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Saturday, December 8, 2018

A Statistical Look Nine Games In -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

How is Louisville Women's Basketball Doing So Far?

With a bit of a lull in the early winter schedule, it has been great timing for Louisville to be taking on Kentucky in women's basketball. Here on Cardinal Couple we've been bringing you seemingly non-stop previews of tomorrow's game, and I'm going to do a bit of that myself.

I'd like to look at how Louisville looks from a statistical standpoint so far this season, and then project how that might look against the Kentucky squad they'll face on Sunday. If you'll indulge me, we'll look at the season long FRED and CASE Reports to this point and then compare those season stats to the Wildcats and see what we see.

The FRED Report

F-Free Throws: On the season, Louisville has taken 16.3 free throws per game. They're not getting to the line an outstanding amount so far this season, but they are making 77.4% of those shots. 147 of their 781 total points (or 18.8%) have come from the line. On a per game basis, that would be 14.5% of their points. Louisville needs to continue to get to the line and make the free ones to succeed this season. They are scoring otherwise, but if you do not continue to make free throws, teams will prevent you from scoring by just fouling. For the record, that 77.4% puts them at a capital F.

Kentucky is getting to the foul line 16.8 times per game and only allows opponents 9.3. Louisville allows 12.7. The Cards will have to force Kentucky to foul, while also avoiding fouls themselves. This game could come down to free throws late, and it may finish with a very close overall foul/free throw number.

R-Rebounds: Louisville is averaging only 38.6 rebounds per game, which is good for 6 better than their opponents. Ideally, those numbers would be much higher. When you look at the offensive rebounds on the season, Louisville and their opponents are tied at 112. While Louisville has been making more shots this year, which would drive that offensive number down, their opponents haven't. This means that the Cards are giving up far too many second chance opportunities. For outrebounding the opponents, there has to be some credit given, but the Cards have got to clamp down on the defensive end and prevent second chance points. Lowercase r.

Kentucky, on the other hand, is being outrebounded on the year. They're only pulling down 36.7, which is a stat that Louisville can really exploit. They have grabbed 136 offensive rebounds, which is more than Louisville, but they're getting hammered defensively. This will come down to a battle of positioning, and the Cards will need to win it to prevent easy points.

E-Effort/Execution: Louisville has been all over the court this year, scoring 100+ on three separate occasions. The Cards have turned the ball over more times than would be preferred, but they still have a positive turnover margin. They're scoring 50% of their field goals, getting to the line more often than their opponents, outrebounding, and scoring more points off of turnovers. They're fouling at about an even rate, but still doing pretty well overall. And they're 9-0. I'd have to grant them a capital E for their efforts so far this year.

Kentucky has also been strong. They're not shooting as well, just 40%, but they're turning the ball over far less than their opponents, getting to the line a lot, and obviously scoring more off of turnovers.They're drawing a lot of fouls and they too are 9-0. Both teams will be hard at work tomorrow.

D-Defense: Louisville has been very strong on defense so far this year. Their average margin of
victory is 24 points. They're out-rebounding, out-blocking, and out-stealing their opponents. They've forced more turnovers and they're holding opponents to only 38% shooting from the floor and 29.6% shooting from behind the arc. I would say that is good enough for a captial D.

Kentucky is not blocking well and we've talked about the rebounds, but they are stealing the ball a ton and they're outscoring opponents about as well as Louisville. They're only allowing 38.8% shooting as well and only 31.3% from the arc. Both teams will be playing top notch defense and we'll see who bends and who breaks.

The CASE Report

C-Care: Louisville has turned over the ball 146 times on the season, compared to 183 for their opponents. That looks like a pretty big gap, but the per game margin is only 4.1. Looking at the opponent averages, you would expect Louisville's opponents to have forced 159.1 turnovers through their games. Louisville is still below that, but they're nowhere near the 70% number I'm looking for. That would be a lowercase c.

Kentucky has turned the ball over fewer than half of the times of their opponents and they're in the top five in turnovers forced per game. Louisville will have to be more cautious with the ball.

