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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Louisville women's basketball -- Last minute change meant everything -- Carfds and Irish tonight -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COJUPLE


Many of us remember where we were when 911 happened. For me, it was a Walgreens.

I was working at the time and had just finished a sales call to a restaurant in Prospect, KY.  It was a few minutes before my next appointment was scheduled and I had discovered earlier in the morning that I was out of shaving gel. My job at the time stressed that I have a "clean and well-groomed look" (a lot different than the guidelines for being the editor/owner of an Internet website...I might add) so I used the few minutes break to pop into the store and pick up my preferred whisker-removing gel.

Something was different when I walked in, though. This was back in the days when you could still get channels on TV with an antenna and without Hulu, Dish, Direct TV, Spectrum or Bill and Ted's Excellent Subscriber Service...and several people were gathered around a small TV in the cosmetics department. A plane, off track, had crashed into one of the Twin Towers in New York. I watched in horror as a second one hit the South Tower. As the events of the day unfolded, I went about my business in an almost surreal state of mind. Who? Why? What reason? Thoughts that crossed my, and many others, minds. 

Muffet McGraw remembers it differently. She was recruiting, what college coaches spend a substantial amount of time doing. She was in the New England area with her assistant coach Kevin McGuff (now the head coach at Ohio State). She had originally planned to fly out of Boston on Tuesday morning. A flight on United Flight 175. McGuff mentioned that he's flying out of Providence to get back to Chicago. Why doesn't she join him on that flight instead of him having to drive her to Boston, through traffic to get her to her flight? 

"He was pretty stubborn." McGraw says of McGuff. "Had it been another assistant, I would have gotten on Flight 175.

She resists. The Boston flight is a little more convenient for her. McGuff is persistent. Finally, she gives in and cancels her seat on Flight 175. They also run into Notre Dame's men's coach Mike Brey in Providence. They are waiting to fly when the tragedy strikes. 

Flights are grounded. They get one of the last cars at a rental station and decide to drive back to campus. As they listen to the events on the car radio they hear something about Flight 175. At 9:03 a.m. the plane crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

Has anything in your life been changed that ultimately preserved your life? Has a decision you've made ultimately been one that allows you to keep making decisions? For many of us, the answer is "no". I had a friend years ago that was a Vietnam vet. I've lost track of him over the years...but he used to tell a story of action in a combat zone where he and two fellow platoon-members were ambushed by a Viet-Cong scouting party. With bullets racing all around him, he saw the other two soldiers die. He scrambled for cover, exchanged salvos in a fire-fight and then got bailed out when grenades from other platoon members eliminated the threat. 

"I was five, maybe ten seconds from going to meet the man upstairs." Words he used to tell, maybe paraphrazed by me (it's been a few years and my mind isn't as sharp as it used to be). Then, they were gone. Life and death. Just like that. Maybe I'm still here for a greater good, greater purpose. Or maybe, I just got lucky." 

Life can be like that. A second here, two minutes here and maybe the fate of what we are and know changes. 

MCGraw is an enigma when it comes to coaching. Her success is coupled with her high- heel stilettos, Leopard-print skirts and exotic neck wraps.  She can be fiercely intense one moment and then adopt a serene and calm court-side manner the next.  She questions the game that she survived to coach. Cheating in the women's ranks? Yes, according to her.  

“Clearly, we don’t have that kind of money (involved),” McGraw said in a release by the ND Insider, “and that’s probably why we’re not having the same problem, but there’s still cheating going on, and maybe this is a wake-up call to clean that up.”
“I don’t think it’s surprising to anyone,” McGraw continued. “I think there have been rumors for years about players being paid. It’s really disappointing to know. Our jobs as coaches are first and foremost as educators and second to be role models. We’re supposed to be teaching them about accountability and how to live your life, and to see what’s going on in men’s basketball, it’s a travesty.”

She can be rough on players. Elizabethtown, KY's Erin Boley left the program abruptly to transfer to Oregon. A lot of things were said about campus conditions and style of life involving that move. 

Frank the Wonder Mule says Cards by four.
Who are we to argue with a wonder mule? 
She comes to Louisville tonight with her #2 ranked Notre Dame WBB squad as a survivor. Owing her life to a stubborn assistant coach, in part. Unafraid of what lies ahead because, basically, she cheated the hangman. She got a second chance. She is a survivor. 

Notre Dame and Louisville should be a whale of a contest tonight and we'll break down a few things about the #2 vs. #3 below. An even bigger battle happened 16 years ago, though, that McGraw if the Irish win or lose tonight, you can assume that she'll be happy to just be a part of it, regardless the outcome. 

She, through fate and blind circumstance, carries on. 



No soup for you, Irish! 
The Louisville women's basketball team has been like a great but not quite complete grand dining repast at times this season. The soup and salad were out of this world, to start the feast. The entree slightly less appealing but still worthy of consuming. And, to end the dining, the dessert was a total flop. Overall, the meal was a success but it ended on a shaky note. 

Just win, baby. It's perhaps Al Davis's most notable quote in a career that spanned almost 40 years before his passing in 2011.  No one wants to hear about the labor pains, they just want to see the newborn baby. The WBB squad has attempted 18 chances to get the "W" and all eighteen have turned out successfully. 

I'd like to see the Cards finish tonight with the same intensity they start the game with. I endured the "Myisha Miracles" in Atlanta and Raleigh and would prefer that the Cards come up with another scenario to get to 19-0. 

