can't blame her for wanting to be a good Mom:

    "It's with extremely strong emotions that I am announcing my decision to end my career as a Division I volleyball coach," said Kordes. "The last 20 years in this business have been a dream come true. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work for so many wonderful people during my time in coaching, but especially Tom Jurich at Louisville. He treats his athletic department like family and I could not be more thankful to him. There are aspects of every job that can be challenging and at this point in my life I am finding it hard to be the mom I want to be to my daughter because of the grind and travel of the recruiting season. There is no way around it if you want to be successful as recruiting is your life-line. My struggle isn't the work, it's the work out of town. I consider myself to be lucky because of what I have been able to experience as a coach, especially at the University of Louisville. I also consider myself lucky because of what I get to experience as a mom."

    ReplyDelete
  4. FWIW. Notre Dame women's basketball barely beat Green Bay 71-67. That Aaron Rodgers. Good at all sports.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well played! Whoever you are...Actually the Phoenix have had a great "mid-major" squad for several years now and Muffet is having to adjust to some new players. Or them to her. The point is...Notre Dame maay not walk over the ACC in WBB as easily as some have suggested.

      Paulie

      Delete
  5. Go Cards today! Beat Bowling Green.

    ReplyDelete

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