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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Men Handle Duke; Women Host Miami -- SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Top 15 Match-up as Women Host Miami

In the battle of the chicken fast food chains (Canes in the KFC Yum! Center), Louisville will take on it's second straight team from the Sunshine State. After a very disappointing finish against the Seminoles, Louisville will hope to come away from this one with a win. Miami is ranked 14th and the Cards will, once again, not have any time off to lick their wounds after a loss. The ACC is a tough league, and the Cards need this one to stay above 0.500 in league play. Paulie will have a full write-up tomorrow, but if you'd like to see the action yourself, the game tips at 1:30 PM and can be found on ESPN2 (or live on Main Street between 2nd and 3rd). 

Cards Hand Duke Second Straight Loss; Win 78-69

After falling to Florida State earlier this week, Duke came into town desperate for a win before having a week long break until their next game. Desperate teams are always dangerous, and Duke is a dangerous team even without desperation on their side. With their Hall of Fame coach out after having back surgery and a fifth year senior leader sidelined with a foot injury, Duke was depending on a mix of youth and experience to carry them against the Cards. Louisville was able to take advantage of the missing leadership and had great success in disrupting Duke's passing game, as well as a fantastic game down low, on their way to a 78-69 victory.

The atmosphere was electric from tipoff, even though Cards fans were still filtering in. I guess 12:00 start times are hard to get up for in basketball as well as football. The early game was up and down, mostly in favor of Duke, with Louisville unable to hit the broadside of a barn. The Blue Devils stretched their lead to 7 on a fastbreak layup by Grayson Allen before the Cards climbed back into it. After a bit more back and forth, Louisville went on an 11-3 run over two and a half minutes to take an eight point lead. The building was rocking, and Louisville was clicking on all cylinders. Duke took their lumps over the last three minutes and were down by six when Louisville was fouled on a rebound attempt with 30 seconds remaining. Rather than hold on for the last shot, Louisville inexplicably took a bad shot with 22 seconds remaining. The miss allowed Duke to have the final shot instead, which they hit to cut the lead to four at the half. 

The second half started slow for the Cards, with Duke taking a one point lead two minutes into the half. Louisville has a reputation of "booming" teams, though (a reputation which was bestowed upon them, appropriately, by Coach K following the 2013 Elite 8 game), and the Cards rattled off a nine point run to regain an eight point lead. From that point, Louisville never lost control of the lead, despite being called for eight straight fouls to make the foul deficit 12-5 over an eight minute span. Duke was not called for a single foul after the 8:48 mark until they began intentionally fouling with 40 seconds remaining. No team plays that clean of a basketball game, especially in the ACC. Nonetheless, Louisville was able to put together another 40 minute performance and pull out the win, an important one which improves their ACC record to the plus 0.500 category. Louisville has now beaten Kentucky, Indiana, and Duke in the same season for the first time in program history, and they've done it in less than a month.  

The non-basketball story coming into the game was Louisville's relationship with Grayson Allen. In case you had forgotten, Grayson Allen's villainy really took off when he tripped Ray Spalding last season in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The legend continued when he got into an altercation with Jaylen Johnson in the rematch in the KFC Yum! Center. Allen also joined a small fraternity of players when he picked up 6 personal fouls, being assessed for a technical foul for his tantrum after being called for a charge to pick up his fifth foul. The fans were ready for Allen's return to Louisville, as signs heckling him were abundant. Although I didn't take a sign myself, my roommate and I found ourselves the subject of quite a few videos and pictures after a fellow Louisville fan wandered down the steps and handed us a sign (see picture) saying, "This is for you guys." I assume he hoped his sign would find the screen often since there were two Duke fans seated directly in front of us. In addition to the signs and general ridicule, Louisville fans made sure that Grayson Allen knew they were watching. His location was always known, and he received a chorus of boos whenever possible. Every time his name was announced--entering the game, exiting the game, being called for a foul or getting fouled--he was booed. Every time he went to the line or inbounded the ball, he was booed. And every single time the ball touched his hands on the court, he was booed. The coordination of the crowd was quite impressive, to be honest. 

At the end of the day, the game was relatively uneventful as far as Grayson Allen extracurricular activities went, with the circulating play of the day being a battle for a loose ball between Allen and Donovan Mitchell after which Mitchell incidentally (?) smacked Allen in the face. There was no call on the play. Jay Bilas commented during the game that Allen probably deserves more calls than he gets, but he spends so much time trying to sell every single thing that referees often don't call fouls in his favor because it just looks like he's trying to draw a call. After watching today's game, I think that Bilas is probably right, as Allen does quite a bit of acting on every play. All of that said, Allen is a good basketball player (I think Rick Pitino's characterization that he is a "terrific young man who just made a mistake" is a stretch), and he finished the game with 23 points and nine rebounds. 

Had Duke won yesterday, Allen would have been a clear player of the game choice, but that award typically favors the winning team. For that reason, the player of the game for me (and most others), was Anas Mahmoud. I mentioned earlier that Louisville had a huge game inside, and Mahmoud was a major factor. He finished the game with a career high 17 points and added 11 rebounds for his first career double-double. Mahmoud was part of a 35 point effort from Louisville's 4&5 players, which had a significant impact on the outcome of the game. Anas has made large strides (no pun intended) since arriving on campus and could prove to be a driving force for this Louisville team for the remainder of this year and in future years.

Additional props go to the guard tandem of Donovan Mitchell and Quentin Snider, who finished with a combined 28 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, and 4 steals, while only turning the ball over 3 times. The team finished with only 11 turnovers compared to Duke's 18, and Louisville amassed 25 deflections in the second half alone. Throw in the fact that more than half of Mitchell's 15 points came after a severely rolled ankle and you can see that this team can be very dangerous when this duo is playing well. 

Louisville's next test will come against a struggling Clemson squad that is hungry to knock off an ACC power. It will be beyond important for the Cards to stay focused (a task which seems to trouble them) and not look ahead to what will likely be a top ten matchup against Florida State.

An Update on the Yell Leaders

I find my stance on the yell leaders softening just a bit. I still don't like them, nor do I agree with most of the things that they do, but I am starting to believe that there may be a place for such a thing. If you've followed me on Twitter, you'll know that I get frustrated by a lot of things that the yell leaders do. More specifically, I get annoyed that they don't wear Louisville attire while "leading" the student section. I get annoyed that they spend their time researching players' and coaches' family members to make rude/weird/inappropriate chants about them. I get frustrated when they stand on their giant boxes and block people's view of the court during live game action.

All of that said, they're trying. They've become a Recognized Student Organization. They are passing out fliers to get people to join them. They're making a noticeable effort to actually lead cheers. However, it's not quite enough. I still can't tell if the rest of the students even want them around. After all, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. Additionally, there are so many missed opportunities by this group. They should be jumping to join in on every cheer led by the spirit squads and singing every school song played by the band. These things would give them some credibility. Instead, they mill around, talking amongst themselves or playing on their phones. They don't appear to actually want to lead cheers, they just look like they want to stand in front of the student section and feel important.

It appears as though this experiment does not have an end in sight. To the Ladybirds who are forced to watch the game from the tunnel, if at all, I'm sorry. I hope that, in the event that the yell leaders are here to stay, that some way can be found to return you to the floor. To the readers, I'm sure that there will be more to say on the issue, so stay tuned.

Your Favorite Hour of Radio Programming...

Ever since the Little Orphan Annie duped us all with a crummy Ovaltine commercial, the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour has been far and away the best hour of radio around. Paulie and Jeff were without me in the studio yesterday, but they called me to get my take on the game from inside the Yum! Center. You can catch the rebroadcast at this link and hear the sounds of pregame in the background as I ramble on as usual.

Paulie Picks

Paulie jumps into another week of predicting ACC WBB battles with six games to choose from today and two on Monday. Thus far in league play, the ACC has had ten games decided by single digits. There have also been what could be considered four upsets. 

Paulie puts his 25-6 record on the line. That's good for an 80,6% success rate so far this season. Here's what the crystal ball (which was grabbed by Anas Mahmoud and dunked...shattering it) says: 

-- Syracuse takes their four game win streak to Georgia Tech. Even though this one is in Atlanta, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones aren't walking through that door for the Techies...except maybe to watch...and "Q" and the Orange Grove pluck their fifth straight win. 'Cuse. 

-- Louisville brings in the southern Miami contingent for a tough battle. Adrienne Motley's crew will make a game of it but the Birds should do enough to beat Bassy the Ibus if Myisha Hines-Allen, Asia Durr and Mariya Moore can handle the stormy-weather. Cards.

-- FSU leaves the Donald L.Tucker Center to go Tiger hunting and should find a easy prey in the Clemson variety. This isn't Ben Boulware and Dabo's 0-4 in-conference Clemson WBB...and Leti Romero's warpath party scalps the South Carolina cagers. Convicts. 

-- North Carolina heads to the Steel City to steal one from the Pitt Panthers. They'll need to disable Brandi Harvey-Carr's motor if they want to win this one...but after a couple of Roethlesberger's and fries...they should ram the Panthers into the Allegheny. Heels win. 

-- Virginia provides a landing path for the Boston College Eagles in Charlottesville and should be able to wahoo the visitors in what may be the closest game of the day. No cavalier attitude here...UVA gets their first ACC win over Baldwin's bunch. UVA "W"".

-- In the Raleigh-Durham Invitational...NC State invites the Duke Blue Devils into Reynolds Coliseum for hoops du jour. I see Mr. and Mrs. Wuf huffing and puffing their way to a win over JoAnne P's Brown and Green(well) visitors. Wolfpack gets the "W". 

-- On Monday, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest celebrate MLK Day with a 1 p.m. tussle in the Cassell Coliseum. The visiting Demon Deacons will have their hands full trying to grab the Gobblers and VT sends Wake back to the forest with a "L". Virginia Tech wins. 

-- A nice out-of-conference match up for Notre Dame down in Knoxville against the University of Tennessee Monday night. Little Miss Muffet McGraw's court-dwellers provide the knocks in this match-up and decline the Volunteers application. Irish spring for a win.

Until next time, Go Cards.


  1. Nice recap of men's game, Case! Glad the guys beat Duke!

    I've had a few day to think about the womens loss to FSU and my feelings have tempered a bit on it. First off, Dave Watson and I had a great trip up and back. A few hours in a car with him is like a college semester. He is a walking encyclopedia of music from the sixties to eighties and we had some great discussion. My 2016 Ford Taurus Limited made the trip very smoothly. I got to his house in about two hours and we were at the game with about an hour before tip-off. We were tempted to walk down and sit right behind the team, there were a few chairs open, but we stayed up high because he likes that vantage view of the court. Asia and Mariya really put out quite the effort and we were impressed with Jazmine also. She's going to be something wonderful by the time she's a junior.

    Imani Wright had a great first half against Louisville but was pretty silent in the second until she hit that long three-pointer. I'd trade for Shakayla Thomas in a heartbeat, if there were trades in college hoops. You forget she's just about 6 foot with her drive and effort.

    The fans around us, a nice couple from Tallahassee in particular that are huge Seminole fans, were very nice and had a lot of questions about Louisville football and basketball. We couldn't figure out the decision to leave Myisha sitting. She was rebounding well and getting down the court OK. I thought she might be injured. A tough ending, but Louisville was still in a position to win if they could have made anything in the final few minutes. The shots weren't dropping.

    We had a small altercation, nothing major except a few words, with a couple of FSU students on the way back to the car. I pretty much shut them up, though, when I made a remark about Lamar Jackson getting ready to score again. Just a couple of college kids who probably had been drinking, maybe. Our ride back was smooth. We took the coastal route, bypassing Orlando and rolling through those small, sleepy towns was pretty cool.

    Dave did punish me pretty bad in golf the next morning. We had a nice breakfast his wife prepared before we hit the course and she went to work. Dave's son joined us in the golf outing. He's taking a semester off from college and plans on going to either Stetson, USF or FAU next fall. He's been in contact with all three golf coaches and is just waiting to see who comes up with the most financial aid. He is an excellent golfer and did the eighteen we played two over par. Dave wasn't far behind him. I couldn't get my mid-game going and barely avoided 90. After driving home, I slept almost 10 hours Friday night/ Saturday morning! I guess the trip took it out of me pretty well.

    Louisville could be a Final Four team if they jell. They just need to be smarter. Defensive breakdown and not switching really hurt them Thursday night.

    Good luck today Cards!

    -- The Real Joe Hill --

    1. Great review, Joe! Couldn't agree with the assessment more. I hearby declare the Walz Bakery closed today.


  2. Focus and intensity, basically my prescription for every game coached by Walz.

  3. Nice Piece. The men looked great. Was glad to see Mahmoud have a break out effort. Hopefully a sign of things to come. I think Pitino is bringing the guys along really well and they'll make some noise in the tourney.

    I heard the ransom has been paid and MHA will be back today versus Miami...hopefully her game will come back with her. If that happens and we start shooting like we're serious it will be great. Go Cards!

  4. Go card's beat the U.
    BJ gets her grove back!

  5. Why do we miss so many close shots?

  6. We won't go deep into the tournament if Cortnee doesn't get more aggressive on offense.

    1. We won't go far if she does get more aggressive. It her forte. Could she stand to work on being able to grab the board, go up, and finisb through contact? Yes. If that's what you mean by aggressive I agree. But she should not under any circumstances go looking for her shot. If you saw what happened in the fourth quarter when Asia drove the lane and dumped it off to Cortnee; she couldn't do anything with it. It would have been better if Asia had just shot it and if she missed it Cortnee was in perfect position to rebound which is what she does best

    2. *it's not her forte. Excuse me

    3. Yes! she needs to go back up strong with the ball.

  7. Does anyone know what happened to Arica Carter? She hasn't even been on the bench in street clothes. I hope she isn't gone!

  8. Is she supposed to have surgery on her groin.

    1. On Arica, there was a personal in her immediate family and she went home for a few days to California to address that. She'll be back.




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