Cards Open Conference Play Strong
After Thursday's victory, Louisville now sits at 13-1 (2-0) on the season. The sole loss remains the head-scratching effort against Ohio State, but there have been a couple of clunkers that the Cards have survived. Neither of those have come in conference play. Louisville looked unstoppable in the first half of play against Clemson, despite the effort tailing off a bit in the second. Against Syracuse, things weren't quite as dominant as we may hope for every Louisville game, but the Cards still got it done and looked mostly controlled for the fourth quarter. The Orange took a very brief lead late, but Louisville was able to turn that around quickly and hold onto the win.
Moving forward, Louisville will play a very interesting conference schedule. For the remainder of the regular season, the Cards will have no more than two consecutive games on the road or at home. This could prove to be very good for Louisville. No extended road trips helps to prevent road weariness, and no extended home stands could help to prevent the development of complacency before leaving home once more. It may seem like this will lead to additional travel, but between games that are more than two or three days apart, the team will usually return to Louisville anyway, so this should not increase the travel load significantly. Next up is Duke, at home, on Sunday.
Mid-Season CASE Report
There haven't been very many CASE Reports so far this year, and with every remaining regular season game being scheduled for a Thursday or Sunday, the CASE Report will continue to be sidelined. I figured now would be a good time to look at how the Cards have seemed collectively to this point in the season based on my made-up metrics. We can take another look at the end of the year to see if the Cards improved or declined and whether or not the metrics were indicative of success. This could get a bit weird because it's collective stats instead of game-by-game, but it should remain pretty straightforward for the most part.
C-Care: Care looks at Louisville's management of the basketball. We want to know that the Cards are turning it over fewer times than the opponent (which is easy to find out) and whether or not they far outperform the competition (which is a bit more complicated). The Cards have committed 209 turnovers so far this season, which is an average of 14.9 per game. That average isn't great, but the Cards are performing better than opponents who have 242 turnovers (17.3 per game). There's half a letter. Louisville's opponents have not been particularly adept at forcing turnovers, though. Only three opponents appear in the top 100 in that category, and their highest ranked opponent, Kentucky (13) is 50 spots higher than the next, WKU. Three opponents force fewer turnovers per game than Louisville's season average. Based on their season averages, Louisville opponents would be expected to force just 236.5 turnovers. The Cards are below that number, but have committed 88% of expected turnovers. We were looking for 65%. Lowercase 'c'.
A-Assists: Next we are looking for assist numbers. Anecdotally, Louisville has seemed decent at passing the ball. The high turnover rate will make it very challenging to get an uppercase letter here, though. We're looking for a 50% assist rate and 2.0 Assist-to-Turnover ratio. With 215 assists, we can't get the 2.0 ATO (Cards are at 1.03), but we do get just over the 50% assist rate. With 400 made baskets this season, Louisville is assisting on 53.8% of shots. Lowercase 'a'.
S-Steals: The most straightforward of the categories is steals. Jeff Walz plays a pretty aggressive brand of defense, so Louisville should achieve a benchmark of 7.5 per game and beat the opponent. The Cards have not excelled in this stat so far this season, with just 98 steals. That's only 6 more than the opponent at 92. It's also only 7 per game; we'd need 7 more to get the average up to the benchmark. Lowercase 's'.
E-Efficiency: How are the Cards shooting? We're looking for 45% from the floor and 75% from the line. The 400 made shots have come on 897 attempts, leading the Cards to miss the benchmark by just .4% (44.6%). That's fewer than ten missed shots difference. Close, but not quite there. The 34.6% shooting from three may be contributing, but just a few great shooting nights should put the Cards back on track. As for free throws, Louisville achieves the benchmark by nearly as close a margin by which they missed the field goal bench mark. 163-214 is good for 76.2% from the line. Despite seeming like a fairly low number, most teams aren't shooting well from the line this year. Louisville is 29th in the country and just 7.6% off of the leader, William and Mary. The Cards are just 4.5% behind second place Lipscomb. Lowercase 'e'.
And so the Cards have hit the midseason mark with a c-a-s-e. That feels correct. We have a lot of expectations for this team, and, outside of the win over Oregon, the Cards just haven't felt like they're playing their best basketball. With the conference season just getting underway, the Cards have a lot of games left to play against familiar teams. I'd expect them to improve in some of these categories as they become better prepared for their opponents and the newcomers continue to become more comfortable with the team.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
That's right, we're keeping the name. If you've been following along with the show recently or the site over the last couple of weeks, you'll know that the WCHQ era has come to an end. This ending was not just for the CCRH, but for the station as a whole, as maintenance of the station became unsustainable. It was a great effort put forth by those in charge, and we were happy to be a part of WCHQ's weekly lineup. However, we weren't ready to put down the mics when the station shuttered earlier this week. The show will no longer be on the radio, but we will still bring you a weekly talk show about Louisville women's athletics. The show will still be broadcast live, but via internet streaming only. We are trying out Youtube Live first, but we will see if that sticks. The show will be available after the live recording both on Youtube, and pushed out as a podcast to various podcast platforms.
As for changes to the actual show, there are going to be a few. First, we have not quite solidified our place with our new hosts. That means there will be some uncertainty around the show's start time early on. For example, today, the show will be live at 1PM instead of 11AM. It is our goal to maintain the 11AM start time for the show on a weekly basis, but our live stream being independent of a radio schedule allows us a bit of flexibility. This flexibility brings forth the second change. The CCRH does not have to strictly be an hour. If things are light, we can bring you the show we want without dragging things on just to fill a timeslot. Similarly, as things get more busy, we'll be able to present all the information and analysis without shortchanging any teams or ideas. We're very excited about these possibilities.
The last change I can think of right now is that we are losing the protection of a radio license. We'll be able to say whatever we want without the FCC looming over the radio station (though we'll still look to keep the show family friendly) but copyright protections exist. Most of our music was able to be played because of our radio station ties, but we don't exactly have free rein to just play a bunch of music on our live stream without permission. That's a great way to get your Youtube Channel shut down. If you remember, there was a brief time that WCHQ attempted to move to Youtube instead of Facebook Live. They were ultimately forced back to FB because of copyright claims despite their radio status. All that is to say that we'll be looking for royalty free music for intros and the like, and the show may feel a bit empty as far as songs go early on.
So that's the low down on the future of the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. We're committed to continuing this gig, so we hope you'll join us. Jeff should be able to include podcast links once we have put out an episode or two if you prefer to subscribe there, but if you want to listen/watch live or stick to Youtube, look no farther. Our Youtube channel, which you should subscribe to, can be found here: Cardinal Couple Youtube. Today's show link is here: 01/04/20 Cardinal Couple. You'll be able to watch the show live in either the browser or on any Youtube app. As a reminder, today's show will be at 1PM, but we'll hope to get back live at 11AM starting next week.
Until next time, Go Cards!