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Thursday, January 3, 2019

UNC Visits the Yum -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Host Tar Heels to Open Conference Play

After a challenging non-conference schedule that Louisville came out of with a perfect 12-0 record, the Cards kick off the second half of their season when North Carolina visits tonight.

The 9-5 Tar Heels enter the game in worse shape than they did at this point last season.  Granted, UNC's losses have come against formidable opponents in Kentucky, Colorado, Ohio State, Maine, and Auburn.  Their worst loss was by 12 on the road in Boulder, CO., and one loss came in overtime.

The Heels have an average offense, scoring about 77 points per game, a small margin below the Cards' 85.7 points per game.  Their field goal percentage of .436 has been a plus for UNC and they have shot fairly from downtown, making 34% of their three-point attempts.  The free throw shooting between the two squads is matched with Louisville shooting 75% and UNC shooting 75.6%.  Although free throw shooting has not been perfect for North Carolina they are not a team you would want to foul down the stretch.

The Tar Heels' greatest strength is size.  With eight of their 17 active players listed at 6'0" or above one could mistake them for a volleyball team.  Sophomore Janelle Bailey is the biggest threat of the bunch.  The 6'4 sophomore is just shy of averaging a double-double with 17.2 ppg and 9.4 rpg, both team-bests.  Bailey can also step out to the circle and knock down the long ball, making one about every other game or so.



Stephanie Watts leads a crew of attacking guards that are allowing 67.3 points per game.  Watts is part of a trio with 23 steals (Paris Kea and Shayla Bennett).  Due to the size of the roster it is no surprise why head coach Sylvia Hatchell is not afraid to often put a three- or- four-guard lineup in.  Watts is also the second-leading scorer on the team at 15.8 ppg.  Kea's 13.6 and Bennett's 12.2 round out the double-digit scorers on the team.


Louisville played UNC once last year, going to Chapel Hill and winning 67-57.  The Cards actually trailed by two at half of this game but used a huge fourth quarter to take the lead and pull away.  The post players for Louisville did not have a good game.  Myisha Hines-Allen, Sam Fuehring, Kylee Shook, and Bionca Dunham combined for 23 points, 24 rebounds, 10 turnovers, 12 fouls, and three blocks on a combined 80 minutes (average of 20 per player).



The post is where the Cards will struggle again this game.  Rebounding has been on the disappointing end up to this point and without Myisha UofL is lacking their best post player from last year.  Bionca and Sam are both strong enough to pull their own weight down low but Kylee appears to be on the losing end of that battle.  Boxing out to haul in rebounds will be a huge factor in determining the outcome of this game.  UNC's 57 total blocks on the year (UofL, 52) was been a key point in opponent's game plan preparations.

Walz emphasized the rebounding and turnovers heavily during his press conference yesterday.  The
lower number of turnovers this season by Louisville (13.7) has been a plus and can help find opportunities to score.  But the rebounding has been lackluster, to say the least.  With a team like North Carolina Walz showed concern for how it might change the play of the game for his team.   I'm sure that is one thing they have hit hard during practice since their return from the break.

To hear the 30 minute Walz and Durr interview, go to the link below:

LINK: JEFF WALZ and ASIA DURR 1/2/19

In order for Louisville to win this game they have a few key points to focus on as I see it:

- Wear down the UNC post players with a fast-paced game
- Double-team down low as much as possible to create pressure on defense
- Knock down the outside shots as the lane will be hard to navigate


In the end, Louisville will hopefully pull ahead in the second half, but it will remain too close for comfort deep into the game.  This is one you might not want to leave early or walk away from your TV at home.

Paulie asked everyone to give their predictions as to how UofL will fare in the ACC.  I will have to put them at 13-3 with losses to Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and a shocking upset loss at home to Syracuse.

Paulie, Sonya, and I will be in attendance down on the floor and I presume Worldwide will be in his normal seat.  You can join us down at the KFC Yum! Center for the 7:00 tip-off or you can join Case at home with the video on ACC Network. Our favorites Don Russell, Sara White will handle the play-by-play and commentary. Cortnee Walton performing sideline duties and ready to suit up at a moment's notice.

The refereeing crew is a new one for this season in the YUM! Bryan Brunette, Jules Gallen and Talisa Green officiate the action and let's hope 2019 has improved what we get as far as calls go.



Happy first Thursday of 2019 and Go Cards!

- Jared -

6 comments:

  1. I had originally planned to be back for this ACC opener and attend it but a bit of car trouble on my return to Louisville has me getting back tomorrow. I'll be watching the Internet feed, however, and pulling for my Cards!

    Water pumps stink!

    Curtis "FORD = Found On Road Dead" Franklin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Car troubles. I can relate. Glad you are OK though !

      Paulie

      Delete
    2. Hope your car trouble gets straightened out. I remember issues with my old 2001 Buick when it was on its last leg

      Delete
  2. Hello Cardinal Couple!

    A very nice review of the Cards WBB game tonight, Jared! I'll be in Littlejohn Arena watching my Clemson WBB squad host a very talented Syracuse squad at 7 p.m.

    I have little doubt we'll lose, but I'll be pulling for Amanda and the Tigers to get "the upset" of the night!

    For your contest here, I will take a 11-5 prediction for the Cardinals. I agree with Coach Walz in his interview here that rebounding could plague the Cards all season and maybe even tonight with a very powerful UNC squad. How they lost to Maine in Chapel Hill still baffles me.

    But, the Cards have Asia Durr. So interesting that she uses meditation as a relaxation aid. I am familiar with Deepak Chopra's works and find him fascinating!

    Go Cards ! Go Clemson tonight!!

    Your friend
    # 1 Clemson Fan
    Arthur
    Greer, SC

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello Paulie & Cards Nation I have the cards 16-0 in Acc play!!!
    Go Cards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love it! From your lips to God's (and the team's) ears...

      Paulie

      Delete

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