Walz Picks up First 2021 Commit
We have no idea when the 2020-2021 iteration of the UofL Women's Basketball team will first take the floor but we already have a look at what the team will look like in the following season. Louisville picked up its first 2021 commit yesterday when Payton Verhulst announced her intention to play for the Cards on Twitter. Verhulst is a 6-1, five-star guard according to HoopGurlz Super 60. She's the eighth-ranked player in the class and the fourth-ranked guard. Louisville beat out UCONN, Stanford, Notre Dame, and Oregon, among others, to draw Verhulst to campus.
Out of Bishop Miege, a small Catholic High School in Roeland Park, Kansas, Verhulst has made herself known to the state and the country. She has twice been a first-team all state player and won the Gatorade Player of the Year award in Kansas this past season as a junior. In 2019, she played on the Team USA U-16 team. According to HoopGurlz, Verhulst profiles as a triple-threat creator at the off guard position. With Hailey Van Lith already set to come in this season and ideally taking over the one-guard spot, Verhulst could prove to be an outstanding addition to a terrifying backcourt. Let us not forget that Louisville will still be loaded at the guard position after Dana Evans graduates.
Did I mention that HVL is already pretty excited about this?
There's still plenty of time before signing day and plenty more recruits still available, but I believe this would indicate pretty clearly that Coach Walz wasn't lying when he told Paulie that he and his staff were still recruiting like crazy.
The 2019-20 CASE Report
I did one of these for midseason and intended to do one for the season wrap up. Well, the end of the season was sprung on us much sooner than anticipated, but I waited until after the tournament would have ended to make my final CASE Report. (The scheduled timing of the tournament actually had nothing to do with the delay, but you already knew that.) As a reminder, the Cards scored a c-a-s-e on the midseason CASE Report. They were playing well enough but felt pretty average as compared to the lofty expectations we set. So how did they wrap up the rest of the season? I'll be using cumulative stats for all of the categories this time, and I'll use the final averages for opponent turnovers as those should give the best view of how Louisville's opponents actually played defensively.
C-Care: Louisville's opponents were not particularly good at forcing turnovers. The average ranking of Louisville's opponents in turnovers forced per game was 179. In fact, the ACC was even worse. Louisville's ACC opponents were the 184th best turnover forcing team on average. Only three of the Cards' ACC opponents were ranked in the top 100, and their influence on the average was inflated by the fact that Louisville played Notre Dame (79) and Boston College (96) twice. Louisville had the same number of top 100 opponents in the non-conference schedule, where the opponent average ranking was 170. For reference, the Cards came in at 155 on the season, so they weren't exactly world beaters either. Louisville committed 444 turnovers this year (13.9/game). Their opponents committed 524 (16.4). On the plus side, Louisville earns a half a letter for beating the opponent. On the other hand, the opponent averages only yielded an expected total turnovers of 509 for the season. With the goal of 65% of opponent turnovers, Louisville would need to have just 331 turnovers, but we already know that didn't happen. Louisville will maintain the lowercase 'c' from the midseason.
A-Assists: The Cards had 505 assists on the season. They aren't going to get to that 2.0 Assist-to-Turnover Ratio, or even 1.5, but they did finish with an ATO over 1 on the year. With a final number of 1.14, Louisville did improve from the midseason (1.03 back then) but they still can't get that half of the letter. They did, however, assist on a significant number of their baskets. With 896 made baskets, Louisville finished with a 56.3% assist rate. Anyone should be happy with that, so they'll get half a letter for it. Lowercase 'a'.
S-Steals: The Cards didn't force a great number of turnovers, as we noted, but they were active defensively. With 237 steals on the season, they outrebounded opponents by 61 on the year. They'll get the half letter for out rebounding opponents, but they snagged just 7.4 per game. I'm going to be generous, though, due to the nearly 2 steal per game differential and allow the letter despite not quite getting to 7.5 per game. Uppercase 'S'.
E-Efficiency: Louisville's offense under Jeff Walz is generally based on playing fast and taking good shots. Louisville finished with a 45.5% shooting percentage on the year, which is above our threshold of 45%. It doesn't affect the ranking, but they also shot 36% from three which is quite good. I'm feeling generous again, as the Cards finished 74.8% from the free throw line. They were just one made free throw away from 75%, though, so I'll give it to them. Uppercase 'E'.
That gives the Cards a final score of c-a-S-E. They improved in every category from midseason, which is what we were looking for, despite not getting to an uppercase letter everywhere. I was excited to see what Louisville would do through the tournament, but I'll have more on that another time.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
That's right; it's Saturday again. We'll be without Jared this week due to his banking necessity, but I'll be joined by Jeff and Paulie for this week's episode of the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. Tune in to the Cardinal Couple YouTube at 11AM for the show or catch the rebroadcast anytime after that.
Until next time, Go Cards!