UofL baseball drops a spot in national ranking

The University of Louisville baseball team dropped a spot in the D1 Baseball’s national rankings following a week in which the Cardinals won two games and lost two.Screenshot 2015-05-18 11.39.58

UofL is currently ranked third, behind UCLA, which won all four of its games last week, and just ahead of Texas Christian University which also won all four of its games. LSU remains No. 1.

If there’s a good thing about dropping a spot, it’s less pressure on UofL. The Cards needed any kind of a break after seven games in nine days.

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Louisville will compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference event this week. Not a tournament format until Sunday, when the two teams with the week’s best records in the four-team pods line up against each other. Here’s the schedule:

2015 ACC Baseball Championship Schedule

Tuesday, May 19

#7 Virginia vs. #10 Georgia Tech, 11 a.m. (RSN)
#8 North Carolina vs. #9 Virginia Tech, 3 p.m. (RSN)

Wednesday, May 20

#4 Florida State vs. #5 Clemson, 11 a.m. (RSN)
#2 Miami vs. #7 Virginia/ #10 Georgia Tech, 3 p.m. (RSN)
#1 Louisville vs. #8 North Carolina/#9 Virginia Tech, 7 p.m. (RSN)

Thursday, May 21

#3 Notre Dame vs. #6 NC State, 11 a.m. (RSN)
#5 Clemson vs. #1 Louisville, 3 p.m. (RSN)
#4 Florida State vs. #8 North Carolina/#9 Virginia Tech, 7 p.m. (RSN)

Friday, May 22

#3 Notre Dame vs. #7 Virginia/ #10 Georgia Tech, 11 a.m. (RSN)
#5 Clemson vs. #8 North Carolina/#9 Virginia Tech, 3 p.m. (RSN)
#2 Miami vs. #6 NC State, 7 p.m. (RSN)

Saturday, May 23

#1 Louisville vs. #4 Florida State, 11 a.m. (RSN)
#2 Miami vs. #3 Notre Dame, 3 p.m. (RSN)
#6 NC State vs. #7 Virginia/ #10 Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. (RSN)

Sunday, May 24

ACC Championship, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)


Louisville women roast LSU, back in the Elite 8

Tia Gibbs connects on one her five 3-point shots.
Tia Gibbs fires up another 3-pointer, making five of nine attempts against LSU.

Yes, the men are gone, out of post season play, but the University of Louisville women are playing their best basketball of the year. The latest beat down, a steamrolling of LSU 73-47 Sunday and into the NCAA women’s tournament’s Elite Eight for a second straight year.

Quality basketball when it counts. A team motivated by some unfinished business, but directed by Jeff Walz, one of the best coaches in the women’s game. Just right for any segment of the fan base not wanting to let go of the 2014 basketball season.Jeff-Walz

Not a good day for SEC teams, with Tennessee having been dismissed by Maryland 69-64 in the first game of the Louisville Regional before a crowd of 11,097 at the KFC Yum! Center.

This is a confident, competent and talented UofL team, taking the competition seriously. No more going through the motions, even against an LSU team missing two injured starters but managing to take a 12-11 lead at the 12:10 mark. Up till then, the Cardinals were sizing up the Tigers, adjusting their sights, preparing for an all-out assault. Shoni Schimmel would hit two free throws to give Louisville a lead it would never relinquish.

Then it was Tia Gibbs’s turn. She would connect on back-to-back three pointers, connecting on three of four attempts over the next five minutes and the Cardinals would own an 29-18 lead at the 4:15 mark, and would own a 42-23 lead at the half.

“I was just trying to provide a spark to the team,” said Gibbs, who made all of her 15 points on 3-pointers.  “Coming off the bench, that’s kind of what our job is to do.  Whether it’s on defense, making threes, whatever the case.  My teammates did a great job looking for me.  They were the ones creating the open shots by driving and kicking to me.”

The Schimmel sisters have a special look in their eyes these days. They would combine for 11 assists, Shoni with six and Jude with five, while scoring 19 points and five points, respectively.

“Well, it’s tournament time,” said Shoni. “So it’s kind of like if you (lose), you’re done.  That’s important to me because I don’t think we should lose.  I think we need to come out and play strong every game because, if you lose, you’re done.”

UofL plays Maryland Tuesday, a team that knocked the Cardinals out of the tournament two years ago. A team coached by Brenda Freze, who just happens to be Jeff Walz’ former boss.  But another appearance in the Final Four is what is really driving this team. If they exact a little revenge in the process, even better.

Louisville Women thump LSU, will play Oklahoma in WNIT final

Asia-TaylorAsia Taylor drives for two of her team-leading 23 points against LSU. (UofLCardGame photo)

The third game of the season is far too early to be drawing any conclusions but it was hard not to be impressed after watching the University of Louisville smother LSU 88-67 Thursday in a semifinal game of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

There’s a lot to like about this team, starting with the vast improvement of Asia Taylor who has finally recovered from the hip surgery that made her miss last season. Asia is healthy, probably for the first time since she arrived three years ago, and she is impressive. Dominating actually.

Taylor is quick and smooth when she’s at full strength. Deadly when she’s on. Everywhere, scoring early and often, leading all scorers with 23 points, making 10 of 16 field goals and three of four free throw attempts. Ten rebounds and two steals, too.

Continue reading “Louisville Women thump LSU, will play Oklahoma in WNIT final”

West Virginia needs to get a grip … soon

Admit it, West Virginia, you have a problem.

We recall being warmly greeted by a WVU fan shortly after arriving in Morgantown for the Louisville-West Virginia football game in 2005, he and his party falling over themselves at the hotel to make us feel at home. Asking about our family, offering to carry our luggage, inviting us to join them for breakfast. Wow, I thought, these people sure are hospitable, extraordinarily so. Why this particular group was being so friendly would soon become evident.

The warm fuzzies would fade quickly after arriving at Milan Puskar Stadium, however.  Passing through the crowd of Mountaineer rowdies was anything but a picnic, starting with getting intentionally bumped. “Hey, Kaintuck, you owe me an apology,” he slurred. “Not after that insult,” I replied.  We were moving in opposite directions, no further discussion.

So many unrulies in one place, taunting U of L fans in every direction. We would lose track of the number of obscenities hurled our way. After the game, right on schedule, there were the sound of sirens, fire trucks being dispatched to quench what we presumed were burning couches.

One could only imagine how things would have gone had they lost a game that day. Reports this season that an LSU couple was assaulted after a game have since been disputed by the woman who was involved, but no one would have been surprised had a game-related incident occurred.

Paul Sykes, over at Cardinal Couple, reminds us in an e-mail that U of L cheerleaders had things tossed in their direction in 2009, forcing them to leave the game early for safety reasons. The cheerleaders and the dance team reportedly won’t be making the trip to Morgantown this Saturday. If this is true, it is a direct reflection not only on WVU fans but on local and state law enforcement.

By not taking effective action to discourage activities, the school’s administration is, in effect, condoning the primeval  behavior, reinforcing a stereotype of West Virginians that is ugly at best. Until they begin to clamp down hard on fans, the conditions will only get worse. When a tragedy occurs, which is all but inevitable, the school will be compelled to fork over millions of dollars.

How such a hostile environment came to be is inconceivable for UofL fans and for other schools across the nation.  It would never occur to Louisville fans to disrespect visitors to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

The upcoming game has UofL fans as concerned, if not more, for the safety of the fans and players making the trek to Morgantown as much as the outcome of the game.

Something is amiss on those country roads. Take a good hard look in the mirror, West Virginia. Some of your fans are giving the state a black eye, and it’s not going away anytime soon.