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Friday, June 23, 2017

Drafts and Accountability - Friday Cardinal Couple

Mitchell to Denver, No Wait, Utah


In the NBA Draft last night, Donovan Mitchell was officially picked up in the 13th pick by the Denver Nuggets, but with a trade arrangement in place to send him off to Utah, who was trading up with Denver in order to get Mitchell.

I don't follow the NBA much at all, and certainly not their draft process and prospects, but congratulations to Donovan in heading out to Salt Lake City.  Perhaps he can get some pointers on living life in a city that is less than 3% African American from Darrell Griffith.  The great #35 on the men's team played 11 years for the Jazz.  The demographics of the city have become more diverse over the past 20 years particularly, with a huge influx of Hispanic and Latino population, though the portion of African Americans still hovers around 2 1/2%.

Baseball to Louisville, No Thanks to the Men in Black


Dan McDonnell is a better man than I.  Let's get that out of the way first.  In UofL Baseball's loss to TCU in the elimination side of the bracket of the College World Series, McDonnell demurred on the officiating of the game.  The Cards lost the game 4-3 and will be heading home from Omaha.

Let's face it, the officiating was a stinker.

I will be the first to excuse officiating for missing calls in live action.  Plays happen fast, angles and perspectives play a role in perception of what happened, and humans aren't perfect.  I have absolutely no tolerance for not getting it right when there are good camera angles of the play in review, however.  There are times where the available camera angles also don't adequately capture the action to be able to affirmatively overturn a ruling on the field.  In at least one game-changing case last night, however, that wasn't the case.  In the throw at the plate, the replay clearly showed Colby Fitch putting the tag on the runner's knee before the runner's hand touched the plate, and the officials upheld the out called on the field.  Inexcusable.

Maybe I'm just a bit of an anti-authoritarian in general, but I'm a firm believer that there needs to be some degree of visible accountability for officiating in sports...particularly at the college level.  The officials are the only people on the field of play during play action that get paid.  Visible accountability should be part of that deal.  We expect these rhetorically-amateur athletes to answer questions about their play, win or lose, but the professionals get to walk off the field with no after action report, and no real accountability for their mistakes.  Pitiful.

OK, that rant out of the way...

Huge congratulations to the Baseball team for the amazing season they had.  They outperformed every expectation that anyone had for what was expected to be a rebuilding year for the program.  Dan McDonnell is a class act of a coach, and his team exudes greatness, both as players, and as people.

With so many graduating or going to the pros...one would expect a bit of a rebuilding job for 2018 for Dan and his staff. Funny...the same was said about the team last year after Burdi, Funkhouser, Kidston, Ray and Rosenbaum went to  the pros.


Great season, and I can't wait to see this team play again next year, and some of the players in the pro ranks.

-- JMcA

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Louisville women's soccer continues to bring in top talent -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



EKIK, KERWIN WILL CONTRIBUE IMMEDIATELY FOR KAREN FERGUSON DAYES


As Louisville head women's soccer coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes continues to build a roster that can compete with and beat ACC foes...we've seen some very talented players don the Cardinal jerseys and take the turf out at Lynn Stadium over the last several years. Gabrielle Vincent excited Cardinal fans with her ball movement and hawking abilities in 2015. Brooklyn Rivers, Alison Whitfield and Sarah Feola delighted Louligans with their impressive freshmen play back in 2016. On a team that will have six seniors for the 2017 season....new talent is of the utmost importance and UofL continues to attract and draw good talent to the Belknap Campus with freshmen and a transfer. Nine new Cardinals join the roster for 2017. It's the largest incoming class I can remember in recent years for Ferguson-Dayes. 

Add two new assistant coaches in Andy Stoots and Hunter Norton and we'll be using the program guide early in the season from the press box to identify and track a sizable amount of the 'Kickin' Cards this fall...

Let's meet the new players!

TAYLOR KERWIN. Midfielder.  Her high school senior season just ended in Whitefish Bay, WI and she was named Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year. She led her team to the State Championship title and had three goals in the championship game...won 5-1 by Whitefish Bay. 

EMINA EKIC. Midfielder. A Louisville, KY native, she started both games for the USA U19 squad in their recent matches in Europe against the Czech Republic. Out of Manual High School...she was the Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016. 

MOLLIE ROUSE. Midfielder-Center. Mollie comes from the Stratford Upon Avon School in England where she also had extensive playing experience on the English U17 and U19 squads. Known for being a creative scorer...she also has a flair for passing and earned four caps playing in international competition. 

T.J. ANDERSON. Midfielder. T.J. comes out of the Wesleyan School in Atlanta, GA. She was Georgia's 2016 AA Player of the Year. She was a scoring machine in the Peach State...with 17 goals in 11 games in 2015 and possesses a very deep and long throw from the sidelines. 

LANA BATSON.  Goalkeeper. Played at Patrick Henry H.S. in San Diego, CA. A great shot stopper with excellent footwork, she's also 5'9"...which would make her the tallest goalie on the Cards roster. She'll compete for playing time right off the bat. 

MORGAN DEWEY. Defender. From Blessed Trinity H.S. in John's Creek, GA...Morgan led the defensive charge to runner up finishes in Georgia State soccer in 2014, 15 and 16. A wide defender who can also attack out of the back.

MORGAN EVERETT. Forward. East Forsyth H.S. Kernersville, NC. The Cards beat out ACC competition to get the 5'10" scorer and that's what she does...score. Very fast and can play wide or central forward equally well. 

NADAGE L'ESPERANCE. Midfielder. Lakeshore H.S. Quebec, Canada. Played for the Canadian Team in the U17 World Cup. Can also go to back line if needed and has extensive experience in international competition. Won three straight high school titles. 

