Cards Host Syracuse in ACC Opener
Jeff Walz and Co. will be hoping to end their Christmas vacation on a better note than Rick Pitino's squad when the Syracuse Orange come to town tonight. The Yum! Center will house a top 25 match-up as the Orange are ranked 25th. Louisville and Syracuse have been pretty even in their history as with the Cards owning an 8-6 advantage. The home advantage is large with Louisville holding a 5-1 lead.
Syracuse is 9-4 on the young season and was on a five game winning streak before falling to Texas A&M last Wednesday. The Orange are a high volume shooting team. They attempted 32 three pointers against the Aggies, but made only 7. Louisville will look to defend the three point line or could be looking at a tough contest.
It all starts with Alexis Peterson for the Orange. Shut her down and you've turned off the ignition and killed the car.
The "Cuse ended UofL's ACC tournament visit last year and the Orange made it all the way to the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Championship game. There are a couple of key components gone from that team this year, but they are still a dangerous and worth foe.
Louisville's high hopes for the season would see a boost with a strong start to conference play. The game begins at 7PM and can be found on the ACC Network Extra if you can't make it to downtown Louisville."Q" is in town and that's worth the price of admission alone tonight
Men's Team Lays Egg Against Virginia
The men's basketball team didn't open conference play quite the way they hoped when they faced Virginia. The Cavaliers have been a thorn in Louisville's side since the Cards joined the ACC, as Louisville has been victorious in only one of the teams' five meetings. Although Louisville went on an 18-5 run to end the game to make the final score a bit more respectable, this one was decided early. Donovan Mitchell scored a fast break layup to make it 2-5, 2 of only 4 fast break points scored by the Cards (Louisville has 20 fast break points total in it's five conference games against Virginia). From that point, the Cards were never closer than six points from the Cavs.
Louisville turned the ball over 11 times in the first half on their way to a 15 point halftime deficit. The Cards righted the ship in the final quarter of the game, but at that point it was too late. It seems that Louisville's complete game performance against Kentucky was an anomaly, and we are likely to see the Jekyll and Hyde team much more often. Louisville is now 1-1 in their holiday gauntlet, and still have tough games on the horizon with Indiana in Indianapolis and Notre Dame in South Bend.
This one was ugly, and you can look one of many other places to read more about it. That's all I have to say about the game play, so you have my permission to stop reading here, if you'd like. Consider this my official rant warning.
Ditch the 'Yell Leaders'
Against the University of Kentucky, the Louisville marketing team decided to institute 'Yell Leaders.' These are regular students who have been granted the opportunity to be the hype leaders of the student section. It's a great idea in theory, but the implementation falls quite flat. The following are my many gripes with the system. Before I get started, allow me to say that I am not writing this because I'm jealous that I don't get to be a 'yell leader.' I'm writing this in the hopes that the University will get wind of it and understand why they should be canned.
1) The 'yell leaders' have replaced the Ladybirds. The student section seats begin with Row B. Row A has always been the row on the floor, and its seats have always been reserved for the Ladybirds. In order to make room for the 'yell leaders,' Row A has been removed, leaving the Ladybirds with nowhere to sit. The Louisville dance team is now confined to the tunnel, unable to watch the game or cheer visibly from their seats. I've heard personally from multiple Ladybirds about their disappointment in this new arrangement.
2) The 'chant sheet' created to accompany the 'yell leaders' is full of chants not traditional to the UofL student section. It also encourages chants and behaviors which seem to belong more in a high school gym than a college arena. Fan heckling is commonplace in all sports, but Louisville deserves more originality than turning around while the other team is being introduced. By the way, the Chant Sheet indicates that the students should all be holding newspapers which they pretend to read while being turned around. Students are also expected to throw these newspapers in the air when Louisville scores its first basket. Since I've never even seen a newspaper in the Yum! Center, I'm going to assume that this Chant Sheet was just copied from some other University and edited poorly.
3) The people selected to be the 'yell leaders' aren't particularly good representatives of the University. This gripe is going to sound personal, but I don't intend for it to. The students who are now expected to be the leaders of the student section have a history of being disrespectful and inappropriate to opposing players and officials. Of course, I'm not going to sit here and say that most college students don't say reprehensible things at sporting events. I won't even tell you that I haven't made comments which would be in bad taste. The argument I'm making is that these students have been rewarded for it. Instead of being reprimanded for researching a player's personal life and making sometimes horrible remarks about a girlfriend or sister, they've been promoted for it. This recognition sends a bad message about the type of behavior that UofL wants to see from its students at sporting events.
4) Last, but definitely not least, THEY DON'T DO ANYTHING. The 'yell leaders' were created to motivate the student section and improve the atmosphere in the Yum! Center. Instead, they now just get to have front row seats without the effort of standing in line like everyone else. Against UK, they started a few CARDS chants, but other than that, they only jumped up on their boxes in excitement when everyone else was already excited. They weren't leading anything. Against UVA, only one of four made any effort to do anything other than stand at the front of the student section and watch the game. Even that effort was a half hearted over the shoulder megaphone usage while keeping eyes on the court. Having the opportunity to be a 'yell leader' or leader of the student section should be a sacrifice. This should be about inspiring your fellow students, not about getting the best view of the game for free.
The bottom line is that the creation of the 'yell leader' program is a flop. You heard it here, UofL. Please do something about it.
P.S. You don't have to yell into a bullhorn. That's kind of what they're for.
Until next time, Go Cards.Beat Syracuse. Beat IU. Beat LSU.