What it means is all 10 Cardinals buying in to the game plan and the action whether they're on the court or watching from the sidelines. If Walz shortens up the substitution pattern tonight, so be long as the play is crisp, clean and relatively free of clutter. In other words, close the bakery. Let someone else produce the turnovers. 

Forty minutes of doing work. Of smart decisions and clear thinking. It should be a great battle and I can hardly wait for the orange orb to go skyward and the crowd noise to swell. The stage is set, on a national platform. Be the show stoppers, Cards. 

Jeff Walz addressed the media yesterday. So did Asia Durr. Their comments below: 



A major upset and "must-have" win last night in Tallahassee for the Louisville men's team over Florida State 73-69. An end to FSU's 28-game win streak in home games. If you contemplated turning this one off (as I did) at the half, when the Cards were on the edge of the precipice and about to fall into the abyss...trailing by 13...congratulations for sticking around. 

How huge was Ryan McMahon in this one? Three second-half threes, including one with 59 seconds that gave the Cards an insurmountable 71-66 lead. Ray Spalding and Deng Adel stepping up big in the final twenty. 

This has been "the schedule from hell" for the Cards with seven straight games played or upcoming against ranked teams. A win in front of the home crowd coming this Saturday at 4 p.m. against Virginia Tech looms equally as important...but, for now, the Cards can celebrate their biggest win of the season. They went out and got it in the most dire circumstances and conditions you can imagine. Who has heart? Those guys in black and red do, that's who. 

It's a 40-minute game. You play until the final buzzer. Perhaps motivation in this one to spur the WBB team to make it consecutive nights of "W" accomplishments for the Louisville basketball programs. 

I hope the Cardinal fans who have been overly critical about this team, this coach and this season will stop, take a second look and realize that the heart is still beating...that there are players galore on this team that still want to win and the season is NOT over. 

You take them one at a time. You stay behind your team, your school...if you are a true fan, through thick and thin. Through good times and bad times. 

Just another season in the ACC, right? 


(Parts of today's article were previously posted in USA Today and ND Insider.)


  1. Good Morning Cards Couple
    A big shoutout to the MBB TEAM a come from behind win, that was a hell of a game.Coach Padgett earning his stripes big time.
    I'm ready for tonights game this game could determine the ACC Conference Championship.
    AC & Jaz let rock!
    Go Lady Cards!
    No soup for you! MLW ha ha lol lol.

  2. The Bird Lady1/11/2018 9:49 AM

    Can't wait. Doors open at 5:30 and not sure they were able to get extra staff scheduled at late notice so get there early to get through security. Wear Red!

    My biggest concern is will my voice recover from all the screaming for the radio show on Saturday. PS - I pity Nancy and her son and daughter that sit in front of me. Their ears might never recover

  3. What a wonderful article today Paulie. I never knew that about Muffet McGraw. Despite my intense dislike for her and all that is Notre Dame, it's a touching and remarkable story about how a decision changed a life. I'll never look at her in the same way again. I do hope the Cards win tonight, but Muffet is the real winner here. Incredible stuff. Thank you for sharing.

    Curtis "Life Can Go By So Fast" Franklin

    1. Agreed. I must have heard this story before but not the way Paulie just told it. Well Played.

  4. Hey, just a quick update. David Watson's wife reports that he has been admitted to the hospital yesterday with pneumonia. Hopefully, he'll get this thing beat. Keep him in your thoughts.

    -- The Real Joe Hill --

    1. Been a rough stretch for Dave-O. First the flu before Xmas, I saw him at the Bowl Game and he looked pale and was having coughing fits and the cold Florida weather that day probably didn't help. His wife is an LPN though, and finally got him to go to the hospital. A talk just a few minutes ago with his oldest daughter Abby who indicates a massive dose of antibiotics, intravenous fluids and breathing treatment are already underway. He, according to her, fully plans on watching the game tonight from his hospital bed.

      Feel better, Dave-O.


    2. Been there with pneumonia...not something to screw around with. Sending positive thoughts Dave's way. Get Better.

  5. Bill and Ted's Excellent Subscriber Service? You kill me sometimes, Paulie.

    "It's totally awesome, dude"
    "No way!"
    "Wyld Stallions on from noon til nine!"
    "It's bogus!"

    Go Cards Go and feel better Dave-O.

    Blue Lou

    1. I'm now waiting for the "Dude, Where's My Car" Sequel...

  6. The Bird Lady1/11/2018 2:36 PM

    Healing vibes to Dave O.

  7. Listening to Asia on the presser, she has a calm and a self assured manner that makes you feel everything is going to be all right and the pressure isnt getting to her. She wants to go out and have fun. To play in a game of this magnitude.

    From Walz, it's the same ol' stuff over and over again (from the radio show, from the win over Va. Tech, Howie's show about Sam and the rest.) That tells me that he's focused on the fight ahead and just doing the media stuff to promote the event.

    I hope ticket sales were good today. We need it full in there tonight. 12,000+

    i'll be At the door @ 5:30. With my lucky shirt on and my GF, who is 5-0 in Card games.

    Nick O

  8. Go Cards,great win over the Irish all I can say is hey nineteen. The lady cards are 19-0 wow!
    Sorry Paulie I had to use that phrase.

    1. As will we in Jeff's article...MLW.

      An unbelievable effort


  9. Good morning Paulie and friends.....



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