KENNEDY CARBIN. Forward. Transfer from Mississippi State. Comes back to Louisville after two years as a Bulldog. Was 2013 Kentucky Female Player of the Year. Led the Bulldogs in scoring in 2015 and was second in 2016. Also has World Cup experience with Bahamas. 

A talented group indeed that joins a roster which returns Inger Katrine Bjerke, Ariana Ferraro, Niamh Nelson, Alison Price and Kaela Dickerman in addition to the players mentioned earlier in today's column. This roster should be the one that will crack the .500 mark the Cards have put up over the past two seasons and could get them into the NCAA Tournament....as well as produce a successful ACC campaign. 

It all gets started in less than eight weeks...when the Cards travel  to Ohio State for their first competition. Based on the 6-1 spring exhibition season...look for great things to take place by the train tracks on Floyd Street this fall! 


******************************************************************************************


IT'S NOW OR NEVER...

The classic Elvis song would apply to the University of Louisville baseball team this evening...as they face the TCU Horned Frogs in a CWS elimination game tonight in Omaha. Win and you get a rematch with Florida. Lose...and the season is over. 

Tough place for the freshman lefty Nick Bennett to get the start...but he was a Freshman All-American and third team ALL-ACC performer. Bennett is 5-0 on the season and sports a sizzling 2.70 ERA. 

Eighteen days since Nick last climbed the hill....getting in five innings in a no-decision during the Cards win over Xavier in the NCAA Regionals. 

For Louisville, a definite call for hitting is out there. 

We'll see...a 8 p.m. Louisville start time on ESPN2...competing with the NBA draft tonight. 

Let's hope good things happen for the Hit and Pitch Cards and Donovan Mitchell tonight! 



paulie
xxxxx

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Louisville women's basketball -- Then there were two. -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



HINES-ALLEN, CARTER REMAIN FROM THE 2014 CLASS


It was a much ballyhooed, highly ranked class. Five players that would continue to keep the Cards WBB program making NCAA regional finals and more. A talented group coming in to join an already existing talented group. Three five-star prospects, a four-star and four of the five in the ESPNW Top 100 rankings. 

Cards fans were excited about getting Myshia Hines-Allen, Mariya Moore, Arica Carter, Sydney Brackemyre and Arianna Freeman on campus. Rightly so, a lot of talent existed in the bunch and they were ranked eighth in the nation. 

We jump from May 2014 to June 2017. Along the way...Freeman decided that better opportunities existed at Colorado and went to play for the Buffs after a freshman season at UofL where she didn't see a lot of court time. She put up 7.7 and 3.2 for Colorado as a red-shirt sophomore on a 17-16 squad that got to the third round of the WNIT. She found the minutes she was looking for (18 per game). Would she have seen that many as a junior at Louisville last year? My guess is no. 


Brackemyre, injured before she got here, oft-injured while here and seeing the court just twice in two years at Louisville...was the next to wave good-bye to The Thinker statue on the Great Lawn off 3rd Street. Hers was a northern move....to the UofI (Indianapolis) Greyhounds in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The injuries healed, the playing time increased and the three-point shot we all knew she had returned in "Naptown"...she ended second leading scorer on the squad (15 p.p.g) for first-year coach Krystan Drayban and the 17-14 'Hounds. Would Brackemyre have been able to get close to those numbers and the 'Ville'? I just don't see that happening. We've seen it before with ex-UofL WBB players...a drop-down in competition quality results in a improved player performance. Get' em Syd! 

The spring of 2017 brought a surprise when a third member of that class decided to seek other venues. Although Mariya Moore was firmly ensconced as one of the top scorers and starters for the Cards after three seasons, she gave notice, packed her grip and left the building.  A desire to play closer to home. The chance to spend a coupe of years on the same roster as her younger sister. She gets what she wants. A big surprise in the women's college basketball community. Deep rumors that there may have been other reasons as well. In any event, investment in a program has to be 100% and hers was not for the Cardinal program in the future. Better to leave and be happy than to stay and sulk. 


Remember when? 
Hines-Allen and Arica Carter remain. 

MHA. The front line force. The one you want out on the court in the paint. Carter, maybe buoyed in her injury season, seeing the game from a different angle. She'll get every opportunity to run the point for Coach Walz. 

Two that survived the distance marathon. Two that showed that they are fully vested, made it through the ups and downs and have done the work. Two that have never experience the thrill of getting to an NCAA Final Four but still have that opportunity. Two of thirteen that will face the 2017-18 season with questions about the upcoming year but part of a unit that looks very strong, solid and experienced. 


On this first day of summer, thoughts race to November...when the two, along with 11 other very talented and skilled warriors, go on the quest that is the women's college basketball season.  How many of the three freshmen coming in will we be discussing senior seasons in a Cardinal uniform about several years from now. How will Carter come back from her injury? Who wins the battle for the vacated wing position, center and point-guard spots? 

When the leaves fall from the tree...we will see. 



FLORIDA FIASCO...CARDS BASEBALL FALLS TO GATORS

Leaving seven guys on base is no way to win a baseball game. Although the Louisville Cardinals outhit the Florida Gators seven to five last night...the Gators made the crucial at-bats count and tallied five runs to down Louisville 5-1 in the College World Series. 

It's now do-or-die time for Dan McDonnell's diamond-dwellers. Facing the TCU Horned Frogs Thursday night will get them another chance to knock off the Sunshine State stars. A loss and it's pack-your-bags time and come home. 

Long balls were the difference here. A solo shot in the third inning by UF gave them the lead. They would touch Cade McClure again for a three RBI fence clearer in the fourth. Both by guys who were batting under .250. 

Dan McDonnell's philosophy with this team has been one game and one win at a time. That's everyone's philosophy now...by default "Run to the Roar" has been a team motto of sorts this season. We'll alter it a bit for the next two games. First "Leap over the Frogs" and then...be a Gator Exterminator. 


paulie
xxxxx



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dropping the hot potatoes for a day -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



STONE, WALSH GATHER USA FIELD HOCKEY HONORS



There has been plenty of coverage on the NCAA findings and punishment afflicted on UofL Basketball over the past several days. And, just when you thought this dreadful horror movie was about to end and you could leave the theatre...there is a plot twist, the protagonist surprises all and...not only is the Empire going to strike back, but the movie is far from over. We got done wrong and we're not gonna take it. How long will this go on? 

Louisville Baseball, one of the shining beacons in the mass of negativity surrounding University of Louisville athletics currently, gets a tough test in Florida tonight in the College World Series. Those Gator boys don't let a lot of opposing runners cross home plate and the Cards will need to have the bats ready to roll in Omaha. A lot has been said about that lately...as well. 

Let's change the navigation charts and set sail in another direction today, though. 

We're setting sail and heading back to women's sports. After all, it is the premise we formed the website on some eight years ago and we certainly love to talk about the joy and excitement there. 

Taylor Stone and Katie Walsh are members of the University of Louisville Field Hockey team. Both will be juniors when the Cards take the pitch at Trager Stadium in a couple of months for Justine Sowry's top-ten program.

Stone, out of Herndon, VA...one of the hotbeds for high school Field Hockey nationally in northern Virginia (near the Maryland border)...is a two-year starting defender for the Cards. She recently took part in the USA Field Hockey's Young Women's Championships. She earned a spot on the Under-21 Junior National Camp team in the action. We'd also like to wish her a Happy Birthday today! She doesn't do much with Twitter but we've got @tstonee as her handle.

Walsh, a midfielder out of Louisville Ballard, also participated in the event. She gathered a spot on the National Camp developmental squad. Earlier in the month, the Bruin also participated in Field Hockey's Young Women's National Championship (YWNC) with rising sophomore Carter Ayars. Congratulate Katie her and follow her on Twitter...@katiewalsh20


Both Stone and Walsh are also eligible for our "attack Yorkie" squad....standing at 5'3" each. With Nicole Woods at 5'2"...Louisville Field Hockey has three solid entries for the illustrious and prestigious club.  

Justine Sowry is lining up the "young guns" in big quantities down at the corner of Warnock and Floyd. Dare we forget about returnees Ayeshia McFerran, Minout Mink and Whena Munn? 

The opener for the "Stick Girls" is just two months away...on Saturday, Aug 19th....when Miami (OH) comes to town to start off the season. A very special year for Field Hockey...not only will they host the ACC Championship in early November -- but Louisville is also where the 2017 NCAA Field Hockey National Championships will be held. 

Looking for a sport to add to your arsenal of Louisville sporting events to attend? We heartily recommend you add Field Hockey to your fall rotation. Admission is free to Louisville home events, the seating is excellent and there is a concession stand (with beer available) inside...plus a McDonald's next door. The action is non-stop and fast paced. 

What else do you need to get you out there? 



paulie
xxxxx




Monday, June 19, 2017

Four More Wins -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Louisville Uses Big Inning, Tops A&M 8-4


Before I get into this, I promise that after baseball season ends, in whatever fashion, I will get back to boring you with talks about women's soccer when you'd rather be reading about women's basketball. For now, though, you'll have to settle for reading about baseball when you'd rather be reading about women's basketball. We're an equal opportunity sports site here at Cardinal Couple.

Anyway, Louisville started off their College World Series in a way they haven't done in their previous three appearances. They won their first game. Louisville pitched their ace, Brendan McKay, and it was the star pitching lineup of McKay, Bordner, and Henzman that saw them through to victory. McKay looked shaky at times, and actually gave up all four earned runs, but the bats were strong and the bullpen stronger. Louisville had a 5-0 lead, chasing the Texas A&M starter in the second inning, before McKay was touched for his first run, and Bordner and Henzman combined for four perfect innings.

Big innings have been Louisville's MO this postseason (and much of the rest of the season, but I didn't do the math to back it up). In 7 victories this postseason, Louisville has scored 59 runs. Only 19 of those runs have come in innings where the Cards scored fewer than 3 runs. In fact, Game 2 against Kentucky was the only game in which the Cardinals did not have a three run inning, and they still scored six runs in the game. Louisville used another big inning yesterday when they used a couple of walks and a lot of singles to score 5 runs in the second inning. Texas A&M pulled their starter (who was actually their number 2 guy) after four runs and replaced him with a long reliever (who was actually their ace). When the Aggies cut the lead to 5-4, it looked as though using both pitchers might pay off if they could get the win. When they ultimately fell, the reality set in that Texas A&M had used their best two starters in the same game and now are down to their Sunday guy in an elimination game. I would call that, "not ideal." The bats have been important this postseason, and that won't change as the tournament goes on. As long as pitching can continue to hold serve, and the bats can stay hot, Louisville has a really good chance at this thing.

While Brendan McKay may not have been his normal "Player of the Year" self on the mound
yesterday, he labored to a decent start, and never trailed. Despite A&M's leadoff batter reaching in all but one inning of work for McKay, he limited damage to four runs spread over two innings before he was relieved by Sam Bordner. McKay worked himself out of a lot of jams with the help of his defense, but he got to a point where he wasn't missing bats and the bats weren't missing gaps. Not much the defense could do about it anymore, so Dan McDonnell made the move. Sam Bordner did as he has done all year and twirled 3 perfect innings, snuffing out hopes of an Aggie comeback.