A-Assists: On 281 made baskets this year, Louisville has 168 assists. That's up near 60%, which I find very good. Assists lead to higher percentage shots. Higher percentage shots lead to more points, which usually lead to wins. However, their season-long assist-to-turnover ratio is only 1.2. That low ratio indicates that Louisville is throwing the ball away or failing to make the extra pass when they should at about the same rate as they're earning assists. That's still good for a lowercase a.

Kentucky is not a fantastic assisting team. They've got 128 on 246 made baskets, which is still better than 50% but not by much. Their assist-to-turnover ratio is only 1.1, so that's somewhere the teams are similar. If Louisville can avoid Kentucky's defensive pressure and prevent turnovers, they could take advantage of this matchup.

S-Steals: With 97 steals on the season compared to only 65 for the opponents, Louisville is achieving both benchmarks in steals. Their benchmark would be 67.5, so they're actually holding their opponents under that number as well.

Kentucky has a lot of steals. They average 14 per game, which is 4 more than Louisville. This is part of the reason that their forced turnovers are so high. I can't stress enough how important Louisville's guard play will be in this matchup. Capital S

E-Efficiency: The Cards are shooting better than 50% from the floor, 40% from three, and 77% from the stripe. The ball is finding the bottom of the net, which is what we expected from them this year. A lot of those are coming from jump shots, too, which means there is still room to find players inside and out on offense. Jeff Walz's offensive playbook is wide open with how Louisville has been playing so far. Look for the Cards offense to continue to drive this team as the season wears on.

Kentucky is shooting at 40/40/76, so pretty similar. They are not getting as many shots inside, which should be a benefit for Louisville, as they are good protectors of the rim and have pretty strong defensive guards.

Overall, the Cards are earning a F-r-E-D and c-a-S-E on the season. There is room for improvement, but Louisville is performing pretty well. On paper, tomorrow's game is pretty close. We will see if the homecourt advantage helps the Cards and which team will bring more energy. I'd expect a close game, but would love to see Louisville run away.

The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

I'm off of the air for the next few weeks as life gets in the way, but that doesn't mean Cardinal Couple
Radio Hour will stop. Jeff, Jared, and Paulie are joined in the studio by Daryl Foust this week, and they'll bring you the joy and excitement of Louisville women's athletics as always. Tune into WCHQ FM on 100.9 FM,, the WCHQ App, or on Facebook Live at 11AM.

I would suspect a whole lot of basketball will be talked about.

Until next time, Go Cards!


  1. Not sure what happened here, but when I went into site to add a few pictures, I found that comments had been disabled.

    Technology. Wow.


    1. I was wondering what was going on with the comments. Kept getting the disabled message. At least you figured it out.

      The key tomorrow is Louisville doing what it does best. Score. You score more points, you win. I look for Durr to have a huge game.

      Good radio today! I like that Daryl!

      My prediction for game: UofL 89 - UK 77

      Curtis "Score, score, score" Franklin

  2. From the show, game predictions:

    Paulie 78-73 UofL
    Daryl 79-63 UofL
    Jared 84-78 UofL
    Jeff 86-83 UofL

    Sonya weighed is, as well, after I got home.

    She says 55-49 UofL


  3. Hoping for the best of luck tomorrow for the Cards against Cats.

    I'll go with 67-58 UofL

    Any prize involved Paulie?

    -- The Real Joe Hill --

    1. Daggone infantry beat the fleet again (mumble, mumble)

      At first, I said there would not be any prize for closest score (on the radio) but, it is the Holiday season, so if you do the best in score prediction I'll come up with a Panera or Famous Dave's gift card.

      You'll need the winning team, obviously, and then we'll look at how close you got to the score and the final margin.

      Have at it here in the comments.


  4. Not gonna be that close. Cards 82, Cats 64.

  5. Oh, Cardinal fans. I hate to burst your red balloon but the final score will be Cats 77 - Cards 61.

    Matthew Mitchell For Governor

    1. Soooo...
      You coming to witness this beatdown personally?

  6. Paulie, had to laugh when you gave your prediction on the show. I had already thought that it would be Cards, 78-74. No prize needed as bragging rights would be sufficient.


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