Cards Unable to Find Replacement for Cincinnati
Head coach Jeff Walz was unable to work his magic on Twitter twice in one week, as Louisville's 2PM game slot today will go unfilled. Following Cincy's overtime win over NKU on Wednesday, the Bearcats returned a positive coronavirus test within the program. The decision was made on Thursday morning to cancel the game with Louisville scheduled for today. Earlier this week, you'll recall that Louisville was able to find a replacement for the MTSU game (cue SEMO) in just six hours by putting out a call on Twitter. Walz tried the same Thursday, seeking a D1 opponent for today. He even said that Louisville would be willing to travel 6-8 hours by bus. Still, the Cards were unable to find any takers.
Today will be the first game Louisville will miss on it's 2020-2021 schedule, but it will likely not be the last. While the Cards were lucky to scramble and fill the spot for the season opener, they still have an outstanding open date on the calendar. Surprisingly, Louisville is unable to find a taker to play on national TV at the Mohegan Sun Arena, filling the spot vacated by UCONN. The Cards have been able to replace Bellarmine with UT Martin, but as of now, tomorrow's game against EKU is the only game of five scheduled non-conference games that will be played as originally scheduled. That's not particularly confidence inspiring.
Also worrisome for college basketball fans in general is Jeff Walz's tone in the tweet where he sought an opponent for today. Walz's exact words were "We will all be trying to get the minimum 13 games scheduled to meet requirement for NCAA Tournament. Not a time to be picky who you play." With 20 games scheduled in the conference season and a game already under his belt at the time of the tweet, it seems clear that Coach Walz does not expect the conference season to go off without a hitch.
Something that will only confuse things further is the status of the NCAA guidance for positive tests. It was previously understood that a positive test within a program meant 14 days of program shutdown. It was that 14-day requirement that saw Louisville and UCONN forced to drop their annual matchup and has put numerous other programs behind the eight ball in their quest for 13 games. However, the CDC is considering reducing this quarantine guidance to eight days, as long as a negative test is proven at the end of those eight days. That would make quite the difference for plenty of teams, as positive tests are sure to plague the college basketball season. That said, if the NCAA adopts this new guidance, that would be quite unfair for teams that have had to quarantine for the full 14 days and missed multiple games to start the season.
Despite the length of the quarantine, the NCAA is already turning heads with its uneven application of the rules. Cincinnati, for example, is still scheduled to play Florida on December 5th. A quick check of the calendar shows that to be within 14 days of November 25th. Even if the game was exactly 14 days away, that would imply that Cincinnati would play Florida with no practice days. Something seems a bit off there. Not as far off, though, as what happened with Gonzaga. After teams have had to shutdown for a graduate assistant testing positive, Gonzaga had a player and staff member test positive yesterday morning and still played Auburn. Not to speculate further, but some pointed out that Mark Few was visibly coughing on the sideline throughout the game. Great.
We here at Cardinal Couple have made our opinion on the NCAA and its disproportionate application of rules and regulations quite clear in the past. This season, the constant discussion has been about how it will take everyone to get to the end of the year and have a tournament. The NCAA and member institutions literally can't afford to miss two tournaments in a row. If that's the case, having teams openly flaunt the rules and put other programs at risk of missing games (not even to mention the health risks) is quite the bad look. All eyes are on this college basketball season, as the NCAA has made it clear they will have more of a hand in basketball than they did in football and things are getting hairier throughout the country. So far, the NCAA is turning heads in the wrong way it would appear.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
We'll be without Jared this week, but Paulie, Jeff, and I will still do our best to bring you a great show. Basketball season is officially underway, so we'll talk about Louisville's opening win over Southeast Missouri and preview tomorrow's game against EKU. As always, our focus will be the joy and excitement of Louisville women's athletics. Tune in to the Cardinal Couple YouTube channel at 11AM for the live show, or check out the rebroadcast as soon as the show ends. You can also subscribe to the podcast on your favorite podcast player to have the show pushed to your device as soon as it's posted every week.
Until next time, Go Cards!