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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Louisville women's basketball: The Calm Before the Storm -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Head Up the Road for Sweet Sixteen

As I sat down to write today's article, I fully intended to write some great preview for Louisville's next tournament matchup. See, by the time most of you are reading this, I'll be under the knife or in post-op after blowing out my Achilles tendon last week. Thus, I'm writing today's article on Monday evening. When opening up the women's tournament results to see who Louisville would be taking on next, I learned the opponent wouldn't be determined until a 9PM game. That was a hard pass for me and I was in bed long before the end of that game. Maybe you'll get more specifics tomorrow.

EDITOR NOTE: The Cards will face Stanford, a winner by 20 over FGCU. They'll play on Friday at Rupp Arena. Louisville has the second game which is scheduled to tip around 9 p.m.

All of us at CARDINAL COUPLE wish Case successful surgery and hope to have him back at the laptop and on THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR again real soon.

You can send our buddy your get well wishes to him via Twitter at @bstcasescenario or leave them in the comments section here. Be healed. We need the talent back.      -Paulie- 

Any other day, with two games scheduled for the upcoming weekend, we might even take a look at the next potential opponent. Not now. Not at this time of year. For now, there is only one game with which the Louisville women (and we fans) should be concerned. And it's a Sweet one.

Yesterday, Paulie gave you a great synopsis of Sunday's game against Marquette. It was a great game to watch; far more exciting than the first round matchup against Boise State. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen a few tweets from my couch. Again, I'm laid up. I didn't quite have the opportunity to make it down to the Yum! Center.

"Jeez, whaddya mean Meathead we gotta take Edith to Lexington?"
Louisville has been playing well so far in this tournament. The Cards had pressed on despite Asia Durr's struggles so far in this postseason, but didn't need to Sunday, as the Durr of old returned. Myisha Hines-Allen and Sam Fuehring continued to exert their dominance on the floor as Marquette had no answer inside. When it comes down to it in the postseason, how you are playing on any given day is all that matters. Asia Durr was back on Sunday, but the Cards will need her to continue to be back going forward. Myisha and Sam cannot sit back and admire their previous successes for any longer than a few hours. By the time practice rolls around today, they had better not even be thinking about Sunday's game, unless it's to find specific things that were done right or wrong in film.

Louisville had two strong wins in the opening weekend. The blowout of Boise State was to be expected, and the strong opening against Marquette was refreshing. More refreshing than the lead that the Cards opened up was that they maintained it, despite the strong efforts from Marquette. Louisville has struggled this season with holding onto a big lead, often riding a strong first quarter to a close win. Such was not the case Sunday. Marquette did their best to fight back from down 27, but were able to cut the deficit only to 17. Such resilience that was shown by the Cards will likely be needed as the tournament goes on, perhaps as early as Friday.

"We'll put the man in a wee chair and let him work from there!"
I think that the way a team plays in the opening weekend has a marked effect on their play as the tournament goes on. You're either hot or you're not, and there isn't a lot of practice time or game plan time to correct mistakes or exploit the opponents' weaknesses. Tournament time finds the true mettle of a team because it shows which teams can employ their strengths and overcome adversity as it arises. A good way to see how Louisville is doing right now is to take a look at an extended CASE Report from the weekend. The scoring might get a little wonky due to the multiple games issue, but we'll make it work. Any objections can be filed with the staff chimps in the usual manner.


A Brief "CASE" full of blues, for our buddy.
C - Care: In two games over the weekend, Louisville committed a combined 32 turnovers. I could stop right there and we could all agree that the Cards will have to take better care of the ball going forward if they want to continue their tournament run. Based on their averages, Louisville's opponents would have expected to force a combined 32.5 turnovers. Approximately 1 for 1 is far worse than the 60% we hope for. Louisville also had the same number or more turnovers in both games, so that's also not a great mark.
No letter.

A - Assists: Louisville had a great assisting day on Sunday, with 27 on 40 made baskets. Unfortunately, 15 turnovers kept them from a 2.0 ATO ratio, but they did get a 67.5% assist ratio. They went for an even 60% on Friday, with 18 assists on 30 made baskets, but struggled again with turnovers. Reaching the assist ratio benchmark will give them a small 'a' for the weekend.

