CARDS CLINCH SECOND STRAIGHT ACC TITLE WITH WIN AT PITT
OUR ACC PICK 'EM CONTEST IS BACK! SEE BELOW
On an afternoon where it took the shooting awhile to come around for the Louisville WBB squad, the defense shone and held Pitt to their lowest point total of the season in the convincing 67-40 Cardinal win Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh. It was also the fewest points scored against Jeff Walz's squad this season, as well, and the effort took the Cards to their second-straight ACC regular season championship with a 14-2 ACC record.
They'll share that title with Notre Dame and the Irish get the #1 for the upcoming ACC Tournament that begins Wednesday. Louisville's first game is Friday at 6 p.m. One thing the Cards were not sharing Sunday was a close, competitive game most of the way.
After a 9-2 opening start in the first 3:20, poor shooting plagued the Cards the rest of the quarter and a 33% mark and 7-21 from the floor had the Cards in a close one...15-13 after one quarter. The three (1-9) wasn't falling and if it wasn't for Sam Fuehring's seven first session points, the Cards might have had a bit of a hole to dig out of in the second quarter.
Fuehring hit a three two minutes into second period action to give the Cards a 18-15 lead. The bucket seemed to spur Louisville and jump start the offense. A 15-2 run over the next six minutes had UofL up 30-17 and the Cards went into halftime with a 32-18 lead over the home-standing Panthers. A 17-5 second quarter advantage for the Cards. The three-bombing wasn't geting much better (2-7 for the quarter) but the Cards were ruling the boards and the defense was making life difficult for any Panther offensive attempts.Pitt went 2-12 from the floor in the second quarter.
The mastery continued in the second half. Louisville scored the first six points in the third (in one minute) and closed the quarter on a 5-0 run to hold a 49-30 lead. Jaz Jones and Asia Durr were contributing offensively along with Sam.
The Cards had a 10-0 run in the fourth to push the lead to 63-37 with four minutes to play and coasted in with the 67-40 victory. Durr led all scorers with 17 points and was joined in double figures by Jones (12) and Fuehring (10). Both Kylee Shook and Bionca Dunham ruled the glass with nine rebounds each.
27-2 overall going into conference tournament play. Despite the better overall record, the Cards will be the #2 seed and Nore Dame the #1 seed, based on UND's regular season win over Louisville.
A game where the Cards ruled the stats and the scoreboard. An afternoon where Louisville came in, took care of business, completed the road trip and came home with a convincing win that all expected.
THE FRED REPORT
|Cards defense was a "nightmare"|
for Pitt in the Pete.
R- REBOUNDS. The Cards went to the glass with a purpose and won the battle 42-29. OK, a couple of times it was four or five straight grabs on Louisville shot misses, but an effort where Louisville was "even" on offensive and defensive grabs, with 21 each. The trio of Sam, "B" and Kylee had 24 of them. No problem handing out a Capital "R" here.
E - EFFORT/EXECUTION. Beside the lack of shooting accuracy early from the floor, the only other real thing to raise a questioning eyebrow on would be just 14 second chance points on 21 offensive grabs. The paint scoring went UofL's way 36-18, fast break points 12-5 Louisville and Louisville got 23 points off turnovers. Fifteen turnovers is higher than we'd like, but we'll go with a Capital 'E".
D- DEFENSE. This was the shining light yesterday. Forcing 25 turnovers, getting 12 steals. Holding Pitt to 40 points and 32.7% shooting. You win games, obviously, by scoring more points than the other team. Anytime you can limit a foe to Pitt's total of 40, it isn't hard to out-point that number. In court, near the end of a trial, they say..."The defense rests, your honor." This defense didn't rest and earned the Capital "D".
FINAL FRED TALLY: -_R-E-D
We now know the seeds, the times and the matchups.
#1 SEED -- NOTRE DAME 14-2, 27-3
#2 SEED -- LOUISVILLE 14-2, 27-2
#3 SEED -- NC STATE 12-4, 25-4
#4 SEED -- MIAMI 12-4, 24-7
The four teams above will have their first games on Friday, March 8th -- in the quarter-finals. Louisville plays at 6 p.m. Miami gets the day started at 11 a.m. Notre Dame follows at 2 p.m. NC State closes out Friday action with an 8 p.m. start. All times approximate, except for the first game of the day.
#5 SEED -- SYRACUSE 11-5, 22-7
#6 SEED -- FLORIDA ST. 10-6, 22-7
#7 SEED -- CLEMSON 9-7, 18-11
#8 SEED -- N. CAROLINA 8-8, 17-13
#9 SEED -- GA. TECH 7-9, 19-10
The five teams above start play on Thursday. Syracuse gets the winner of Virginia and Boston College at 11 a.m.. Florida State faces the winner of Duke and Pitt at 8 p.m.. Clemson starts against the winner of Virginia Tech and Wake Forest at 6 p.m. North Carolina and Ga.Tech tip it off against each other at 2 p.m. Thursday.
#10 SEED -- VA. TECH 6-10, 19-10
#11 SEED -- DUKE 6-10, 14-14
#12 SEED -- VIRGINIA 5-11, 11-18
#13 SEED -- BOSTON COLL. 3-13, 14-15
#14 SEED -- PITTSBURGH 2-14, 11-19
#15 SEED -- WAKE FOREST 1-15, 10-19
The six teams above play on Wednesday. Virginia and Boston College start it off at 1 p.m. Virginia Tech goes against Wake Forest at 3:30 p.m. and Duke and Pitt are the nightcap, at 6:30 p.m.
I'll be in Greensboro with Cardinal Couple tournament specialist Tom Curley for all the action. Besides my normal Thursday column, I'll be adding updates from days' action to the guys' columns the rest of the week and you can follow me on Twitter at @cardinalcouple for live updates each day.
Let the games begin!
CARDINAL COUPLE ACC TOURNAMENT PICK 'EM
15 teams. 14 games. One-and-done.
Do you have what it takes to be the best in the 2019 Cardinal Couple ACC Tournament "Pick 'EM" challenge?
Who will step up to take down last year's bracket challenge winner Nick O.?
It's free to enter and you could win your choice of a $25 Panera or Cracker Barrel gift card.
It's simple to play, too.
Look at the 14 games. Pick winners for each. You get one point for each correct pick. In case of a tie for most correct picks, we'll go with total number of points scored in the championship game...so don't forget to add that.
You can submit your entries here in our comments section or e-mail them to us at:
Jared will be tracking the totals and standings again this year. Maybe he'll even take a picture of the winner, he's good about things like that, you know.
Entries must be in by 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 6th....or Jared will track you down, take your picture and caption it "failure to follow instructions".and send it to ACC tournament officials. OK, we're kidding there.
Still unsure of how to do this? Take a look at a couple of entries for guidance:
First round winners: Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pitt
Second round picks: Syracuse, N. Carolina, Virginia Tech, Florida State
Quarterfinals: Syracuse, Notre Dame, Louisville, NC State
Semifinals: Notre Dame, Louisville
Here's another example. Just send in the 14 winners, listed in order. The customer service staff at Cardinal Couple submitted this entry after the chimps convened and downed a few pitchers of banana daiquiris:
Boston College, Wake Forest, Duke, Boston College, Ga. Tech, Clemson, Florida State, Boston College, Ga. Tech, Louisville, Florida State, Ga. Tech, Louisville, Louisville
Plenty of places on line to download a printable bracket if you need one for your prognostication. Gocards.com has a nice one...
Good luck and have some fun with this!