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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

UofL WBB at #7 in ESPNW pre-season rankings -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


You know women's college basketball season is right around the corner when the preseason rankings start to roll in.

ESPNW came out Monday with their top 25 and Jeff Walz's Louisville Cardinals are the #8 team in the nation, according to the four-letter network's prognosticators.

The AP poll is expected out Wednesday. 

The Cards are tops of the ACC squads, and the only ACC school in the top 10 with the ranking, which lists (5) of the conference's squads in the top 25. 

Florida State checked in at #11, Wes Moore's North Carolina State Wolfpack grabbed the #13 spot, Notre Dame at #16, despite losing all five starters from last year and Miami, who returns ACC pre-season player of the year Beatrice Mompremier, grabs #18. 

So...who does Charlie Creme, Graham Hays and Mechelle Voepel...the brain-trust behind the ESPNW rankings put before the Cards?  Here's their top 10...

1) Oregon
2) Baylor
3) UConn
4) Stanford
5) Maryland
6) Oregon State 
8) South Carolina 
9) Texas A&M
10) Mississippi State

The Cards in-State rival Kentucky is ranked #14 and one of (6) SEC teams in the top 25, along with #8 South Carolina, #9 Mississippi State, #10 Texas A&M, #20 Arkansas and #25 Tennessee. Both the ACC and PAC 12 have (5) schools in the top 25. The Big 10 has four schools listed, the Big 12 two and there is one representative each from the AAC, Big East and MVC. 

Just a couple of observations here. First, we see the same stuff each year about how strong the SEC is. I see the conference as more of a dogfight this year. And, how many SEC teams were in the Final Four last year? Second, what is the fascination and love affair with West Coast basketball? Oregon at #1? I just don't see it, even if Sabrina Ionescu did decide to return instead of opting for the WNBA. Stanford continually disappoints each year and they're #4? 

The rest of the top 25: 

#11 Florida State
#12 UCLA
#13 North Carolina St. 
#14 Kentucky
#15 Texas
#16 Notre Dame
#17 Minnesota
#18 Miami
#19 Arizona
#20 Arkansas
#21 DePaul
#22 Drake
#23 Michigan
#24 Indiana
#25 Tennessee

What does it all mean? 

Jeff Walz would most likely tell you that he doesn't pay much attention to pre-season rankings...that where you finish is much more important. The PAC 12 is getting a lot of love from ESPNW, with three of the top six schools in the rankings. But, it's all speculation right now. Is Tennessee really #25, with a new coach and only two of their top six scorers from last year back?

I also think the women's college basketball nation as a whole is seeing Louisville in terms of losing three starters who were WNBA draft picks and not realizing that Walz has much more talent on this year's squad than "Liz and E" from Georgia Tech and Dana and Jaz from last year. 

I am also surprised that Syracuse didn't make the top 25 ESPNW list. "Q" has a strong squad returning and has been predicted to finish sixth in the ACC. I think the Orange could handle IU (#24), Michigan (#23) or the Vols any day of the week at any venue. 

The pre-season stuff is all very nice in terms of giving women's college basketball fans something to either point to with pride or scratch their heads and claim foul about.

Three of last year's Final Four squads...Baylor, Oregon, UConn...are in the top six in the 2019-20 ESPNW pre-season poll and the fourth participant (Notre Dame) maybe over-ranked at #16. 

Oregon State is another mystery to me. They lost in the Sweet 16 last year, but are #6 in the ESPNW poll. Once again, we're hearing how Scott Rueck has a wealth of talent. I'm going to wait to see it. Another horse that's getting bet way-too-heavily before the race starts.

I'll look with a small bit of interest on how the AP lists their pre-season top 25. How do you think it might compare with the ESPNW grouping? We'll wipe the cobwebs off our comment section and encourage you to share your thoughts. 

Jeff Walz and the Cards hold their annual Media Day tomorrow and we'll see if Coach dwells on either poll very much. I'm guessing he won't. And there is the UofL WBB Tipoff Luncheon Friday. Two more signs that women's college basketball is at the starting gate.  

The big question is whether Walz's wife Lauren can pick out an outfit for him that can top last year's? 

We'll have comments and such from both Wednesday and Friday's activities here for you at Cardinal Couple. 



  1. Hearing that things didn't go as planned in St. Louis for WBB. Anything you can share, Paulie?

    Nick O.

    1. As is past years, the WBB program and coaches do not normally give out any details about these pre-season scrimmages.

      I can tell you that they played in St. Louis on Saturday, faced UCLA and I didn't attend.

      Other than that, I'm Sgt. Schultz and "know nothing"


  2. Historically UL finishes the year higher ranked than they start so I will take a 7th place ranking in pre-season.


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