BOZICH | Shhh! Louisville women not ready to talk about Kentucky - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Shhh! Louisville women not ready to talk about Kentucky -- yet

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – It is the most intriguing game on the NCAA women's basketball tournament bracket that nobody at the University of Louisville wanted to talk about:

A Sweet Sixteen women's version of a Louisville-Kentucky Dream Game – with the winner almost certainly drawing an opportunity to play defending national champion Connecticut.


“We're excited about that, but we're excited about the opportunity to still be playing,” U of L coach Jeff Walz said. “We've got a lot of work to do before we can worry about (Kentucky).”

If you attended the Draw Party that the U of L women hosted at Cardinal Arena Monday night, that is the game that jumped off the jumbo screen for the 500 or so fans who watched the pairings unfold with Walz and his players.

Yes, the Cardinals earned a three-seed and will open play Saturday in Tampa, Fla., against Brigham Young. Yes, they figure to be playing a road game against South Florida, the host school in the second round.

Yes, Kentucky, the two seed, is booked for Memorial Coliseum, where the Wildcats will begin the tournament Friday against Tennessee State. A second win would get UK to Albany.

Yes, Western Kentucky, seeded 12th, is booked in the opposite bracket of the same Albany Regional. WKU is bound for California and a first-round game against Texas Friday.

But carve through all the preliminaries and the moment that would microwave conversation about women's college basketball in this state would be a game between U of L and UK in the Albany (N.Y.) Regional semifinals.

Not that Walz or his players were ready to discuss a game like that. At least not much.

“It's exciting,” said U of L senior Sara Hammond, a Kentucky native. “They beat us earlier this year (77-68, in Louisville).

“I think our team's excited – if later on down the road we can make it that far, it's going to be a good match-up because it's a state rivalry.

“Just like on the men's side when everyone sees Kentucky and Louisville matched up, it draws attention. We'll have a lot of fans tune into that game if it comes up later on down the road, if both of us make it.”

“In this tournament everybody you play is decent, everybody's good,” said U of L point guard Jude Schimmel. “I feel like you have to be ready for every team you play.”

When Walz said that he has little fear that his team will look two games ahead on the bracket, I believe him.

Why? That's something every coach would say. But Louisville must play its first two games on the road. And the Cards remember two years ago that nobody expected them to topple Baylor. They did beat the Bears. The seniors on his team understand the dynamics of March.

“It's one-and-done now, you lose you come home,” Walz said. “If I've got to tell them much at all, we've got problems. We have a group of seniors who completely understand the importance of it.

“Knowing that we're going down and have to play at South Florida, I don't think that's going to be a problem at all. We know how talented South Florida is and LSU. We've got our hands full, worrying about the first one.”

BYU is not ranked, but BYU was the surprise winner of its conference tournament, defeating St. Mary's, Gonzaga and San Francisco.

“We have a tough task in front of us,” Walz said. “We're playing a very good BYU team. The analysts on the (ESPN selection) show came out and said there was only game they're really intrigued about – our game against BYU. It's not just coach speak right here.”

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