Jeff Walz and the Louisville Cardinals will get another shot at the top ranked and undefeated UConn Huskies on Monday night in the Championship game of the AAC Tournament. Last Monday, UConn defeated Louisville 68-48 at the KFC Yum! Center. Back in February in Storrs, UConn won 81-64. Everyone knows this will be a tall task for the Cards.
“We know in order to beat them we have to play a great game at the defensive end of the floor because they score so well. We’ll have to figure out a way to score. You’ve got to put 70 on the board yourself and I don’t think they’ve allowed 70 all year.”
In their first matchup, UConn’s Breanna Stewart had 24 points and 10 rebounds. A week ago in the last meeting she had 22 points and 14 rebounds. Even with those big numbers, she has only shot a combined 18-41 (43.9%) in those two games. It just seems like the shots that she does hit are at crucial times in the game and they feel bigger.
Here are my thoughts on this, and Jeff Walz would never admit it and he shouldn’t, but I don’t think he cares too much about winning this game. And I don’t think he has been too concerned with winning the other two either. Would he take a win? Absolutely, that’s not what I mean The first game was in Storrs. I think he knew it would be very difficult to win there. On senior night here, of course a win would have been great. But why bring out some big gameplan to try and beat UConn in a regular season game when you know you will probably see them two more times?
I think he is just figuring out what works and what doesn’t work against UConn. What do they do well and what do they struggle with that maybe you can exploit down the road? I believe he is just getting three games worth of practice in against UConn to build his ultimate gameplan for the NCAA Tournament. That doesn’t mean that it will 100% work, but I just don’t think he is going to show anything new in a regular season matchup, and that includes a conference tournament championship.
There has been a lot of talk about the Cards deserving a #1 seed while a lot of projections have them as a 2 seed. I really don’t know if it matters. That UConn team is so good that you have to think that any path to the title will involve playing and beating them at some point. So would you rather be the 2 seed and play them in Louisville? Or be a 1 seed and face them in the Final Four or National Championship in Nashville? Of course a #1 seed would mean that possibly another team will knock UConn out before you get to them. But that is a long shot.
The AAC Tournament Championship will take place Monday night in Uncassville, Connecticut. Tip-off is at 7:00 pm ET and the game will be shown on ESPN.