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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday Cardinal Couple -- Cards ranked #3? Sounds good to me...


- DAVID WATSON weighs in on UofL WBB


First off, let's get something quite clear --UConn and Notre Dame are the best two teams in the country in college women's basketball. Muffet McGraw and Geno Auriemma are the two best coaches in women's college basketball. I'm starting to see a trend here and it has nothing to do with conference alignments, strength of scheduling or the moon waxing over Neptune. Them that gots, gets. Them two got.

I think DePaul has a pretty good squad as well this season. They've got to be relieved they don't have to play Connecticut and Louisville this year. Even Syracuse is gone. They did face Notre Dame and UK in the non-conference slate. Two of their four defeats and understandably so. Doug Bruno's grin has probably never been wider. Bruno has been at DePaul since the disco era. He's dancing this year.

And, what is going on with UK WBB these days? It might be time to send Dr. Phil (or Dr. Seuss or Dr. Spock) to Lessington for some counselling and group hug therapy.

Louisville ranked #3? Yeah, sure. Why not?

They held their own against UConn. They haven't flubbed against an un-ranked like the Dookies or Stanford and Son have. Way too much is put into strength of schedule. Charlie Creme needs to add some sugar or set the mug down. This UofL team can flat out ball and with a sore-shin on Shoni (say that fast five times), Asia throwing up all day Saturday and Bria still probably riding a bike in Cardinal Arena (I've wondered about that -- if your knees hurt, what are you doing on a stationary bike pedalling?) the Cards didn't do bad in Storrs. Mind you, I'm no physical therapist. And I'll spend 5-6 hours walking on grass trying to find a little white ball, just to whack it again and try to re-find it with tendinitis issues. The world isn't fair. 

The Cards weren't great either in Storrs. The mad scientist is working on it. Whoever can figure out how to get Shoni in double-figures against anything wearing a Connecticut shirt please call Louisville Women's Basketball immediately.

The key here, as many have mentioned, is not tripping up in the five games before facing Gennecticut again. Temple will be looking for revenge for beating them in from of Bill Cosby (OK, I doubt he was there, but it sounds good). Playing Memphis in Memphis is always dangerous, no matter what the sport. Those folks have a definite hatred for anything in red or with birds on it.

Those Rutgals are the one that worry me the most. They definitely want to avoid being the #4 seed in the Geno Classic (oops, AAC Tournament) and wins can prevent that. They'll come into the YUM! for the last time in the foreseeable future ready to put a third loss on the Cardinals schedule.

Louisville says goodbye to Cincy after that and that one can't be overlooked either. Jamelle Elliott is a Geno disciple and and I wouldn't put it past him to sneak a few of his All-Americans down there and disguise them in blonde wigs and ponytails to spice things up.

Whaddya mean you let UofL in the ACC?
So the plan is nicely laid out. A lot can happen, of course, in the 20 days before Geno lets the dogs out in the fried chicken arena.

Maybe someone, dare I say it -- knocks off UConn before the Cards get a second shot at it?

Where's Doug Bruno, Quentin Hillsman and Muffet McGraw when you need them?

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Finally -- would someone PLEASE draw up a set of six or seven rules of universal officiating, distribute them to all women's college officials and make them memorize them and repeat them before they get paid to call a game? The last time I was this confused about procedure was when I little boy and the doctor told me to take the pill he showed me three times a day. No matter how hard I tried, once I took the pill the first time, it was gone and I couldn't take it again.

The NCAA tries experimental rules enforcement tactics
Make them get tattoos on their arms with the rules. Flash them on the jumbotron in the arenas ( OK, that won't work in most arenas) or have an annoying little man running around on the court spouting them out continuously. Woody Allen is available.

Just be consistent. If something is a foul in the first half, or on Tuesday night -- make it a foul in the second half or on Sunday afternoon. This isn't the pizza buffet.

Dear college womens' basketball referees: You're giving a lot of coaches ulcers. We assume you don't drive on both sides of the street or brush your teeth with both ends of your toothbrush. Could a confused fan get a little congruence here?

Have a great Wednesday CARDINAL COUPLE readers. Go watch your excellent WBB squad in a bird battle tonight in downtown Louisville. Enjoy $2 beers, get out of the cold for a few hours and make some noise.

These days are fleeting and before you know it you'll be filling out NCAA brackets and arguing about seeding, locations and game times. Less than three weeks until the madness of March arrives. I may just have to leave the balmy warmth of southwest Florida and purchase a ticket for 3/3/14.

Jose points out to Geno where I normally sit
for USF games. Geno checks Jose for weapons..

I've got Jose and the Bulls in case my withdrawl from live WBB gets too overpowering. It may be methadone for my heroin-type addiction for live college basketball, but the fairways in Muncie and Louisville probably don't have much roll currently.


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  1. David, I love it when you write. You are right. The fairways up here are unplayable. Say hi to the Russian Rocket Inga for me.

    Curtis Franklin

  2. David! Didn't know you were down here in my neck of the woods. Are you near Naples? Give Paulie a call, get my number and give me a ring. I need someone to fill out a foursome on Fridays. Was that you holding up play on the back nine at Lakewood Monday?

    -- the real Joe Hill

  3. Hi Joe. Will do. Right now we're renting in Bradenton and looking to buy a condo. My son played Lakewood a few weeks ago. Had a 77. I was not invited.

    1. two hooking up is like Abbott getting introduced to Costello. Nevertheless, give me a call David. The management assumes no responsibility for events that might occur. You have been warned, Sunshine State.


  4. This is a nice, thoughtful article, and there is a lot to comment on in it. But for now I am just going to comment on the reference to Bria Smith. She is riding a bike to keep up her cardio conditioning, and movement probably does not stress the knee as much as weight bearing activities, particularly when those involves sharp cuts and stops. That said, I hope she does not stay out too long. Neither Nia or Jude have been able to come back 100% yet from their long absences. They have not fully regained their offensive confidence and feel yet, even though they are probably near 100% back in their physical strength and conditioning. Hopefully they will get all the way by the next UConn game. Kallena M-L is not all the way back for UConn either.

    Bria can be a big help both offensively and defensively. Her agility and length help make her UL's best perimeter defender, and they need help on Hartley and Jefferson particularly. She can also pentetrate and draw fouls as well as make points. She can also shoot the short range jumper, and she can help take care of the ball. All of that will take some of the pressure off Shoni, and help give Shoni, Tia and Nia more chances for open outside shots.

    UConn represents one of two final hurdles for this year's seniors (the other being a championship), as well as for the whole team. It is especially so for Shoni. UConn has a way of holding down the other team's leader. Skylar Diggins generally had below average games against UConn, but other ND players took advantage of the focus SD took, just as Asia did because it opened up the post area. UConn was defending the perimeter so tight to not let UL three point shooters get going, that it opened up one on one opportunities for Asia and Sara. That said, UL still needs at least 15 points from Shoni on less than 15 shots if they are going to have a good chance of beating UConn. UL needs at least 4 players in double figures to stretch the defense and open it up for more scoring opportunities for all the players on the floor.

    I agree that UConn and ND are 10-12 points better than anyone else in the country, but they are not unbeatable. I think there is at least a 1 in 3 chance that they both lose a game before the the NCAA tournament. UConn's likely loss is at Louisville and ND's likely loss will be in the AAC tournament. Gary Witherspoon

    1. Walz did mention in the post-game presser that Bria would be available for Memphis and tenative plans are for her to practice on Thursday and Friday


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