Western Carolina is a veteran team that plays in Southern Conference (SOCON) and should keep the score closer than the -15 point opening spread when they face a reeling Cardinals team inside Freedom Hall.
The Catamounts will not be a walkover like one would expect from the typical "Directional Team X" playing at Freedom Hall in December. They lost badly at Texas in their 2nd game of the season but have won 8 straight & are 9-1 for the first time since 1958-59, boasting wins over Duquesne (a team that won at Iowa and took Pittsburgh to 2OT before losing) and at Bradley (beat #21 Illinois 11 days ago).
Scouting Report: The Catamounts are a more experienced version of Charlotte
- Veteran roster; Catamounts return all 5 starters from a team that had their first winning season this decade, finishing atop the SOCON North Division with a 16-15 record in 2008-09
- Top threats:
— 2008-09 SOCON Freshman of the Year, 6-4 Guard, Sophomore Harouna Mutombo (yes, he’s related)
— 6-6 Guard, Senior Brandon Giles (24 pts, 6 rebs, 6 stls @ Gard-Webb on 11/28/09)
— 6-8 Forward, Senior Jake Robinson (25 pts, 7-11 3PT FGs vs. Duquense on 11/25/09 off the bench)
- Very capable 3PT FG shooting team; made 17 of 35 3PT FGs against Duquesne this year
- Free throws are not a strong point; Louisville needs to challenge every shot and test early on how agressive the refs will let them play on D
- Balanced, the Catamount's leading scorer, Robinson (11.3 pts/gm), is their 6th man
Louisville will win if they: Challenge every 3PT attempt, limit Catamounts to less than 5 Offensive Rebounds, finish with 13+ assists and force 15+ turnovers
Western Carolina will win if they: Hit 8+ 3PT FGs, hold Samardo Samuels to under 10 points/5 rebounds, finish with 13+ assists
Prediction: 70-65 Cards