Monday, February 6, 2017
Louisville women's basketball -- Showdown in South Bend tonight -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
TOP TEN BATTLE BETWEEN CARDS AND IRISH
( Sorry for today's late post....Super Bowl sluggishness. What a game, though!)
If you are a Louisville basketball fan, tonight's a night to reserve your spot on the couch, have the popcorn, beverages and whatever lucky charm or article of clothing you reserve for the big ones at the ready and prepare for battle. The Cards take over ESPN on Big Monday in two huge road matches against ACC foes.
Not only do the men face a Virginia squad that has had their number lately in Charlottesville (ESPN)...but Jeff Walz's women's squad is on the docket and travels to South Bend for a top ten match up against Muffet McGraw's Notre Dame team. (ESPN 2). Unfortunately, both are at 7 p.m...so split screens and mutiple viewing devices will come into play.
Louisville has won five out of their last six games and the Irish are on a five-game winning streak. The Irish are #7 or #8...depending on which poll service you want to consider and the Cards are #9 or #7. Both have 20+ wins on the season. Both have much to gain (or lose) with a win (or loss) tonight.
Muffet McGraw realizes the importance:
" It's a huge game for both teams. It's certainly a game where we have to be really ready because they have so many weapons. They have excellent post play. This is going to be a battle."
A lot of that post play will be hinged on whether Myisha Hines-Allen can go for the Cards. As of this writing, it's a matter of seeing how it goes in warm-ups and how she feels. Thanks for all the e-mails and texts about her status!
The Irish can come at you from a lot of directions. Brianna Turner is the leading scorer in a balanced attack. The 6'3" junior forward averages 14.8 ppg and also leads with 7.5 rpg. Sophomore guard Arike Ogunbowale produces 14.7 a contest. One cannot overlook 5'11" sophomore guard Marina Mabrey and her 13.5 ppg. 5'8" senior guard Lindsey Allen leads with 185 assists and also averages 5.5 steals a contest. Kathryn Westbeld had 15 points in the last contest...vs. Virginia Tech. Freshmen Erin Boley and Jackie Young come off the bench to provide valuable contributions to the Fighting Irish.
Where do you point the hose to start putting out the fire? This "magnificent seven" has been largely responsible for the Irish being in the top ten nationally in field goal%, 3-point field goal %, assist per game and assist-to-turnover ratio.
At 21-3 overall and 9-1 in the ACC..the Irish are tied atop the standing but they have had a few tough tests so far. Their ACC lost came to NC State 70-62 in Raleigh. Boston College got within 11 of them when UND visited them. Duke came into South Bend and narrowly lost 62-58. Visiting Virginia fell 82-74 to Muffet's gang. UConn won the early season match-up in the Purcell Pavilion 72-61 and the Irish traveled to Knoxville and fell to the Vols 71-69.
The Cards are 4-12 in the series with Notre Dame and have lost the last nine meetings. Last year in the KFC YUM! Center the Cards led 35-30 at the half but ended up on the short end of a 66-61 final score.
To win tonight in South Bend, the Cards must take care of a few things that Walz has been preaching all season. Consistency. Playing for 40 minutes. Making layups. Making free throws. Recognizing who has the hot hand and avoiding slow starts to the quarters are all areas UofL will need to control and manage if they want to leave South Bend with a well-earned
"W" in the luggage.
It should be a great one to watch and we'll be back tonight with the recap.
TOP RANKED MBB TRAVELS TO VIRGINIA
Another top 10 contest on the guys side takes place tonight also with Pitino's players facing Tony Bennett and the Cavs. If you listened to our Saturday morning broadcast of THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR...you got some valuable insight from Case Hoskins on what the Cards would need to do to dismantle the Wahoos. Louisville MBB has been on fire lately and with all the top 10 losses over the weekend and the Cards huge win...Louisville could move up to as high as #3 in the nation.
Virginia has been a nemesis. Can the Cards find a way to win this one tonight?
Especially with the late news that Deng Adel and Mangok Mathiang will sit tonight because of a Saturday night curfew rules violation.
Gonna be one hard row to plow without them, Q and Hicks...
PAULIE PICKS GO KERPLUNK
Sunday ACC WBB offered a few surprises (at least to me) in the five game schedule. I went 3-2 in the selections. I did hit the Duke win at Virginia, Syracuse over Boston College and Wake Forest against Pitt...but was unsuccessful in choosing UNC against Clemson (nice win Tigers!) and Virginia Tech stumbled against Georgia Tech.
Hopefully FSU and UofL can salvage a less than stellar week for your fearless prognosticator.
ACC. Anything Can Culminate.