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Friday, December 23, 2016

Louisville women's basketball -- Five things to consider...FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


CARDS HOME FOR A FEW DAYS WITH THESE THINGS TO CONSIDER


By now, we're assuming that the University of Louisville women's basketball team has arrived home and are among family and friends...celebrating the Christmas holiday....barring any Trains, Planes and Automobile incidents. Lest you think the several days away from campus will be filled with only mass-eating, TV binge-watching and trips to the mall...be aware that each player was sent home with strength and conditioning exercises and training tips to keep themselves in shape while away from the whistles and clipboards of the UofL coaching staff. 

It won't be a festive suit-wearing and egg-nog swilling marathon for the coaches, though...while the players are away. There are potential recruits to be called. Strategies and philosophies (yes, even theorems) to be administered to be planned by the Walz bunch while they're off until after Christmas Day. The Cards jump into the ACC pool on Dec. 29th. against a dangerous, if a bit under-performing, Syracuse squad and trips to Duke and Virginia loom ahead within that same week span of time. 

So what are some of the things the Cards need to continue to excel at and work on as conference play awaits? Let's look at five tenets of what we refer to as Louisville women's basketball in terms of what the Cards need to do to remain in their winning ways scenario and dispose of the worthy foes that lie ahead. There are some huge tasks ahead and preparation is such an important part of the battle...


  1. Defensive intensity. It was there in mass quantities against Vandy...and it's been there pretty much since the loss to Maryland three weeks ago. A lot of that comes from the combined efforts of the players on the floor to keep competition's shooting percentages low. Louisville dominated Vandy down low. Will they be able to do the same against the guard-strong Syracuse and Duke squads who also have strength in the paint? 
  2. Recognizing who's hot. Louisville got a huge game out of Myisha Hines-Allen against Vandy...a lot of that attributable to her teammates recognizing the "hot hand" and getting the ball to her. Next time it might be Mariya Moore or maybe Asia Durr. That knowledge and recognition comes from player awareness and coaching. The old football term "feed the studs" applies here...can the Cards continue to recognize and react? 
  3. Improving on the weaknesses. Despite the 12-2 record, there are things the Cards need to practice and work on. We'd like to see Moore and Jackson's shooting skills return and Cortnee cash in on the 10-12 foot jumper when she's unguarded and the team's overall free throw performance improve. Texas A&M defeated Syracuse in part by going 34 for 40 from the free throw line. A excellent 85%. We're not saying the Cards will have that many opportunities at the charity stripe against the Orange (or anyone)...but why not take advantage of the "unguarded ones?"
  4. Getting the best out of what you have. It looks like, as least for now, that Hines-Allen, Moore, Walton, Jackson and Durr are going to see the majority of the minutes for Louisville. That's fine, we have no issue with that at all...but when Taylor Johnson, Kylee Shook, Jazmine Jones or (name your player) are out there...Louisville needs a clear focus and execution out of them. If you're sent into a game with a specific instruction or mission...execute it. If you want that playing time, go out and earn it...regardless if you're a starter or not. 
  5. Finish what you've started. What is one of the things that makes UConn so successful? They have that ability, that desire..to take a ten point lead and stretch it to fifteen, then twenty...twenty five before the opponent knows what hit them. Seal the deal, complete the meal and don't let the foe steal their way back into the game. I'm not sure that this Louisville team has the "killer instinct" ability that they need yet...I'm sure the motivation is there...but it needs to be executed. Once you've hit the accelerator...there's no need to keep tapping the brake. Keep driving.  

The ACC is not going to be an easy ride for Louisville (or anyone in the conference) because of the vast talent and skill sets that exist on all 15 squads. Being prepared to perform and taking the teaching tips that are provided to you by the coaches can often turn the tide in your direction. Know you foes and also know you.

The great WWII General George S. Patton, Jr. defeated Nazi forces under the command of Erwin Rommel in a key battle held in the Tunisian area known as El Guettar. It was planning and strategy, combined wih performance, that won this key north African skirmish for the Allied forces. As the battle swung in the Allied Forces favor...Patton exclaimed..."Rommel, you magnificent bastard...I read your book!" He had done the work, knew the foe and his capabilities and succeeded. 

Patton's preparation and getting the maximum utilization of his resources...including Patton reading a book written by Rommel a few years back about tank strategies...won the day that day for his side. The Cardinals must use all the resources, skills and then put them into action when the time comes to "win the day" in the upcoming future. Know the book on your foe. Then, perform the task. 