Louisville will get a taste of their third straight SEC matchup on Tuesday night in the winner's game when they take on Florida (who defeated TCU) at 7PM on ESPN. Winning the opening game of the double elimination format is very important. Winning the second game puts you squarely in the driver's seat. If Louisville can stay perfect, they're four wins away from a national title. To quote the team, "[they] didn't come for some of it, [they] came for all of it." Run to the roar, Cardinals, and bring home the hardware.

Until next time, Go Cards
-CH-

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Cardinal Couple Sunday - Follow The Yellow Brick Road

Yesterday, Case admirably laid out the path forward for CardNation.  So today we're going to follow it.

All eyes front.

Follow the yellow brick road.

Keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times.

Set Destination: Omaha

College World Series Is Off


Brendan McKay, the junior phenom from Pennsylvania, is set to lead the Cardinals from the mound in their first game in the 2017 College World Series.  The two-way super-star has left no room for questions other than the one question of what position he'll play once he gets to the pros, first base, or pitcher?  The Tampa Bay Rays have said they will be giving him the chance to play in both to see where he settles in, so don't look for that question to be settled anytime soon.  Pretty much the rest of the questions about McKay have been answered, or should be a foregone conclusion.  Most of those questions take the form of, "Will McKay win the _________ award, for the best _____________ in College Baseball?"  Spoiler: The answer is, "Yes."

The Cardinal's foe will be Texas A&M, with first pitch scheduled at 2pm and will be televised on ESPN.  Stick around (if you don't have a 6pm sand volleyball match like your correspondent does) to find out who the Cards will play next.  The CWS is essentially broken into 3 distinct "tournaments", with eight teams participating in total.  It starts with two, four team, double-elimination tournaments, with the winners of those two tournaments meeting up for a best of 3 series (a double-elimination tournament of two teams, if you will) to determine the National Champion.  The other half of this first double-elimination tournament with UofL and the Aggies have Florida and TCU.  So the winners of todays games will meet Tuesday at 7pm, and the losers start their path through the elimination bracket Tuesday at 2pm.

As with the Regionals, and even Super Regionals to a degree, there is a distinct advantage in staying on the winning side of the bracket as it results in fewer games played, and longer rest between each game.  

On paper, this game should be a relatively easy win for the Cards.  The Aggies were a Regional 3 seed, beating hosting Houston, Regional 2 seed Baylor, and Iowa.  They advanced in the Super Regional over Davidson, who advanced to the Supers against all odds as a Regional 4 seed in the North Carolina hosted Regional which also had FGCU and Michigan in attendance.  Beyond this game, the matchups, regardless of which team it is, look tougher, with Florida and TCU holding overall 3 and 6 seeds, respectively.

The other double-elimination bracket in the CWS sees unseeded Florida State, and Cal State Fullerton, both teams that give Cardinal Baseball fans nervous shudders; as well as overall 4 seed LSU, and overall top seed Oregon State, who made the trip without pitcher Luke Heimlich.  Heimlich did not travel with the team to Omaha after The Oregonian reported this week that he pled guilty to felony child molestation as a teenager, stating that he didn't want to be a distraction to the team and direct too much unwanted attention to the victim of his crime.

In action yesterday, Oregon State and and LSU won their respective games, dispatching FSU and CSF to the elimination side of the bracket.  FSU and CSF will see each other tomorrow with a 2pm first pitch, with the loser going home, and the winner waiting around to see who they will play, that being the loser of the OSU and LSU game starting at 7pm.

It is Nebraska, perhaps corn on the cob should be on the menu?  Might go good with a couple of those mail order Omaha Steaks. Go Cards!



THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR


Our rebroadcast from yesterday's THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR is now up and available on the the Crescent Hill Radio website. We had a great crew on board with Worldwide, Paulie, Case and Jared Anderson. The prime topic of discussion was the sanctions on Louisville basketball, and we also looked at the College World Series and gave the boys a quiz that they aced with flying colors. 

Listen to the replay here: THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR 6/17/17

-- JMcA

Saturday, June 17, 2017

So, What Now? -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

The question of the day for UofL athletics seems to be, "So... What now?" Everyone wants to know what happens next, whether that be with basketball, baseball, or any other sport in between.The answer to this question in many situations is vague, but I will do what I can to provide my thoughts on the coming days/weeks/months ahead.

Basketball


The star of the show right now is basketball. That's a shame because the baseball team is currently in Omaha, Nebraska, on the cusp of fighting for a championship. However, news breaks when it breaks. It doesn't wait for it to be convenient. I remember when the story first broke. It was early on a fall Saturday morning. My friends and I were piled in a Corolla on our way to Atlanta for the Chick-Fil-A kickoff game. News related to stories like this has a way of taking over. I challenge Cardinal fans to push it aside, at least for a couple of more weeks, while the Cardinal IX fight for their first title.

The Cardinal Brass during their press conference.
Credit: Courier-Journal
By the way, waiting a couple of weeks for this to envelope your thoughts will hardly make you miss anything. The answer to "what now" in the basketball saga is more waiting. Louisville fans waited for the official announcement for months, hoping that the day the NCAA finally came up with something would be the day this all ended. We were wrong, and now we must continue to wait. We would be waiting 45 days regardless, as that is the amount of time Louisville officially has to respond to the vacation of records infraction. However, Louisville didn't even wait for their scheduled press conference to announce that they would be appealing every aspect of the handed down sanctions. The appeals process has specific timelines, and I would expect that the NCAA and University will follow them to ensure that a hiccup in this process doesn't swing the appeal in their opponents favor. 

