Sam Purcell Heads to Mississippi State
Sam Purcell has become almost an institution on the sidelines here at Louisville for the Women's Basketball team. His infectious energy, going toe to toe even with Jazmine Jones, has endeared him to all who have had the opportunity to witness him in action. That goes double for those of us who have had the opportunity to meet him in person and interact with him directly.
Purcell will now get to take the helm of a team, having been hired by Mississippi State to take the reins from Interim Head Coach Doug Novak. Novak stepped into the temp position in October after Nikki McCray-Penson stepped down in October due to health concerns.
Purcell's hiring is an event that is at once both surprising and long expected. There was basically no public chatter about Purcell being a candidate for the position, so when the announcement came, there was no preparation for it, it just appeared seemingly out of thin air. At the same time, anyone who was aware of Purcell's role on Louisville's coaching staff knew, without a doubt, that this day was coming at some point.
Purcell has been with UofL since June of 2013, when he moved north from Atlanta and Georgia Tech. Initially listed as Assistant Coach, Sam was promoted in 2017 to the title of Associate Coach.
Sam will still be on the sidelines with the Cards for their NCAA tournament run, though he and his family (wife Meghan, and daughters Reese, Rylee, and Reagan) did make a visit to Starkville to see the facilities and do some initial meet and greets. He will be officially introduced to Mississippi State after UofL's season concludes.
It has been a joy to get to know Sam over his tenure at UofL, and we here at Cardinal Couple, and I'm sure all of CardNation, wish him the absolute best as he embarks on his Head Coaching career.
Speaking of NCAA tournament runs, the NCAA Women's Basketball Selection Show will be tonight at 8pm on ESPN.
We've been following, and discussing, the "bracketology" leading up to this, but the actual results will be revealed tonight, ending the debate and uncertainty.
UofL had been a fairly consistent "1 seed", but there had been some wavering recently with a relatively late season loss to UNC, and an early ACC tournament exit. Charlie Creme had said that UofL would remain the fourth 1 seed as long as Baylor didn't waltz through the Big 12 tournament unchallenged.
Yesterday, however, Creme had seen enough of the Big 12 tournament that he moved Baylor up to the fourth 1 seed, and dropped UofL off the 1 seed to the top 2 seed. It's a fair enough decision, the Bears knocked off Oregon State 76-36, and then Oklahoma 91-76. They still play Texas today, and it's reasonable to question if Texas pulls off an upset against the Bears, if that decision gets reversed.
Ultimately, however the change doesn't mean much. UofL is still bracketologied into the Wichita region with the expected 1 and 2 seed matchup being between Baylor and Louisville. Louisville would, of course, still be hosting 1st and 2nd round games here at the KFC Yum! Center and would be expected to play Mercer in the first round game, with Princeton and Central Florida being the other half of the sub-regional bracket.
Of course, all of this is just informed speculation, and there are games left to be played. All of the speculation and crystal ball gazing will be over this evening. Then we can start the debate and, hopefully good natured, criticism of the Selection committee in earnest.
After a quiet day without significant sporting events on the UofL calendar yesterday, things will hopefully get back in gear today.
Lacrosse is on the road in Chapel Hill in a big challenge against undefeated UNC. It is getting to feel almost cliche' to talk about just how tough the competition is in ACC Lacrosse, but it's no less true than it has ever been, and North Carolina has always been one of the tougher competitors.
With wins over Furman, James Madison, and Northwestern, this year is no exception and UNC is expected to be stiff competition for the Cards.
Jamie Ortega is the goal leader for the Tarheels with 19 on the season so far, but only just barely ahead of Scottie Rose Growney with 18, and Andie Aldave with 17.
Taylor Moreno will almost certainly be between the pipes in goal, having started all seven of UNC's games thus far and played the bulk of the minutes. There have been some appearances by Alecia Nicholas and Stella Harrison did play in one game.
A 1pm start time for the game, and like all ACC games, it will be on ACC Network Extra streaming.
Originally set to be played Friday, yesterday, and today, the Bluegrass Challenge has had is scheduled shuffled several times, and one game called off due to snow. Such are the hazards of spring outdoor sports, of course.
Instead, the Challenge got off to an early start on Thursday, didn't quite get the last game in Friday as mentioned above as Louisville's game against Ohio got interrupted due to the arrival of snow. Yesterday ended up being a day off for the event as the city dealt with a late winter/early spring accumulating snowfall.
The grounds crews have been hard at work, however, and with some warmup expected for today (a forecast high of 54 at Ulmer) helping, two games are scheduled for today. These games have been shifted as late in the day as is practicable to give Mr. Sunshine as much time to work as possible.
Indiana will take the field against Eastern Kentucky at 1:30pm with the Cards taking on the Hoosiers in the second game, scheduled for 4pm.
The Cards and Hoosiers have already played once, opening weekend, in Boca Raton. Louisville won that one 9-5 with Taylor Roby in the circle. Home runs by Roby, including a grand slam by Hannah File, powered much of the offense.
It will be interesting to see how Indiana has developed in the intervening weeks. They're 11-4 overall, but are currently on a seven game win streak. Their last losses were against Florida State, a quality team that we know well, of course.
With two and a half hours between the start times, I would expect the Louisville game to go off on-time, and maybe even early, so keep your eyes peeled. The Indiana-Louisville game will be on ACC Network Extra, so you can catch that if you can't make it out to Ulmer stadium.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast
All five channels were live yesterday as the full crew (Paulie, Jeff, Jared, Case and Daryl) made it for the CCRHP. We talked a lot of basketball, because it's that time of year. The show basically served as the NCAA tournament preview, and of course that meant we based a lot of the discussion about the bracketology and the bracketological principles.
Some quick mentions of other sports in actions, such as softball and lacrosse, but we stayed on basketball for most of the show. Stay tuned until the end for a mini-rant about tumbleweeds.
You can catch the tweaked-for-better-audio version that Case puts up on the podcast directories at: