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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Beating the Huskies?...Pre-ACC Tournament thoughts...WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


As the AAC (and most of the other conferences) roll into their final regular season games before their tournaments...and the Huskies have dispatched of another top 10 foe for their 100th win...we pose the seemingly annual question.

Can anyone beat UConn? 

Looking at the Huskies final four regular season games in the American Athletic Conference...they go to Tulane, host Temple and Memphis and visit South Florida. Only Temple (9-2, 19-5) has a better than .500 conference record as of today. The Owls are one of the schools UConn had already faced this season and they blinded the Owls 97-65 in Philly. Temple looks to be a possible NCAA Tournament team and so does USF. UConn hosted the Bulls and gored them 102-37 earlier this year. Memphis hasn't played UConn yet. At 5-6, 12-12 and having to travel there...they may want to cancel the flight. 

The AAC Tournament shouldn't be a real test either. As a #1 seed, UConn and the other top three get a first round bye in the 11 team format that'll be held at Mohegan Sun (Uconn's second home away from home besides the XL Center).
They would face the winner of the #8 vs. #9 seeded opening day game. As of today that looks like SMU vs. Tulsa. After that, a semifinal contest against the #4 vs #5 winner (either Cincy or UCF currently). And so on to the finals. 

We see them still undefeated going into the NCAA Tournament and Bridgeport (their third home away from home) as the #1 overall seed. Who could beat them in the NCAA? Let's look at four schools. 

Some early projections (which we don't like) have Louisville headed to Bridgeport a #4 seed. The two could hook up in the regional semifinal if things work out. Others have the Cards going to Stockton, CA after a couple of games at the YUM! Center. This could lead to a Final Four matchup between the two. In either scenario, we don't see Louisville ready for the upset yet. 

Yet...Ask us again next year. 

Mississippi State has been playing great basketball and is ranked #3 in the nation currently. If that holds and they are the third #1 seed, it would mean a final game scenario for the Rebs and Huskies. Mississippi State is good. Very good. Not UConn good, though. 

Maryland holds the #2 ranking in the college basketball polls currently. They faced UConn early in the season and lost by six. They also faced Louisville and won by six. Could they get any closer to the Huskies in Dallas? We just don't see it. 

Washington. I toss the Huskies in here because of two intriguing players and a #9 national ranking. I'm guessing the NCAA Committee might let the Huskies stay out west for a march to the Final Four. That helps. They've lost at Notre Dame by 11, at Oregon State by 3 and hosting Stanford by 4. They have national leading scorer Kelsey Plum and sensation Chantel Osahor. They probably can't beat UConn either...but it would be a fun game to watch and I'll give the Huskies my "long-shot chance" at getting to the Final Four. 

Florida State. They came awfully close to beating UConn without Leticia Romero early in the season. They're #4 or #7 in the national current...that double-overtime loss to Texas was a setback and just plain bizarre. They'll have a tough ACC Conference end to the regular season and ACC tournament to to contend with before the NCAA On a neutral court with "Shak" and Romero. We give them the best possible shot at taking the Huskies to the kennel. 


So, do I think anyone can beat UConn this season? 

Sure. Anything is possible.

Do I think anyone will beat UConn? 



That doesn't mean it's time to stop watching NCAA WBB, though. March madness is two weeks away. So many good games, conference and NCAA Tournament possible match-ups and scenarios. It's the most wonderful time of the year...if you're a women's college hoops fan. 

Anything can happen. Just a few years ago, a certain Baylor squad was being crowned as a definite Final Four participant and probable national champion. An Easter Sunday match-up against Louisville burst that bubble. 

It's why they play the games. It's why we want to watch. 



As the ACC regular season heads to the final few games before Tournament play, the Cards scenario for getting a double-round bye is pretty much this...keeping winning and hope for some huge upsets. 

Florida State and Notre Dame are posed for a season-ending match-up to determine who will be the first and second seed on Sunday, Feb. 26th. The #3 and #4 seeds are currently Duke and NC State. Louisville needs one of those two to lose two of their final three games to sneak into a #4 seed. 

Duke ends with games at Wake Forest, hosting Miami and at North Carolina. They appear to be the prime candidate of the two that could drop a couple. 

Wake Forest did suffer a 71-43 loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium at the end of January. Duke and Miami haven't met yet and Duke did get a 70-58 win over the Tar Heels in Cameron on Jan. 12th. could the Blue Devils fall twice? They are on a five-game ACC win streak. Only Notre Dame, Florida State and NC State have hung conference losses on the Blue Devils and all of those were on the road for Rebecca Greenwell's bunch. 

NC State has four more games. They go to Boston College, host Wake Forest and North Carolina and end the regular slate at Virginia. They won at Wake Forest 65-50 on Jan. 8th. lost at UNC 83-70 at the end of January and haven't faced the other two yet. Here's hoping UNC can produce a sweep and one of the other three can pull an upset. 

So...if the Cards were to end up as a #5 seed, they would face the winner of the #12 vs. #13 seed game. That's a Thursday 11 a.m. game.  

As of now, that would be Virginia Tech against Pittsburgh...but it's way too early to sort that out...with six teams within one game of each other in the conference standings in the #10 thru #15 slots.  

In all fairness, we should mention that Syracuse is also at 9-4. If they win out also, they would lose the tie-breaker to Louisville for #5 and be the probable #6 seed. Miami is 8-5 in conference and needs a miracle to reach the top four. 

Of course, anything is possible. Wake Forest, Virginia and Virginia Tech need to catch on fire and probably win out and go deep in the ACC Tournament is they want to play in the Big Dance. Right now, we see seven ACC teams as probables for the ACC Tournament. That, of course can change. 

We'd like to see Louisville as that #4 seed...getting that extra day of rest.

Two weeks of shifting fortunes, potential upsets, buzzer-beaters and major match-ups before the 15 teams convene in Conway. 

Sit down, buckle-up, grab hold and get ready. 27 left to play before tournament time. 



  1. Yes,I think the NC STATE wolf pack could they have a senior point guard she's a gamer.

    1. NC St. did beat FSU and Notre Dame. Their loss to UNC is a mystery. Losses to Miami and Syracuse understandable and both of them will be NCAA Tourney teams. Non conference losses to Kansas St. and LSU in the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands early on can be rationalized as well. Early season. Losing at Tulane is interesting. Spencer, Mathurin, Nelson, Williams and Wilson give them a very solid attack and I expect they'll be a challenge to whoever is unlucky enough to get them in the first and second rounds in the Big Dance, Paulie.

      I think the PAC 12 could have some impact as well in the Big Dance. Washington, Stanford, Oregon State, Oregon, UCLA, Cal and USC have shots at getting bids. I wouldn't want to face any of them in the first or second rounds. Who beats UConn? I'll take a shot and say Maryland. The Deb Factor

    2. FSU can if they get decent refs. That crew when they played Texas was pitiful.

    3. Arizona St. is no joke this year. I would put them in before Cal or USC.

    4. I think if Taylor or BJ steps up big time in the scoring department,Would give the cards a fourth scorer.
      If the cards want to make it to the Elite Eight this year.
      Next year's cardinals team will have Arica Carter back playing point,and a under study Dana Evans backing her up.
      If you have four makers it hard to stop a team from scoring.
      The bottom line is the cards need another maker ......Maryia, Myisha & Asia.Who will step up BJ or Taylor.PS don't count on freshman unless its Pervis Ellison.Lol Go cards.

    5. MAybe MLW but I go with Kylee Shook as that fourth scorer. She just needs to tighten up the defense to get more playing time.

      Having had back spasms in the past, I honestly hope BJ can beat them but one bad movement or tweak and you are in a world of pain. As much as BJ flies around the court, I don't see a good prognosis here but I hope I am wrong.

      Blue Lou

    6. I like Kylee game blue Lou, but she's a freshman.

  2. Kelsey Plum could be UofL Volleyball's Lyndsay Palmer's sister. I don't think any of the PAC 12 will see the Elite Eight.


  3. I agree Paulie Pack 12 is week IMHO.
    They Only have one team Washington state.

  4. Paulie, don't count the USF Bulls out as a team that might surprise UConn. I know the beating that UConn put on them in Connecticut was embarrassing and painful but it was a night when nothing seemed to work.

    Beware the "four foreigners" as I like to call them. Laska (Lativa), Jespersen (Denmark), Pujol (Spain) and Flores (Spain) are all qualtiy and experienced players. Jose has nine internationals on his 15 player squad and what they do on "team dinner night" is anyone's guess but I like this team and have seen several of their home games this year, including when Louisville visited. I'll go watch them play Temple and UConn in the SunDome also.

    Also, a bit of sad news. Delores' mom passed away Sunday. She was 73 and had been in good health until January. She caught pneumonia and just couldn't beat it.

    -- The Real Joe Hill --

    1. Thoughts and prayers with you, Delores and the family...Joe. I think I met her (Carla, right?) just once but I remember her as a bright and vibrant woman. Was she still in Arizona with her sister?


  5. Side bar topic if jonesy sticks around next year she'll be a strong junior coming off the bench providing additional scoring punch.

  6. Don't tell the Oregon Ducks freshman can't play. Ionescue has four TRIPLE doubles and two other freshman are making big contributions and only getting better every game. One reason Maryland is having more success than the Cards this year is how quickly they filled the hole at pg with the freshman Slocum whern Lexie Brown left Last year you knew MD couldn't get to the final four because they had no pg. When you get freshman like Ionescue and Slocum that improve your team right away you are really fortunate.

    1. Ionescue has had an incredible freshman year. As is Slocum. In the ACC, Francesca Pan looks to be the Rookie of the Year so far. Joining her on a freshman all-ACC team would have to be Jackie Young (ND), Georgia Pineau (BC), Jasmine Whitney (Pitt), Gabby Cooper (Syracuse) and the Cards Kylee Shook


  7. The big picture cards strong @ the 2,3 & 4 in terms of scoring.Next year get better @ the 1 & 5 IMHO.

    1. Look @ uconn four players scoring hard to stop big basket after big basket hard to stop.
      Uconn start five players capable of scoring.

  8. Nope. I think SC was better equipped to beat UConn this year than previous years, but couldn't get it done. An intriguing team to me is Miss. St. Solid PG play in William. A legit scorer that can get you 30 plus easily in Vivians. Dillingham is a good defender and has been scoring better lately. And Vic Shaffer has championship pedigree as an assistant on the Texas A&M team that won it in 2011. Not saying they can beat UConn, but I think they're the best team that no one has been really talking about all season


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