Personally, I'm not very confident in the appeal. I think that what was done was terrible. There is no way around it, and if someone tells you otherwise, they're a fool. Andre McGee took advantage of players', recruits', other coaches', and the University's trust. And he did a terrible thing with that advantage. However, Louisville did what they thought was right to rectify the situation and the NCAA, claiming "no precedent," ignored it all and handed down extreme punishments. To those saying, "the punishments should be worse," what exactly does worse mean? Did you want the men's basketball program at UofL to be shut down? I know the acts were bad and gross and the details of the situation make me want to gag, but I hardly think that is warranted. That said, I think Louisville will lose this appeal because it's through the NCAA, and they make up all the rules themselves.

Losing the appeal won't end it all for Louisville, though. I anticipate them taking this to a legal court. I don't exactly know what their plan will be there, but they won't be the first school to pursue this route following NCAA sanctions. Penn State and Miami also took the NCAA to court over their punishments and won, at least partially. Louisville says they are appealing the verdict on all counts, but that doesn't mean they won't compromise, taking the fines, Pitino suspension, and probation in return for scholarship losses and vacation of records. They'll fight this hard.

So the answer to the question for basketball is that we kick back, wait, and see what happens. You, oh humble fan, can do nothing to affect this situation. I encourage you to put it out of your mind, enjoy the other sports we have still going on and the fall sports coming up, and ride it out. 

Baseball


Dan McDonnell has his team hot this postseason. We've talked about it many times. The Cards are 6-1 this postseason, with their only loss coming against a Florida State team that they've had trouble with all year and can't possibly see again until a championship matchup. Brendan McKay became the highest UofL baseball draft pick when he went fourth (after turning down a deal for first) and then won yet another college baseball award. McKay has been named the Player of the Year by every publication that has announced such an award and, although he is trailing in the fan voting for the Golden Spikes, it would be a shock for him not to win. McKay will be the starter for the Cards tomorrow against Texas A&M.

"So... What now?" Louisville will look to do what they haven't done before--win their opening game at the CWS. Choosing to pitch your lefty Ace against a lineup where lefties are the best hitters is Dan's start to that goal. We saw McKay work against left-handed hitters against Kentucky last week and everyone supporting the Cards will be hoping for a similar result. 

What about the players? Louisville had eight players selected in the MLB draft this week. We know for sure that McKay (1, 4) and Ellis (2, 44) will sign their deals and be gone before they've exhausted their college eligibility. Louisville will lose their seniors, and those that were drafted will hopefully rise through the ranks. The Cards also lost a member of their incoming freshman class. Jo Adell, from Louisville's Ballard High School was selected to the Angels' organization with the tenth overall pick. He has already signed his contract with the organization. The rest of the players, including Kade McClure and Lincoln Henzman, have a decision to make. I honestly couldn't tell you what that decision might be for many of the players. 

I do know that they're all focused on the College World Series first and foremost. Louisville opens play tomorrow against TAMU at 2PM on ESPN.

Everyone Else


Enjoy your summer as much as Olaf would.
The rest of the sports have entered into the summer period. Fall sports are ratcheting up summer training, whether that is organized team activity or individual work in the dead period. The spring sports are just getting into the swing of their offseason, but they are likely working on perfecting their craft as well. Construction continues around campus, improving facilities and renovating offices. Some of these projects will be done this season, like volleyball, and some will be an eyesore for the rest of the year, like football. No matter, Louisville facilities expanding only means good things for the teams' current successes and their future successes in recruiting.

"What now for me?"


You, my dear readers, can now turn your attention to the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. We will, of course, discuss nearly all of what I mentioned in this article. By tuning in, you can hear a few more of my thoughts on the matters at hand than I've already told you. Jeff and I will be joined by the recovering Paulie and the ever lively Jared Anderson. This will be a show you don't want to miss. Tune into 100.9 WCHQ, the WCHQ app, or crescenthillradio.com at 11AM for our madness. My ability to follow FCC rules will be put through the ringer.

Until next time, as always, Go Cards!
-CH-


Friday, June 16, 2017

Cardinal Couple Elephant In the Room Edition -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



PACHYDERM PRESENCE 


Those of you that follow Cardinal Couple closely may have noticed that I am a bit more reticent to shift over to coverage of the UofL men's sports than my colleagues, Case and Paulie.  That's not to say I'm not a fan by any stretch of the imagination, and as we enter the slower news season of summer, I'm grateful for the continued success of Baseball, both as a fan, and as a writer and radio co-host.

Today, however, there is no avoiding talking about Men's Basketball.  Even on Cardinal Couple, where we are all about the joy and excitement of UofL Women's Sports, we would be remiss not to take a few minutes to talk about the Men's Basketball program. Many women's sports fans also have been following these procedings.

If you are at all in tune with any UofL sports media over the past 24 hours, you are aware that the NCAA handed down their report on the recruiting scandal in the program.  Most people aware of the situation expected further punishments beyond what UofL had self-imposed, but based on the immense cooperation the Athletic Department, and specifically the Men's Basketball Program provided to the NCAA during the investigation, as well as the significant self-imposed penalties, the expectation was that those further punishments would be relatively minimal.

Boy was everyone wrong on that.

First, though...let's be clear...the events that went on in Minardi Hall were reprehensible and
repugnant.  The NCAA is absolutely correct in that assessment.  Andre McGee demonstrated complete lack of character and class, to say nothing of sound judgement, and discernment.  The sex trade is cause for despair, and the victims are numerous, including those who find themselves in life situations where selling sex becomes the best of bad options.  The Men's Basketball program was involved in this, and absolutely there should be punishment for their involvement.