We've already had Walz's theories on participation and free throw shooting fully lined out for us this year. Will he and the squad have their "El Guettar" moment ahead? We'll find out very soon. Take a few days to take it all in, Cards...because you'll be drinking from a fire-hose before you know it and the season gets very real in a week. 


two xmas shopping days left!
Paulie
xxxxx

16 comments:

  1. Mice review of the Cards Paulie. I can se Walz as a Patton type except for the pomp and circumstance that went with Patton's arrival and entries. My late father was a staff sergeant in Patton's Third Army and dealt a lot with supplies control. He used to tell us that Patton was never satisfied with what was available and constantly had Dad and his crew working to get more. Pop said it was the most challenging job he ever had in his life. Dad went on to build and design factories. Oh well, I reminisce too much here. I think defense and Hines-Allen are the two major keys to the Cards successes from here on out.

    The Real Joe Hill

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    1. Mice review? Joe, you need to finish that first cup of coffee before you post! LOLOLOL. Great stuff on your Dad, though. My Dad was in the Pacific hunting Japanese. I, too, have some great stories I recall from him. Talk to you soon.

      Paulie

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    2. My Dad said that during the war he flew toilet paper to the troops....mainly in north Africa and India. Always find Patton stories interesting.

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  2. Louisville will demolish the ACC because you never know who is going to deliver the damaging blows for the Cards so you can't key on one particular person. IF you decide to shut down Hines-Allen, for example, Durr and, let's say, Shook will punish you. And, there are several parables to this philosophy. The Cards are probably the sixth best team in the nation right now and I'll put Notre Dame, Maryland, Connecticut, South Carolina and Baylor in front of them and in no particular order except Connecticut on top.

    Merry Christmas Cards fans and enjoy the holidays! The Deb Factor

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    1. Thanks Deb! Looking forward to the rest of the year. Go CARDS!

      Paulie

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  3. Maybe Louisville should make some kind of performance award for good free throw shooting. Like if they go 70% or better, they get a Snickers bar or two less minutes of running. It worked when I played. If we had 10 turnovers or less in a game, we didn't run the bleachers during our next practice. It's a team goal and peer pressure in a positive way can bring results. That and getting your butt into the gym and practicing.

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    1. Here's a quote I love from Al McGuire:

      It's interesting to see a golfer line up for a one-foot putt to win a tournament and the crowd going silent, then have a 18 year old kid stand in front of 18,000 screaming people and try and win a game by trying to make a shot with no one guarding him.

      Go Cards!
      Paulie

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  4. One word....rebounding, rebounding, rebounding.

    Cards are not a good rebounding team, especially on the defensive end. That has to improve or they will have a tough time beating good teams.

    As for "finishing"....year after year UConn seals the deal better than any team I've ever seen, women or men.

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    1. Assume every shot will be a miss...establish contact before your opponent on the block out and anticipate and react to where you think the ball might be headed after the miss. My high school coach taught me those three things about becoming an effective rebounded and I'm pretty sure it still applies today. I still remember them today and it did work for me.

      Paulie

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  5. Well Played Paulie. I think this is the best post I've ever read from you. Nothing to add but...yep.

    Still waiting for the Guv to weigh in. Assuming she'll keep her streak of blaming the refs whenever UK loses going.

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    1. Thanks Burn! Yeah, the Guv is still probably dressed in black and mourning. What a game, though.

      Paulie

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    2. Just to let you know, I am fine and all is well in my world. Yes, I was disappointed in the basketball game but the Cats had chances to win and couldn't get it done. So, hats off to Louisville. As far as the "bird dancing" stuff goes, that was pretty embarrassing and when it was going on, I thought back to times it had happen before and how they ended up in losses. I told my son that this might come back to haunt us. He's a UofL fan. So was his daddy.

      We are going to be a good team, though. Both our basketball squads, men and women. You got this one. It was about time for you. Let's hope we get a rematch this year. On a neutral court.

      Merry Christmas, little birdies. I'll have a Blue Christmas. With my blue decorations, lights and Santa.

      Matthew Mitchell For Governor

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  6. Wow Paulie that sums it up. I really can't say nothing else but Merry Christmas. Go Cards!

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    1. Only thing I can say is if our bigs get better
      ciera, Kylee and also Cortnee we could dominate a lot of teams in the paint.

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    2. Thanks, Marvin! Merry Christmas to you, too! Spent a few hours this afternoon in the holiday madness tracking down one last gift. What was I thinking? Crazier than Times Square on New Year's Eve (or Matthew Mitchell on the sidelines down by five with 30 seconds to go).

      If it's a three-headed center we need...so be it. Lots of fouls to give that away. Still wonder if we'll face anything tougher inside than what we saw against South Carolina or Maryland. I'm optimistic about thiss ACC schedule.

      Merry Christmas.

      Paulie

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