#2 VS. #3
The Huskies, you see, have no problems driving. Or hitting threes, playing defense or scoring points. They, like the WBB Cards, have just one loss on the season -- a stumble at Baylor back on Jan 3rd -- 68-57. Back on Jan. 3rd, Louisville was still undefeated, having turned away North Carolina 73-68. The Cards only loss would come a week later, at South Bend when Notre Dame upped Louisville 82-68. North Carolina must have learned something from the UofL loss, they knocked off Notre Dame earlier this week in Chapel Hill. The Irish are the only common opponent the two teams have in common this season, Connecticut going to Notre Dame and winning 82-68.
|Geno back way back when|
Geno knows a thing or two about the Louisville squad. He's 16-1 against them lifetime, his only loss coming back on 3-17-93 to a Bud Childers coached Cardinal squad 74-71 in the NCAA Mideast Regional first round at Iowa City. Bud left Louisville a few years later to take the head coaching job at James Madison (back then they were a better program than Louisville) and then WInthrop before retiring and becoming a successful franchise owner of several Sports Clips hair cutting franchises.
|Caption this picture if you want...|
Geno's streak of win against UofL is impressive but consider that he's 24-0 lifetime against West Virginia, 47-2 against Seton Hall, 43-3 vs. Georgetown and 19-0 over Cincinnati. Who has won the most games against Geno? Let's circle back to Notre Dame, where Muffet McGraw has 12 wins and 36 losses against the Huskies.
|"Hey, is that Coach Walz coming to watch us practice?"|
Walz knows the prime time opportunity ahead of him tonight comes down to one main thing. Scoring. Putting the ball in the bucket. Knowing your role and carrying it out.
Trying to out-coach the legendary Geno. Not getting blown out early, like last year.
What does Coach Walz think about tonight? Here's his presser from yesterday:
LINK: WALZ PRESSER 1/30/19
(WBB SID Nick Evans "calls me out" at the very end about my game and Coach points out to me that. "Shooters, shoot"...Hey, I wasn't called the "Fern Creek Force" for nothing.")
BUT WHAT ABOUT TONIGHT, PAULIE?
Connecticut is 18-1 and has outscored their opponents by an average of 31.4 points (80.1 to 48.7) in seven ACC games. Overall they hold a +28.5 edge in scoring in their 19 games (81.9 to 53.4).
Five Huskies are double digit point producers. Katie Lou Samuelson leads the way with 18.8 a night. The senior also tops UConn with 49 made threes on 137 attempts (36%). Napheesa Collier isn't far behind her with 18.6 points per outing and gets to the charity stripe more than any other Husky, (62-89), for 70%. Both Megan Walker and Crystal Dangerfield have been good for 12.9 a contest. Dangerfield is deadly from the free throw line, 31-33 (94%). Freshman Christyn Williams completes the double-digit points providers with 11.1 an event and sees about 34 minutes a game on the court.
The Huskies starting lineup is basically a five-guard attack with Collier the "big" in the middle at 6'2". All of them are perfectly capable of getting the ball up the court and leading the fast break. Samuelson is 6'3" but more guard-than-paint-oriented.
Another freshman, Olivia Odoba-Nelson, has seen action in all 19 games and plays an average of 10 minute a game. After that, the Irish have four "benchers" who come in to do clean-up in blowout games, all five could probably go elsewhere and be starters...Batouly Camara, Kyla Irwin, Molly Bent and Mikayla Coombs.
Sophomore Lexi Gordon announced last month she was going to transfer and will toil for Texas Tech next season.
Five UConn numbers:
Biggest win -- 56 ( vs.St. Louis)
Most Points Scored -- 99 (vs. Seton Hall)
Best Quarter -- 1st, where they outscore opponents 446-251
Turnovers -- The Huskies force 16.1 a night and commit just 11.6
Games in the 90's -- (5) against Ole Miss (90), DePaul (99), St. Louis (98), Seton Hall (99) and UCF (93)
SO...WHO WILL WIN?
Why, the team who scores the most points, that's who!! (One of Walz's favorite answers when he's asked that question).
Ball control is going to be a key tonight. How do you do when you have it, can you limit turnovers and steals, are you able to work it effectively and get open, not forced, shots?
Are you able to play the shutdown defense and how will you do on second chance opportunities?
The Cards have nothing to lose tonight. Time to "go for it" on fourth down, swing for the fence, pull the goalie and serve the ace.
Most pundits and predictors are picking UConn to win. It's not a conference game. It won't affect the ranking or NCAA Tournament seeding that much. Louisville has been shutting down ACC offenses in the last five games, yes, but UConn is a horse of a different color. UofL has arguably the best player in NCAA Division I women's college basketball in "Nite-nite". She'll meet two other contenders for that crown in Samuelson and Collier.
The Huskies are 93-0 in the AAC since joining the league. 108-0 if your toss in tournament play. They won't face a larger, crazier, louder and enthused fan base on the road the rest of the season than they will tonight. How will they handle it?
ESPN comes in with their "A" team. Amin, Lobo, Lawson...with Holly Rowe running the sidelines (dressed in blue, whatcha wanna bet?)
I hope the Cards come out, shake the nerves and just have some fun in a great Thursday night matchup between two great teams. Two teams who were shocked in the Final Four last year. Two teams bent on returning to that "foursome" this year in Tampa.
I hope "the AC is 'on'", Asia is "Durrific" and "JJ Airlines" is running on schedule and packed with passengers. I hope Sam is a chairwoman of the boards and Kylee, "B" and Dana are representing their "A" games. What role will "Kasa" play. Does Lindsey get a chance to bomb threes?
It's four probable WNBA players in Durr, Carter, Samuelson and Collier. It's two of the best coaches in the women's game.
It's gonna be wild. The "intro" should be crazy. Make sure you're there early to catch it. Bring your "outside" voice.
Let's go 81-79. Cards. In a thriller. That's the pick. Be there, so you can tell your grand-kids and co-workers you were there "that night". Get there early, it could be a crowd of 16,000 plus. Feel free to leave your prediction in our comments section.
|Probably won't be there tonight...|
Then, again, it's Jared's write up. Who knows what he'll touch on. His spontaneous viewpoints are a favorite here at the Chimp ranch.
We also invite you to join us Saturday. 11 a.m. for the "not ready for drive time" radio broadcast of The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. Jeff Walz (well, at least his bobblehead) will be in studio with a selectively picked group of audio talent. WCHQ 100.9 FM and Facebook Live.
The Cards try to match steps with UConn on the frantic treadmill of women's college basketball tonight. Let's lace 'em up, climb aboard and get with it. Pulse and heart monitors optional.