Quickly, a rundown of the major points of the punishments that the NCAA decreed.  This isn't an exhaustive list, but I think it hits the high points:

  1. Loss of some scholarships over the next four years
  2. Pay back revenues from tournament appearances, both to the NCAA and conferences, for the relevant time period (2011-2014)
  3. Declare ineligible the players (3 of them, apparently) that were involved.
  4. Vacating wins during the relevant time period in which the ineligible players play, specifics of the games involved are to be determined, but will likely be all of the wins during the four year period, including the 2012 Final Four appearance and 2013 National Championship
  5. Monetary Fines
  6. Pitino suspended for 5 ACC games this coming season
  7. 10 year "Show Cause" on Andre McGee
OK, I've got issues with some of these.


I'll start by acknowledging some bias.  I despise the NCAA as an organization.  I have no respect for them, or for their leadership, all the way up to, and including the President of the organization, Mark Emmert.  This organization represents the height of hypocrisy and arrogance in nearly every situation they address.  Occasionally, however, they get some things right.

So, the ones I have no problem with.  The "Show Cause" on Andre McGee is warranted, and in my opinion should be lifetime, rather than just 10 years.  I only wish the NCAA had the ability to take more action against him, but since it is unlikely that McGee will ever have another role in an NCAA affiliated organization, he's pretty much out of their reach at this point.  Monetary fines I have no problem with, as well as the repaying the revenues from the tournament appearances.  Frankly, UofL Athletics is profitable enough, the fines should probably be bigger as the fines levied are small enough that they will essentially be lost in the noise of the department budget.  Paying back the tournament revenues is bigger and will be felt.  OK.  Punishment is supposed to hurt.

I can even accept the Pitino suspension.  Some Cardinal fans are up in arms about this one, citing the NCAA acknowledging that there is no evidence that Pitino knew of the events occurring, as well as Pitino pointing out that the NCAA has been unable, or at least unwilling, to point to specific actions that he should have, or even could have, taken to be aware of the problem at the time.  Even the NCAA acknowledged how close the information about these events was held by the recruits, players, and others involved.  Because of all this, I look at this one with a little bit of side-eye, but it is the job of the head coach to direct the program, so ultimately, even if he didn't have knowledge of it, Pitino carries responsibility for this.

How many guys? Three guys? 
The punishments I do have a problem with.  Declaring the (apparently) 3 players ineligible
retroactively.  There should probably be some sort of punishment for the players directly involved.  The problem, here, is that these players are not, by the NCAA's own rhetoric, employees.  They are students, and the NCAA supposedly holds dear the idea that amateurism is paramount (I say "supposedly" because the organization's actions don't really back that up).  Were the actions of the players also reprehensible?  Yes.  Do the actions show a lack of character, judgement, and respect for other humans?  For sure.  But if the NCAA is going to be true to their rhetoric that they are amateur students, then this is a legal matter for law enforcement to deal with, not the NCAA.  If another non-athlete student were to pay for sex in a dorm, that would be a matter for law enforcement, and the school wouldn't face punishment from accreditation groups.  The school might impose some of it's own punishment on those student, including potentially expulsion from the school, and I have no problem with that.  I'm not going to get up in arms about this punishment, but I do think it is out of line with NCAA rhetoric.

The last two are where I think the NCAA has completely swung and missed on their targets based on their stated intentions.  Vacating the wins, and specifically the Final Four appearance and National Championship, as well as eliminating scholarships missed the target.  These punishment target the students, past and future, actual and potential, rather than the organization or individuals involved.  Vacating the wins mostly targets the players that weren't involved in this.  Being unable to claim those victories and accomplishments, at least officially, harms them more than it does the people directly involved.

I think the loss of scholarship punishment is salvageable, with a tweak.  Instead of just preventing the University from funding those scholarships, if they required the school to use those funds to provide those same scholarship opportunities to non-athletes, the NCAA could turn this misstep into a win.  As it is, the punishment most targets future students who will not have that opportunity to get an education (again, this is according to well-established NCAA rhetoric, at least).  By funding non-athlete scholarships with those funds, the organization still takes the hit, but other students still get an opportunity at education.

The NCAA needs to take a long hard look at their amateurism rhetoric and see how it squares with the punitive measures it uses, because they are drastically out-of-step with each other.  Andre McGee screwed up, without a doubt.  I think it's a reasonable argument to say that Pitino screwed up somehow, and even the UofL Athletic Department as a whole, but let's make sure the punishments actually hit the perpetrators, and not the victims or innocent bystanders.

We will discuss these aspects and more on our Saturday morning radio show...The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. It airs at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Jared Anderson will be in studio with us...and we'll have the return of the mending Paulie...along with me and Case Hoskins. We'll talk about a few other items than the NCAA Committee report...but you can expect the majority of the broadcast to be about that.

LINK: www.crescenthillradio.com

-- JMcA

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Who's That Knocking At The Door? -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


JUNE BRINGS VISITORS



The month of June always seems to bring visitors to the UofL women's basketball program. We covered Shalia Beeler coming into town a couple of days ago in an article. We also hear that Dominique McBryde has left Purdue and spent some time on the UofL campus as well. 2018 guard prospect Morgan Jones was also in town checking out the situation. That's a lot of action for the new offices on Floyd. St. I wonder if they've put up a turnstile yet to count traffic flow. 

McBryde was the leading rebounder last year on a Boilermaker team that also has 6'6" Nora Kiesler. Believe it or not, I still get e-mails and comments from fans and such that Walz should have offered Nora a scholarship. (Maybe he should have offered to Kevin Durant and LeBron James as well...just so he had all his bases covered). I like McBryde's work ethic on the defensive side of things and on the boards but she's never really turned into the scorer many saw in her future. She'd have to sit a year, of course, and then would have two years to be a Cardinal if she chose to. 


