CARDS HOPE TO GOBBLE UP HOKIES
Fresh off the win over Syracuse Thursday night in the KFC YUM! Center, the Cards take to the road and will go Hokie-hunting Sunday afternoon in Blacksburg, VA in a noon battle against Virginia Tech.
VT is an interesting foe. Under head coach Kenny Brooks (one of my favorite coaches in the ACC beside our 'mad scientist') ...they zoomed out to an impressive 13-0 start to the season against a bunch of non-conference "palookas" and "academic colleges" (to quote Milt Wagner). Schools such as USC Upstate, Monmouth, Radford, Mt. St. Mary's and Longwood don't normally strike fear into the heart of Power 5 conference teams and these were easy wins for Brooks' bunch. Impressive, yes, that they did beat Villanova, Ohio State and Rutgers...three schools that normally produce pretty good WBB products each year and are well-coached.
Then came the ACC part of the schedule.
At 2-7 in conference play, VT has been less than satisfying. The first three games were losses, by less than eight each, to Syracuse, Miami and Virginia. Notre Dame followed and blew the Gobblers out by 29-points. NC State took a nine-point "W" over the Blacksburg ballers and UNC trumped them by 12. At 0-6, things weren't going so well. A close loss to FSU provided a bit of hope and led to the Hokies win streak of two in a row, against ACC doormat Pitt and mid-pack, but improved, ACC foe Boston College...who lost Taylor Ortlepp late with an ankle injury.
With just seven games left in conference play before the ACC Tournament, Virginia Tech needs wins to get back to at least .500 and keep any flickering NCAA Tournament hopes kindling. I don't see them getting one today. After the Cards
it's... at Duke, at Ga. Tech, Miami, at Clemson, Virginia and Wake Forest for Kenny and the Techs.
I have a hard time seeing them getting six wins in the remaining six games after Louisville and climbing to an 8-8 regular-season conference mark with this slate remaining. Yes ,all are beatable and I don't see NC State, Notre Dame, or Syracuse in the above list...but Miami and Clemson aren't exactly melted butter and Virginia already has a win over Hokie-nation.
Names on the VT squad you might want to know are Taylor Emery, Regan Magarity and Dana Mabrey. Emery, a senior, leads VT with 17.9 points a contest. Magarity, a red-shirt senior leads the ACC with 12.5 rebounds per game. Freshman Mabrey is good for 12.4 per outing and is a legit three-point threat at 48.7%, tops in the ACC. If the name sounds familiar, her older sis...Marina...toils for the Irish of Notre Dame.
Series history in the ACC has the Cards 5-0 against the Hokies. Overall, UofL leads 20-17. The Cards are 7-10 lifetime in the Cassell Coliseum, those losses coming from the old Metro Conference and C-USA days. There was a 20 year gap in the schools meeting each other from 1990-2015.
#2 Louisville needs to just play Cardinal basketball and score points in order to go to 23-1 on the year. A week off for the Cards from competition after this one, not returning to games until next Sunday, when the Canes come calling.
RSN is listed as the viewing option, that usually means Fox Sports South in our Kentuckiana area. Radio is always a great choice with Nick and A.J. on Cards Radio 790 WKRD.
Louisville escaped with a 73-70 win the last time the two met, in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament last year. I don't expect this game today to be nearly as close, but, on the road, in the ACCs proved to be deadly last Thursday to the two schools formally tied with the Cards atop the conference race (NC State and Notre Dame).
The Cards hope to get an early lead, put their stellar defense to work and call on the outside skills of Durr, Evans, Carter and (dare I say it?) Jazmine Jones. Inside, here's hoping Kylee continues her upward trend and Louisville gets the normally dependable paint performances out of Sam and Bionca.
People speak at times of potential "trap" games and Jeff Walz will tell you there is no such thing as a "trap" game in the ACC...but this has the signs and warnings of being one, if you believe in the trap game scenario...if the Cards don't come out and take care of business.
Go get the ball. Put it ball in the basket. Score points. Grab rebounds. Play defense.
Mission assigned. Carry on.
SOFTBALL SPLITS IN THE TITAN CLASSIC
If you followed the Friday Louisville Softball results, a scoreless loss and blowout win, the same scenario unfolded in day two of action in Fullerton, CA.
In the first game, Louisville jumped out to a 7-0 lead after the first two innings against Buffalo. Redshirt freshman Taylor Roby continued to impress at the bat, with a two-RBI double in the first inning. UofL tacked on five more runs in the second, triples from Celene Funke and Caitlin Ferguson proved to be the "big swats" and three Bison errors certainly didn't hurt.
Roby also made her pitching debut for the Cards and it was all systems go for the Mt. Washington, KY native. She stuck out nine Buffalo batters and allowed just one hit in five innings. Look out Lindsey Duvall, the town-folk of Mt.Washington might be naming a park or street after Roby if this keeps up.
Freshman catcher Rebecca Chung had the Cards final three RBI's to seal the deal via run-rule. 10-0 Cards. It would appear that Holly Aprile has some hitters on her roster.
In the second game of the day, a pitcher's duel developed. Six scoreless innings of softball between UofL and Northwestern. In the circle for the Cards was sophomore sensation Danielle Watson. This was a "battle of the Danielle's"...featuring Wildcat pitcher Danielle Williams as the other hurler.
A triple and sacrifice fly gave Northwestern a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh. The Cards started the bottom of the seventh in fine fashion with "that Funke music" and a leadoff triple for center-fielder Celene. Sadly, three subsequent Louisville batters could not get her to home plate and the Wildcats took a 1-0 win back to their lair.
Props to Watson for doing all she could. Allowing just two hits and getting six "punch-outs" in seven innings. Louisville wraps up their stay in California with a test against Utah St. today.
LACROSSE AT MARQUETTE TODAY
Louisville Lacrosse plays their second game of the season today at Marquette. The "Stick and Net" gals had a rough patch of it against Northwestern Friday and hope to bounce back against a Golden Eagles squad that hosted Notre Dame to start the year and lost 19-4.
Best of luck to Teeter's team. We'll recap it tomorrow. These scenarios of three sports on the same day are always fun-times around the antiquated Paulie laptop.
THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR
Another Saturday morning in studio with the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports happened yesterday at WCHQ 100.9 FM, in the majestic, marvelous media mansion on Mellwood.
CCRH featured me, Case, Jared and Daryl on the left side of the tables this week (Worldwide still stalking Crocodile Dundee, Asia Taylor and Kiwis) and we discussed Cardinal WBB mostly, with additional coverage of Softball, Lacrosse, Women's Tennis and other assorted minutia and trivia that usually pops up in our weekly broadcasts.
We learned Daryl doesn't care much for Kroger. Jared is a night-owl and Case remains the undisputed master and champion of the world and area beyond in scheduling and Twitter information.
We were on You Tube Live instead of Facebook Live, one of the changes going on at the station and check out (most of) the show at the link below. We lost about ten minutes at the start of the show. No big deal, it was just introductions and free-form rambling about Jared's "beveraging" and National Anthem experience, Daryl ranting and me and Case just sitting back and letting the dialogue flow.
LINK: THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR 2/9/19
Have a super Sunday and GO CARDS!