Happy Friday, Cards fans! Jared checking in here after Daryl and I traded this week. Daryl got to write about a Louisville victory. Thankfully, we only cover women's sports at Louisville so I don't have to recap a pitiful beatdown that Louisville's men's team suffered at the hands of Kentucky.
Louisville women's basketball is off to another strong start this year. The Cards are ranked in the top 25, hold an 11-2 record, and have multiple wins against ranked teams. As difficult as the non-conference slate was, the ACC schedule will be that much tougher.
If the NCAA Tournament started today, Charlie Creme has 10 ACC teams in the Big Dance. Miami, NC State, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Louisville all are in the latest Bracketology. Clemson is the only team in the ACC to log a conference win (they defeated Duke a couple weeks ago) so they would get the automatic qualifier in this scenario.
#3 NC State, #14 Notre Dame, #15 Virginia Tech, #19 Louisville, #21 Florida State, and #24 North Carolina all sit in the AP Poll. If you look at the Coaches Poll, you can add Miami to that list.
Does this make the ACC the best conference in women's basketball? The soon-to-be-defunct Pac-12 is the only conference that could make a case against that, but the ACC still seems to have the advantage.
NC State has been a bit of a surprise this year sitting at 12-0. The Wolfpack have wins against UConn and Colorado. Wes Moore has found a healthy balance between building up his roster with freshmen and transfers.
Notre Dame has had a hot start to the season even without the likes of multiple players dealing with injuries. The Irish are 9-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of South Carolina. Their biggest win came at Tennessee. Sonia Citron has seen action in just three games, KK Bransford missed a couple games, and Olivia Miles still isn't cleared to play.
Virginia Tech is having another solid year behind several key returners. The Hokies are 9-2 with their losses coming to Iowa (by four) and LSU. Georgia Amoore and Elizabeth Kitley are one of the best duos in the country. Cayla King also chose to return for another year, adding more veteran experience.
Florida State is making a case as one of the top contenders in the ACC this year. The Seminoles are 9-3 with a 2-1 mark against SEC opponents. Ta'Niya Latson is still the go-to player for FSU, but she has a stronger supporting cast around her this year.
North Carolina is another team relying heavily on key returners. The Tar Heels are 8-4 on the year with a three-game skid to close out November being the killer. Deja Kelly, Alyssa Ustby, and Paulina Paris are all back with another year of experience under the belts.
Miami is fresh off a Cinderella story run last year and are 9-1 to start the year. They fell to Baylor but pulled off wins against Sam Purcell's Mississippi State squad and DePaul. Katie Meier went to the transfer portal to help reload this year.
Louisville went 11-2 in non-conference play. They fell on the road to UConn in a blowout and lost to Alabama in a nail biter down in Texas early in the season. The Cards have wins against Gonzaga, DePaul, Washington, Ole Miss, and Kentucky. Jeff Walz went deep into the transfer portal to fill up the roster.
ACC play begins after the holiday break and it appears to be a free-for-all for the ACC title this year.
(PHOTOS BY MISTER IOSO EXTRANO)
Happy Friday and Go Cards!