Opponent: Seton Hall Pirates
Game Location: Louisville, Ky. – KFC Yum! Center
Tip Off: 12:00 p.m.
Record: 13-13 (2-11)
Head Coach: Kevin Willard (3rd season)
TV: WHAS-11 (Big East Network) with Anish Shroff and Bob Wenzel calling the action
Radio: 84 WHAS with Paul Rogers & Doug Ormay calling the action
Early Line: Louisville -11
Officials: Michael Stephens, Earl Walton and Tony Chiazza
Last Meeting: Louisville 73, Seton Hall 58 – January 9th in Newark, NJ.
Projected Starting Line-up’s
C Gorgui Dieng, 6’11”, 235 pounds
PF Chane Behanan, 6’6”, 250 pounds
F Luke Hancock, 6’5”, 200 pounds
G Russ Smith, 6’0”, 165 pounds
PG Peyton Siva, 6’0”, 185 pounds
F Brandon Mobley, 6’9″, 215 pounds
F Eugene Teague, 6’9″, 285 pounds
G Aaron Cosby, 6’2″, 190 pounds
G Tom Maayan, 6’1″, 185 pounds
G Fuquan Edwin, 6’6″, 205 pounds
The Louisville Cardinals will look to make it three in a row tomorrow as they return to the KFC Yum! Center to take on the Seton Hall Pirates. The Cards beat the Pirates on January 9th, 73-58 in Newark, behind Gorgui Dieng’s 16 point, 14 rebound effort. Louisville forced Seton Hall into 17 turnovers, won the rebound battle 37-35 and held them to just 34% (17-49) from the field. The Cards, meanwhile, shot 41% (23-55), had 16 assists on those 22 made field goals and only committed 11 turnovers. Montrezl Harrell chipped in 14 points off the bench and Russ Smith had a solid all-around game with 11 points, 6 assists and 7 rebounds. Seton Hall got a nice game from their two frontcourt players in the last meeting as Brandon Mobley finished with 18 points and 7 boards and Eugene Teague had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. The Pirates have battled injury problems all year and they’re currently mired in a 7-game conference losing streak. Their 2 lone wins in the Big East puts them in second-to-last overall, just a game in front of lowly South Florida. Seton Hall comes into the game with an RPI of 119, a Sagarin Rating of 104 and they’re 115th overall according KenPom.com.
In their previous meeting, Seton Hall hung with the Cards during a back-and-forth first half and actually only trailed by two at halftime. The second half was a different story as Louisville opened things up by setting up in their press and waring down the Pirates over a chaotic second 20-minutes. Junior guard Fuquan Edwin is the team’s leading scorer (17.2 ppg – 5th in the Big East) and also ranks 4th in the conference in three point field goal percentage (.426%) and second in steals (2.5). Eugene Teague is 4th in the Big East in rebounding at 7.5 per game. Seton Hall continues to have offensive woes, averaging just 66 points per game (211th nationally), despite shooting the ball pretty well from deep (their 7.9 three pointers made per game is tops in the conference). Not a particularly big or deep team, the Pirates average just 34 rebounds per game (184th overall). Louisville holds a 12-5 all-time advantage over Seton Hall, have won the last 4 straight in the series and 9 of the last 11. The last time the Cards lost to the Pirates was January of 2010.
Louisville comes into the game winners of 5 of their last 6 contests, including their most recent outing, a 59-41 victory at South Florida. The Cards’ lone loss in that span, of course, was a 5 overtime thriller against Notre Dame. At 21-5 on the season, this marks the 5th time in Rick Pitino’s tenure that his team has won at least 21 of their first 26 games. All four of the previous teams that started at least 20-6 reached the Elite Eight and two of those teams (05′ and 12′) both reached the Final Four. Louisville remains #1 in KenPom’s defensive efficiency rankings and are forcing their opponents into 18.7 turnovers per game. The Cards are also third in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (+6.1) and are third nationally in steals per game (10.7). In their last two outings, Louisville played balanced offensively and looked much improved from previous weeks. Even while struggling to hit long-range shots against both St John’s and South Florida (they went a combined 5-25) they still won by double digits in both instances and didn’t force the issue with questionable shot selection. With a victory tomorrow, the Cards will remain just one game back from league leaders Marquette, Georgetown and Syracuse (though the Hoyas and Orange meet tomorrow so one of them will fall off the front line).