Louisville/Chattanooga preview

NOTE: Tonight's game can only be seen on ESPN3.com. Yes, they're doing it for basketball, too. Bitch below, I won't mind.

LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (2-0) vs. CHATTANOOGA MOCS (2-2)

Game Time: 7 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: None

All-Time Series: Chattanooga leads 5-4

Last Meeting: Louisville won 71-66 in the 1985 NIT.

Favorite: Louisville by 20

Chattanooga Thus Far:

LOST to No. 23 Tennessee (82-62)
LOST to Austin Peay (70-67)
BEAT Kennesaw State (73-69)
BEAT Marshall (69-68)

STARTING LINEUPS:

CHATTANOOGA (2-2)
Pos.-Player Ht. Cl. Rb. Pts.
F-DeAntre Jefferson 6-8 Sr. 5.8 7.8
F-Omar Wattad 6-5 Jr. 4.0 9.5
F-Chris Early 6-7 Jr. 6.5 8.8
G-Keegan Bell 6-1 Jr. *5.8 9.5
G-Ricky Taylor 6-4 Jr. 3.3 8.3

Reserves: Josh Odem, G, 6-5, So., 9.0 pts.; Jeremy Saffore, C, 7-1, Sr., 4.0; Troy Cage, F, 6-5, Sr., 4.5; Jahmal Burroughs, F, 6-6, Jr., 3.5; Dontay Hampton, G, 6-2, So., 2.5; Sam Watson, F, 6-7, So., 0.5; Jeff Smith, G, 6-5, Sr., 0.0.

LOUISVILLE (2-0)
Pos.-Player Ht. Cl. Rb. Pts.
F-Rakeem Buckles 6-9 So. 9.5 11.0
F-Mike Marra 6-5 So. *4.5 11.0
F-Terrence Jennings 6-9 Jr. 7.0 13.5
G-Preston Knowles 6-1 Sr. 3.0 12.0
G-Peyton Siva 6-0 So. *4.5 10.0

Reserves: Chris Smith, G, 6-2, Jr., 2.5 pts.; Kyle Kuric, G, 6-4, Jr., 2.0; Stephan Van Treese, F, 6-9, So., 3.5; Gorgui Dieng, C, 6-10, Fr., 1.5; George Goode, F, 6-8, Sr., 0.0; Elisha Justice, G, 5-10, Fr., 8.0; Mark Jackson Jr., G, 6-3, Fr., 0.0; Tim Henderson, G, 6-3, Fr., 0.0. *-assists.

Notes on the Mocs:

--Chattanooga is coming off of a buzzer-beating victory over Marshall.

"I think I've got broken ribs because when we were celebrating, somebody on the team caught me square," coach John Shulman said Sunday. "But I can still play. I can carry the play-sheet, so I'm OK."

Shulman and the Mocs approached the second half, and especially the final minutes, as if it were a SoCon title game. They won, and their reward is Louisville tonight in the KFC Yum! Center.

"It's a foreshadowing thing," said guard Ricky Taylor, who had six points Saturday. "It's like we won the SoCon last night and we've got Louisville next. It's going to help us in the long run and for future reference."

--Former Chattanooga head coach Ron Shumate had a pipeline of talent from the Louisville area that built UTC into a nation DII power right paving the way to DI in 1977-78. Recent Chattanooga Hall of Fame recipient Gary Stitch came from Trinity High School. Two of the top players in Mocs' history are All-American Wayne Golden (Shawnee) and William Gordon (Male) . Add to the list: Herbert "Book" McCray (Shawnee), Darryl Yarbrough (Central), Kevin Gray (Manual), Eric Smith (Trinity), Ray Byron (Trinity) and Greg Stitch (Trinity), the core of the program in the '70s.

--Fifth straight meeting with an undefeated team for Chattanooga to open season: Tennessee (0-0), Austin Peay (1-0), Kennesaw State (2-0) and Marshall (2-0).

--In the win at Marshall, UTC shot just 36.8% from the field, 21-57. It is the worst shooting performance in a win since the Mocs hit 31.1% in beating Appalachian State in the semi-finals of the 2005 SoCon Tournament (3/4/05)

--Chattanooga has made five or more three-pointers in 29 straight games. That's the fourth longest active streak in the nation. VMI has the longest with 73 consecutive contests heading into the weekend. (Credit UofL communications with an assist on this note.)

--The Mocs played in back-to-back-to-back nip-and-tuck battles losing on a final-possession three from Austin Peay at home, and pulling out a four-point come-from-behind win at Kennesaw State. UTC came back from eight down to win at Marshall. In the Govs game, there were seven ties and 12 lead changes. In the second half alone at KSU, the score was ties eight times and the lead changed hands three times, while there were five ties and eight lead changes at Marshall.

--Four games, four different leading scorers: Tennessee (Keegan Bell - 20), Austin Peay (Josh Odem - 15), Kennesaw State (DeAntre Jefferson - 18) and Marshall (Chris Early - 13).

--Chattanooga has been phenomenal in the last five minutes of games this season. The Mocs have out-scored opponents 45-27 during that period over four games.

--Dontay Hampton's play has been pivotal in the back-to-back wins for Chattanooga. He's played 23 minutes off the bench when Bell's gotten in foul trouble. In 23 minutes of the two games, the walk-on redshirt sophomore has 10 points, two rebounds, two assists and three steals. His defense has been a difference-maker off the bench.

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--Hampton's play is a great example of the depth of this year's Mocs squad. Chattanooga's reserves have out-scored opponent benches 92-63, an average of 7.3 points per game. Over the last three games, the Mocs' bench has a 77-36 advantage, +13.0 scoring margin.

--Bell is off to a strong start at the point. He leads the SoCon in assists (5.8/gm) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.6) with 23 assists against 9 turnovers. In his last two games, he has 13 assists with just one turnover.

--As a team, the Mocs lead the SoCon in three-point field goal percentage at 26.9% (25-93). Opponents have taken 93 treys and 145 twos which equates to roughly a 61/39 split. UTC also leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.1).

CC Prediction: Louisville 74, Chattanooga 59

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