Rankings don't mean much, even halfway through the season, but when a Louisville team sits near the top of the rankings, we can't help but recognize that.
Louisville Women's Basketball (12-1, 2-0 ACC) sits in the top five of three different rankings. The Cards are the top team in the latest NCAA Power Rankings.
"It was a showdown between the top-4 defenses in the nation when Louisville faced #16 Georgia Tech, but the Cards were able to outlast the nation's leading defense, 50-48. Emily Engstler saved Louisville from the upset by finding an open lane to the basket with a game-winning layup. Earlier in the week, Louisville cruised past Boston College and are now 2-0 in ACC play and 12-1 overall, going on a 12-game winning streak. So far, Louisville has taken down four ranked opponents- Michigan, Kentucky, UConn, and Georgia Tech. Its only loss of the season comes from Arizona, which is now considered the #4 team in the nation, according to the Associated Press." -Autumn Johnson, NCAA.
The Associated Press didn't give much recognition to Louisville as the Cards remained in the three hole in their latest poll. South Carolina (13-1) and Stanford (9-3) kept the top two spots. Arizona (10-0) and NC State (12-2) also stayed in their respective spots and four and five.
Georgia Tech (16), Duke (17), North Carolina (19), and Notre Dame (20) round out the six ACC teams in the current AP Poll. Other Louisville opponents in the rankings include Michigan (8), UConn (11), and Kentucky (21).
Another poll, the NET Rankings, lists Louisville as #5. The NET Rankings gets pretty in-depth from a numbers perspective. It takes into account win percentage, game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency, and the quality of wins and losses. Louisville beating Kentucky and Michigan at home isn't as good as getting ranked wins on the road such as against Georgia Tech. However, I still would argue that the win against UConn was a home game at the Huskies' secondary home.
Louisville's sole loss is to #4 Arizona (AP Poll). South Carolina's only loss came to an unranked and receiving votes Missouri team. Stanford has three losses to #1 South Carolina, #24 South Florida, and #9 Texas. Arizona hasn't played a ranked team since the Cards, but have been dominant on route to their 12-0 record.
It's hard not to still give South Carolina one of the top two spots in the rankings, even with a loss. I would also be okay putting Arizona in one of those top two spots too. However, with three losses this early into the season, I don't think Stanford deserves the #2 spot. Top teams find ways to win, even against other ranked opponents, and Stanford is 3-3 against current ranked teams.
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I do believe Louisville should be in the top three right now based on how other teams have performed this year. Overall, the league feels more open than in past years with plenty of teams that could make the Final Four and be a top team, so it helps keeps the Cards up high.
Defensively, Louisville is without a doubt one of the best teams in the country. Offensively, the Cards have too many inconsistencies. I can understand players having off nights and just not shooting well. The missed layups and missed free throws this year are something that can't be as easily forgiven.
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If UofL shoots better than 7-16 at Georgia Tech, then the last second layup would've been icing on the cake and not a needed game-winner. Louisville shot 8-12 against Kentucky. A couple extra made shots there takes a little pressure off that final minute. Ironically, the Cards shot 25-30 against Arizona but struggled with 17 turnovers and going 2-11 from three-point range.
The Cards stay in conference play and return home to friendly confines of the KFC Yum! Center on Thursday against Pitt. Following the ping-pong schedule, Sunday is a road game and next Thursday is a home game.
We will continue to bring you the latest Louisville Women's Basketball news and plenty of in-person coverage at the home games.
Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!