Late again! This week I'm over a day late. Let's hope the trend doesn't continue. After the sleeping restlessly Friday night, my body needed last night to recover, setting me up to sleep until nearly 10AM. Everything should be back on track next week.
WBB Travels to Fort Collins
which you can find at this link. The Rams host most of their games via that service, so we'll hope for a higher quality production than the jumbotron feed from Washington that didn't even include a shot clock.
Louisville is coming off of their 40-point romp against Cal Poly, while CSU's last game saw their largest margin of victory since the opener. The Rams beat Lipscomb 81-55 last Sunday, which is second only to their 35-point stomping of Colorado Christian on November 9th. Lipscomb is just 1-3 this season with their only victory coming against Shorter University, a private Baptist university in Georgia with an enrollment of about 2,000. Colorado State is undefeated, though, having also beaten Northern Colorado, Oral Roberts, and Denver. Colorado Christian does not compete at the Division 1 level, and CSU's four D1 opponents are a combined 6-14 so far this season.
Last season, the Rams ranked well in categories that could spell trouble for the Cards. CSU was a top-ten team in ATO (5th), defensive rebounds (6th), 3-point percentage (6th), and they turned the ball over at the second lowest rate in the country. So far this season, in the same stats, the Rams rank first, third, twenty-third, and first. Louisville must be disciplined on defense and make their own shots on the first try. With five players listed at 6-1 or taller, CSU is bound to make it difficult to find second chance points. Louisville is 48th in turnovers forced, 21st in three-point field goal defense, and do not rank in the top-30 in offensive rebounds per game (for some reason, this stat is not populating beyond that top 30).
The statistical matchups aren't ideal, but with then season being so young and the strength of opponent varying so wildly, it is hard to draw too many conclusions. Louisville does have the better team on paper, despite the cherry-picked stats, and the voters think so as well. However, Louisville has appeared sluggish at times. With CSU being on longer rest and playing at home in front of a white-out crowd, the Cards cannot afford to come out slow or they may find themselves playing catch-up. In a momentum game like basketball, that can make all the difference.
Once again, today's game gets underway at 2PM ET and is on the Mountain West Network site.
Volleyball Selection Show Tonight
As Jeff mentioned yesterday, there shouldn't be very much anticipation as far as Louisville's seeding goes. The Cards have been the top-ranked team in the AVCA Poll since November 8th and are currently receiving all but two first place votes. Louisville is also ranked number one in RPI, three spots ahead of Texas. If you're a Longhorns fan, that's got to be more concerning than the AVCA ranking. Pittsburgh takes the second slot there, followed by Baylor, before Texas comes in at fourth. I don't expect Texas to appear with a four next to their name tonight, but we'll see what happens.
The real question becomes which teams will be headed to Louisville next weekend. The Cards will certainly hope they don't have to face Western Kentucky, a team they are very familiar with. The Hilltoppers are on the fringe of getting a seed of their own, but it will be tough. They're ranked 16th in the current AVCA Poll and sit at 19th in RPI. WKU went 27-1 this season, with the lone loss coming at home against Ole Miss. Ole Miss is ranked 50th in RPI, so that's not a great loss.
That same projection had Louisville hosting Morehead State, Dayton, and UCF, with all three being automatic qualifiers and the Cards facing Morehead State as, officially, the 64th ranked team. Dayton and UCF did their part and earned those AQ bids, but Morehead State did not. The Eagles were toppled by Southeast Missouri last week in the OVC Championship match. SEMO is ranked 87th in RPI, so it may be as simple as just swapping those two teams in the bracketology.
All of our questions will be answered tonight and the Cards will welcome their challengers to L&N Federal Credit Union Arena on Thursday.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast
The show was hosted by just a trio yesterday, as I sat out, but Paulie, Jeff, and Jared took good care of the listeners. If you want to check the show out on YouTube, or subscribe to the channel, the two links below will take you to the channel page or directly to this week's show. If you're more the podcast type, links to various platforms are included, or you can find the show on your platform of choice by searching for "Cardinal Couple Radio Hour."
Cardinal Couple YouTube: Link