McBryde can glide
Morgan Jones...(maybe one of the Jonesians...along with Briana and Jazmine)? has considerable game. She's a 6'2" guard that'll be a senior in the fall at Our Lady of Mercy High School in Jonesboro, GA. She's pretty good at dominating smaller guards, loves the transition game and is currently ranked 27th. in the 2018 class and #7 at her position...according to ESPNW. Her shot has gotten a lot better than it was in her sophomore season and she's a hot commodity these days...with a ton of D1 schools on her list....including the Cards, UCLA, NC State, Ohio St., Florida State and Auburn...just to name a few. 

Lots of things happening down there on Floyd Street. Yes, indeed. We expect there's much more to come.


***************************************************

TRANSFERS...ARE WE TALKING ABOUT TRANSFERS? 



I happened to be talking with a women's basketball fan the other day and transfers came up. Weird, right? She mentioned that she'd like to see some kind of rule in place for head coaches transferring. Maybe make them sit a year before taking over the program. It is an interesting idea...to an extent...but a lot of coaches bring in new assistants and would they have to sit as well? In short, who runs the program if Bob...currently at City U. decides to accept the job at State U. after Kelly decides to retire. Or gets forced out? 

After all, players put a lot of investment time in a coach. You go through the recruiting dance and finally pick a partner. You learn the coaching style as a freshmen, continue to grow in the system as a sophomore, start seeing some more results as a junior and then...BOOM!...your coach leaves as you're becoming a senior and it's back to square one. Of course, that's not always the way it goes. Some players can barely suppress their glee when the skipper takes the job three states over. Sometimes, coaches and players both leave around the same time. 

For some players, I suppose it's the issue of "buying in". Accountability. You give your 'all' to this head coach for 2-3 (or less) years and then suddenly...they're a time zone away at another school. The old "believe in what I tell you if you want to be successful and ...by the way...I'm leaving and it's been nice to know you" scenario. Of course, if all cars and programs were the same...it'd be a very boring driving and athletic world.

Yes, players leaving programs create gaps and holes in line-ups and rotations. (Read what Sheri Coale thinks about that here). And fans get upset about transfers out...yet they get it excited about transfers in. Cards fans loved getting Briahanna Jackson but couldn't understand why Taja Cole left. 

It's all a circle. And I've probably spent way too much time on transfers over the last couple of days. I think fans do too...and also on following recruiting. Where did all the hub-hub that surrounded a 6'5" girl from Texas coming to Louisville go when she turned around and went back to the Lone Star State? Was it wasted chatter? A wasted recruiting effort? Lesson learned or mistake that could have been avoided by one of the two parties? Few remember that Elena Della Donne was actually very briefly at UConn before going home to Delaware. How would those Geno teams looked with her in the Huskies lineup? 

Maybe most importantly...let's not forget coaches are in a profession and student-athletes are just that. Students participating in athletics. Not raising a family, paying a mortgage or financing a car yet. Capitalism isn't dead in the coaching profession yet. Enough money can get anyone to change shirts and school colors...A few thousand more a week or month can make a difference in how the books balance. 

In the kaleidoscope of players, coaches, scenarios and stability...one thing remains constant:  

Be careful for what you wish for...you just might get it. 




paulie
xxxxx

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

WNBA All-Star Voting open -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



FANS A BIGGER PART OF SELECTING THE ROSTERS THIS YEAR.



I'm not sure if I like the presumptuous
affirmation about the location.  
The ballots are open for selecting the 2017 WNBA All-Star teams. There are a lot of ways to cast your vote for 10 players and you can vote once a day. I found this site really helpful in voting: 

http://www.wnba.com/news/wnba-star-voting-2017-presented-verizon-tips-off-today/

It is an interesting style of voting...broken down alphabetically...with no requirement per division. I had to go back and review mine....I had 10 players selected before I got to the "R"'s and had to do some adjusting. 

There is only (1) former UofL player on the ballot this season and it is Asia Taylor. I know...she's a long-shot to make the roster...but if you don't vote...she has no chance at all...so, let your conscious be your guide, right? 

Does the fact that there is only one Cardinal on this year's ballot make you think any differently about the game, or voting? We all remember Shoni Schimmel's breakout performance a couple of years ago in the event. We're not sure what Shoni is up to these days or even if she'll be there to watch the contest. We'll also miss seeing #35 out on the court. Angel always seems to have fun in these type events. 

Besides the link above, you can also vote on Twitter. Tweet, re-tweet or reply with a player's name or twitter handle to #WNBAVOTE.  That way seems pretty easy as well, although my buddy Worldwide might have open doubts on whether I could figure it out. 

You can also vote on the WNBA app. I don't have that app but if you do and decide to vote that way...drop us a note and let us know how that goes. 

There is also the Facebook option . Post on your personal Facebook account, or comment on another’s Facebook post the player’s first and last name along with the hashtag #WNBAVOTE.  Each post may include only one player’s name.  Fans may post votes for 10 unique players per day throughout the voting period. Facebook status posts must include the hashtag #WNBAVOTE to be counted as valid votes

I didn't see just how much of an impact or percentage that the fan vote will be considered in selecting the rosters. That could be interesting...



Reminder: Vote for the Paulie's
Does it surprise you that after ten years of coaching at Louisville that Jeff Walz has just one candidate on the ballot? I didn't stop to check just how many UConn, Tenn. or Notre Dame players were in the list...but I'm sure it's pretty sizable. Besides Angel...the Cards have had several other players get drafted and get a chance to play there but only Angel, Candyce, Shoni and Asia have stepped on the court in WNBA jerseys for regular season or exhibition games in the Walz era. There were, of course a few others before Walz arrived. And, a ton of successful businesswomen and leaders who played for Louisville WBB...


The Cards have had more success in players under Walz's tutelage going to participate in Euroball or the WNBL in Aussie-land. Just how many would make a great article down the road...but would require a bit of research. Maybe one of you, our readers, knows? After all, we got some pretty smart followers out there! 

