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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Cardinal Couple -- Softball Doubleheader and Basketball for the FINAL FOUR.


-Softball hosts Pitt for two today

-Pitino vs. Donovan today

-Lacrosse @ Notre Dame

-SWEET sixteen IN wbb STARTS today

The University of Louisville women's softball team puts its 24-0 record on the line this afternoon with a doubleheader schedule against the Pitt Panthers. First pitch is scheduled for noon. 

Louisville is one of two teams left in D1 softball that is undefeated. Louisiana-Lafayette (26-0) is the other. The Cards are #14 in both polls and come into the Pitt series -- the opening BIG EAST games for both teams -- after taking a double-header from Ohio State on Tuesday by scores of 7-0 and 7-2.

It is Girl Scout Day at Ulmer Stadium and the first 400 Girl Scouts in receive a Spring Sports patch. Maybe they'll bring some cookies to sell as well...isn't it that time of year again? 

The Panthers, departing the BIG EAST for the ACC, are 15-9 this season. They come into this game after splitting a doubleheader with St. Francis on Wednesday. 

The Cards will mostly likely face Pitt pitcher Savannah King in one of today's game...she's 11-6, but has a 1.16 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 116 innings pitched. 

Rain, rain..go away! Don't you know Cardinal Softball wants to play? Ulmer Stadium field is one that drains and dries pretty quickly, though and the groundskeepers do a great job of getting it ready and keeping it playable for games. 

Take two today, ladies! CARDINAL COUPLE will have a full report on the games later today. 


Cardinal fans know what awaits the men's basketball team today at 4:30 p.m. A win gets a trip to the FINAL FOUR for Rick Pitino and his guys. The foe? Florida and Billy Donovan. 

Billy the Kid -- as Pitino likes to call him -- has had remarkable success at Florida. The Cards may have an "ace" in the hole, though. Current UofL assistant coach Richard Pitino spent a couple of years on Billy's staff at Florida before returning to the Cards. We like to call those years "the sending of Rick, Jr. to summer camp at Uncle Billy's while Dad gets this whole messy Sypher thing straightened out" series episode in the soap opera that is Louisville men's basketball. (One funny aside here...the spell check function on the computer flagged "Sypher" and suggested "syphilis" instead). Insert your own punch line here...we're not going there. We get enough hate mail already...

And, hurtful e-mail about the comparison. We like Richard...feel he's the probable successor to
Rick at UofL and have enjoyed most of Nick's movies over the years (except those ones where he spontaneously catches on fire). Honeymoon in Vegas, Con-air, Leaving Las Vegas, Raising Arizona and National Treasure immediately come to min as great films he has appeared in. 

We hope that Behanan and Dieng go to the boards well this afternoon and that Kyle, Russ and Peyton's shots are on target. Few envisioned that this year's team would be one game away from a trip to New Orleans and the Final Four. Make it happen, "Infrared Cards" !!

Who will go to New Orleans to join the Cards if they can get past the speedy and three-point bombing Gators? We'll know for sure Sunday night...but the candidates currently running for those slots are the Gators, Kentucky, Baylor, North Carolina, Ohio State, Kansas and Syracuse. Two SEC schools, two BIG EAST schools, two BIG 12 schools, a BIG 10 and an ACC school. Not a year for mid-majors, is it? How are your brackets doing? Mine had a Final Four of Duke, Missouri, Ohio State and North Carolina. Hey, I got two schools in the running. How about you?

Something else that we've often wondered about here at CARDINAL COUPLE (maybe we have too much time on our hands) is the close resemblance of Richard Pitino and Nicholas Cage. Related? What was the determining factor that made one a Hollywood actor and the other a college coach? We feel there is much more to this and we've considered sending Co-Co, Tommy Boy and the staff chimps out to do extensive interviews with both. We'd even like to suggest a "career swap"...let Richard do a few flicks with Meg Ryan or Sarah Jessica Parker and Nick spend a year on the bench with "the Godfather." 

No doubt...Richard Pitino picked up a thing or two in Gainesville and hopefully they'll be advantageous to the Cards. This one, though, probably won't be decided by coaching strategy, resumes and the coach-meets-former-player angle. Rebounding, scoring and defense will determine who gets to meet the winner of the Baylor vs. Kentucky tilt that will be played Sunday. 

L1C4. Keep it accurate, guys.

(CARDINAL COUPLE Special Correspondent David Watson...who watches more college basketball in a month than most of us do in a year...sent this synopsis of today's game) 

"The key factor today is going to be if the Cards can create offense. Rick has lamented all season long about how his guys have a hard time doing that. Of course, it's 'Pitino-Spin' for the most part. Anyone who watched the Michigan State vs. Louisville game saw 4 or 5 guys in those 'post-nuclear fallout' Cardinal uniform colors make the net dance. I'll watch three guys for Louisville today and I think their offense production (or lack of it) will be the key. Chane Behanan, Kyle Kuric and Peyton Siva. Go Cards!" 


Louisville Lacrosse travels to Notre Dame for a 1 p.m. match against the #7 Irish. It's a rebuilding year for the girls with nets on the end of sticks...2-5 so far and losses to Vandy and Jacksonville in their last two. 

A win today could provide loads of confidence and momentum for the baby Birds. It won't be easy, though. ND is 6-0 on the season and the Cards are 0-lifetime against the Irish since the Cards took up the sport in 2009. 


Finally...we conclude today's offerings with the reminder that the NCAA Women's basketball tournament will start the process of paring down from sixteen to four teams over the next four days. 

Check out Friday's edition of CARDINAL COUPLE for an extensive look at the eight matchups on tap for Saturday and Sunday. 

Although our Lady Cards are no longer in the frey for FINAL FOUR frenzy, we'll still keep and eye on the events and report on Cardinal fan favorite opponents Kentucky, Notre Dame, UConn and St. John's. Louisville played five of the Sweet 16 still alive this season...going 0-6 against them in regular season and conference tournament action. Wait until next year (see, we've started it already...). The Cards WILL sweep.


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