S - Steals: Louisville's defense came out extremely active against Marquette. However, that activity and fervor didn't result in a lot of steals. The Cards finished with only 3 on Sunday. Combine that with 8 on Friday and they're well below the 15 steals they would have been expected to get in two games. Boise State and Marquette also combined for 13 steals, which leaves Louisville lacking in both benchmarks. No letter.

E - Efficiency: Louisville was extremely consistent on Friday, shooting 48.3% and 48.5% in the two halves. They followed that up with a huge 63.5% shooting game on Sunday. Noting that the Cards shot only 20% from 3 in the game against Boise makes that 48% look even better. On the weekend, Louisville was a combined 18-24 from the field, good for 75% on the button, so we'll go ahead and award an overall great shooting weekend with a capital 'E'.

The final tally for this combined CASE Report is _-a-_-E.

"Throw it to a girl in the SAME
colored uniform as yours! " 
In the two team oriented categories, assisting and efficient scoring, Louisville did well. In the comparative categories, turnovers and steals, the Cards struggled. While I said there isn't a lot of time for improvement during the postseason, this evaluation actually bodes well for the Cards. It is hard to improve on shooting or assisting this late in the game, but the other two categories are really outliers. Reducing turnovers and increasing steals will merely be a regression to the mean for this Cardinal team. The Cards look to be hot, and they'll hope to continue that up the road.

There are still a few days between now and Louisville's next game.  We do already know the location. We know the foe. The Cards will try to stake their claim at a trip to Columbus just an hour and a half up the road in Lexington. If you can, buy a ticket or two. Go support this team, because they're well worth it. I'll be cheering from home just as loud as I can.

Until next time, Go Cards.


  1. For those of you interested, the Women's Sweet Sixteen looks like:

    ACC- (4) Duke, Notre Dame, NC St. Louisville
    Pac 12 - (4) Oregon, Stanford, Oregon St, UCLA
    SEC - (3) South Carolina, MS State, Texas A&M
    MAC - (2) Cent. Mich, Buffalo
    Big 12 - (2) Texas, Baylor
    AAC - (1) UConn


  2. Ha, ha, ha !!! So Sorry, BIG10 and your exclusion. Bye, bye Oh-NO State, Missed-again, NO-braska, Io-NO-wa, Mary-loss and Minne-NO-ta.

    Try again next year, thanks for participating and go home now.

    Curtis "There's No 10 in tenacity" Franklin

    1. Highest odds to win in all? I'd say Central Michigan or Buffalo but who figured either would get this far?

    2. Highest odds Buffalo - would need to beat South Carolina and UConn to get to Final Four.

      Central Michigan has it "easy" - just need to beat Oregon and Notre

  3. So who's going to Lexington? Five of us are fired up and ready to go.

  4. The tickets are printed for the group of four of us going which includes Worldwide, aka chauffeur, aka Jeff McAdams.

    1. That Tesla drives itself. He can also double as steward and tour guide. Snacks, anyone?


  5. waiting on NCAA approval of credentials. If that fails (and hopefully it doesn't) I'll hop in the car and just be a fan.

    Sonya out of town for the weekend, so it'll be guy trip.


  6. Grrrr
    Late game? Really?
    #1 seed plays the second game?
    Only Louisville.
    ESPN has REALLY shown it's true colors, they do not like nor respect us.

  7. UCONN does get the second game, but the first game is at 11:30am.

    1. Walz not happy about it either, calling it a "turnover" by the NCAA. Only bright spot is people who get off work 5:30-6:00 can make the 9 in time for tip. The earlier start might have been close for them. It means, after post-game commits...I'll be headed back to Louisville well after midnight, probably. Don't care at all for that. No sir.


    2. If they were looking to kill a family atmosphere, they succeeded. We'll be there but, let's face it. The NCAA no longer cares about the casual ticket buyers. The money is in corporate-owned suites It is all about the revenue they get from what ESPN sells on commercials. We have become slave to the master. I fully expect TV's in front of seats in the YUM! by 2020. Charging stations for electrical devices and flat screen TV's in front of them will have more of a crowd than the actual arena.

      The game has changed. The Four-Letter network has changed it. What's next? College teams with sponsors? The Becker Law Office Louisville Cardinals? Kentucky Farm Bureau Wildcats? Revenue, all about the Benjamin's.

      They WANT you to stay home and watch it on a device. Look at what has happened to NASCAR. It's a new era, a new generation, a new philosophy and I, for one, am opposed to it.

      -- The Real Joe Hill --


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