We have been watching the WNBA with a little more interest this season in the Sykes household because Asia Taylor is Sonja's all-time favorite Cardinal player and in my top three.

Maybe a bit of a surprise that Minnesota is still undefeated but not much of a shocker that they're on top of the league standings. Washington is a nice surprise...getting Elena Della Donne and Kristi Tolliver seems like a brilliant move right now for the Mystics. 

I remember wondering, maybe in article form...a few years ago...which Cardinals would be joining Angel in the WNBA. I'll update the question. Who will be in the WNBA from the Louisville roster four years from now? Your thoughts? 


******************************************************


THE PAULIES



Hands in air like I just don't care.
You have a little over a week to get your votes in for The Paulies. They're over on the Right Hand Side of the Site. They will be influential in determining who the award recipient will be in each of the five categories. Who's got the "quicks"? Who needs to be out there and not on the bench? Who's "the go to?"  Who pumps up the crowd and which coach is the one you want to hear sound-bytes from? Your chance to let us...and them...know what the fans are thinking out here. 

The Paulies. Not your average awards from your far from average website. 



paulie
xxxxx

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Looking at...Shalia Beeler 2019 -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



DOIN' THE HIPPIE, HIPPIE SHAKE"



Back on these hallowed pages after a few days off...getting one of the load bearing structures on the Paulie machine replaced...into day five this morning of hip replacement surgery and trying to get a little better each day. One direction here and one goal...making that walk without pain that so many of us take for granted. I never will again, I can assure you. Haven't decided whether to call the new hip 'Asia' or 'Tia' yet...two of my favorite WBB Cards of all time and both came back pretty well after hip injuries. Or, as Sonja says...."You'll have no excuse for not cutting the lawn by Labor Day..." 


Paulie has missed being outside the Cardinal
Couple offices lately...
A special thanks to those who took over the Cardinal Couple ship and piloted it into port successfully and safely over the last few days.  Worldwide and Case took us from Louisville, to Omaha, Oregon, Cleveland and points in-between in their writings and teamed up with #1 Louisville Cardinal fan Julie "Bird Lady" Sullivan to put together an unequaled radio show Saturday in terms of topics talked about and variety of subjects discussed. They took you from ditch vaulting to baseball, discus throwing to jumping in dumpsters full of ice water...and tossed in a little rock and roll...baseball and there might have even been a apple pie in the studio with a dog, monk and banana. I tip my cap to my radio-mates. I hope to join them again soon.  I think it would be safe to say...we are our own summer replacements. 

A REVEALER ON BEELER

I was asked what I knew a couple of days ago about a recent visitor to the Louisville campus and basketball program.

A 2019 point guard out of Warren Central (think Indianapolis area) named Shai Beeler allegedly was on campus to have a "look-see". Or Sheila Beeler. Maybe Shalia Beeler...I've seen and heard her name in several different ways and forms.

What's most impressive to me... is not the multi-name capabilities, though. It is the descriptive adjectives and words that flow after the mention of her. 



An incredibly quick guard...Ms. Beeler is... who habitually collapses defenses. A floor leader who excels at interior passing. One of the participants in the USA WBB U16 trials. She dictates the tempo and pace in an upbeat game and she finds the rim and breaks down defenses easily. One of the top 100 for 2019 by Prospects Nations and #11 players in that class...according to ESPNW. She is a born leader on the court. she put up 14.1 ppg and 6 assists in a sophomore season that was cut to just 13 games by injury.

She's also currently 5'6"...which could also get her a gig on the Attack Yorkie squad. 

And she may not even have her driver's license yet....


Danny Riego is her coach for the Nike Gym Rats in Club ball. He's coached a ton of impressive players that have received D1 scholarships and has a dynamo in her. He's unquestionably glad to have her back for the summer circuit. Beeler did win Warren Central Player Of The Year. A lot of upside here, obviously.  

So...what do we make of her summer visit to the 'Ville...as she prepares for her junior year in high school? It's certainly an exciting time to be on the Belknap Campus with the switch over going on with Volleyball and WBB and their facilities. All three WBB freshmen are on campus now and Beeler (let's call her "SB" for now until we come up with something more creative) probably battled with two of them (Evans and Duvall) in club ball. Dana played for the Indianapolis Gym Rats Siver team...I need to ask Riego for some comparisons, I guess...I'm not showing that West Side High (Dana's previous digs) and Warren Central played during the season. 

S.B. has received offers already. Illinois is one of the several DI schools to  extend one.  No doubt those will accumulate this year like empty wings bones in front of Paulie at BW3. Coach Walz has had guards on his mind in 2019 recruiting...with all-Universe Nyah Green heading that list to say "Yes" to the 'Ville. 

When a rising junior that is getting lots of national attention comes to call, it's a very good thing for a program. 

The 2019-20 Louisville Women's Basketball team will not have Arica Carter, Myisha Hines-Allen, Asia Durr, or Sam Fuehring on their roster ...if the graduation process goes as normal. Jazmine Jones, Bionca Dunham, Jessica Laemmle, Sydney Zambrotta and Kylee Shook will be seniors...which is a distant vision barring any transfers, injuries or other things that can pop out of the blue. we'll be in the heat of another Presidential campaign by then, as well...and the Rolling Stones will just be coming off their 55th. anniversary tour. So...yes, 2019-20 is a long, long way off and anything can happen. 

Join me in a dream here... a potential back-court of Nyah Green, "S.B." Seygan Robins and Dana Evans just has to bring a smile to anyone's face...unless you're a ACC opponent. A team that also has Jazmine Jones and Kylee Shook on its roster. Are you smiling as broadly as I am? 

After all...what are we...without our dreams? 



paulie
xxxxx