Typically, I'm a night owl and typing articles late at night and scheduling them to post while I'm at work in the morning. With an early bedtime tonight, many of the women's basketball games are just getting started.
Between work and an important trip to Columbus tomorrow totaling about a 20-hour day, I'll need all the sleep I can get. Yes, that means I'll be up at the NCAA Volleyball Final Four taking photos of the Cards. Jeff will also be in attendance, but leading C-A-R-D-S cheers in the stands. Paulie will stay in town to give us coverage of women's basketball against Eastern Kentucky.
Volleyball Faces Wisconsin
Louisville Volleyball is in the National Semifinals for the first time in program history. The 1-seeded Cards face 4-seed Wisconsin at 7:00 p.m., ET, on ESPN.
Wisconsin enters the match with a 29-3 record. Their losses came to Maryland and Purdue (twice). They have 10 wins against ranked opponents including mutual opponents Kentucky and Nebraska. Louisville defeated Kentucky at home 3-2 and defeated Nebraska 3-0 on the road. The Cards also beat Purdue 3-0 up in Cincinnati.
At 17-3, Wisconsin won the Big Ten to earn the automatic qualifier and a high enough seed to host through the National Regional finals. This is the ninth straight season Wisconsin had advanced to the Sweet Sixteen or better. Last season, the COVID-19 season, the Badgers were 18-0 before falling to Texas 3-0 in the Final Four.
Wisconsin's roster lists 18 total players with 11 of them ranging between 6-0 and 6-9. Now, height doesn't always mean a player is great, but Wisconsin is no slouch and is a difficult program to become a part of. They carry a lot of experience with 10 players being of junior status or better, including four graduate students.
Wisconsin's stats are very similar to Louisville, as the two have a similar style of play. Wisconsin averages 14.7 kills per set (Louisville 13.7). They also average 13.5 assists per set (UofL 12.3) and 1.5 aces per set (UofL 1.7). The Badgers, like Louisville, are a good blocking team, averaging 2.6 blocks per set (UofL 3.0).
I expect this to be an evenly matched game. I'd love to see the Cards win this in straight sets, but this one has the making of a four-to-five set thriller.
If you are going to the match there's a couple things you need to know. First, masks are mandatory inside the arena at all times, the same as LNFCU Arena. Make sure to take yours with you. Second, Nationwide Arena carries a NO bag policy. Louisville would allow clear bags but even those won't cut it here. Lastly, make sure you have a credit or debit card on you as the concession stands will not be accepting cash.
WBB Welcomes EKU
Not to be overshadowed by Louisville Volleyball, Louisville Women's Basketball has an 8:00 p.m., ET, tip-off against Eastern Kentucky on ACC Network.
The Cards are 8-1 on the season and are fresh off a 64-58 win over in-state rival Kentucky. Louisville is 2-1 against Top 25 teams this year.
Eastern Kentucky is 4-5 on the year and is coming off a 66-43 victory at Morehead State. Their other wins are against Transylvania, Union (KY), and Chattanooga.
Greg Todd is in his first season as head coach of the Colonels, replacing Samantha Williams. Williams was an assistant coach at Louisville for several years before becoming the head coach at EKU. She then left EKU to become an assistant coach at Tennessee.
Louisville is 20-8 all-time against Eastern Kentucky, including 12-2 at home and 2-0 inside the KFC Yum! Center. Intuition tells me the Cards will get their 21st win against the Colonels and cruise to a blowout victory. The Louisville defense should have no trouble tonight.
The KFC YUM! Center alledgedly will show the start of the Volleyball match vs. Wisconsin on the center court jumbotron and stay with it as long as possible. Should be fun!
Happy Thursday and Go Cards!