LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (8-0) vs. DREXEL DRAGONS (6-1)
Game Time: 9:02 p.m.
Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisvile, Ky.
Announcers: Mike "Mr. Cardinal" Gleason/Mike Kelley
Officials: Ed Hightower, Michael Stephens, Todd Williams
Favorite: Louisville by 14
Series History: Louisville leads, 1-0
Last Meeting: Louisville won 93-73 in the first round of the 1986 NCAA Tournament. How'd that turn out?
Drexel Season to Date:
Beat Loyola (Md) (75-72)
Beat Pennsylvania (77-56)
Lost at Rhode Island (68-74)
Beat Binghamton (79-39)
Beat Saint Joseph's (62-50)
Beat Northeastern (63-58)
Beat Rider (71-67, OT)
If Louisville has a slip-up in the "non-UNLV/Western Kentucky/Kentucky" portion of its out-of-conference schedule, it will come tonight.
For the Cards to improve upon their best start in 14 years, they'll have to take care of a battle-tested Drexel team which has won four straight and boasts the nation's leading reserve scorer.
Sophomore guard Chris Fouch is averaging 22.4 points per game, and shooting 45.0 percent overall and 43.1 from 3-point range for the Dragons. He enters the Yum Center tonight coming off of back-to-back 27-point performances.The good news for the Cards is that he's Drexel's only legitimate outside threat.
Fouch will have a hard time getting clean looks this evening against a Louisville team which is limiting opponents to 35.7 percent shooting - tied with Syracuse for the nation's fourth-stingiest mark - and forcing 18.8 turnover per game, best in the Big East.
Junior forward Samme Givens is the Dragons’ second leading scorer and leading rebounder, averaging a double-double with 11.3 points and 11.4 boards a game. Despite limtied size (6′ 5″), Givens has led the CAA in offensive rebounding in each of his first two seasons.
Drexel's strength is in the paint where freshman forward Dartaye Ruffin (6-8, 240) is averaging around eight points and seven boards. Helping Ruffin is 6′ 9″, 270-pound Daryl McCoy ,who shoots 67 percent from the field. McCoy grabbed 18 boards on December 1 against St. Joseph’s, the most by a Dragon since 1996.
Drexel, which was picked to finish sixth in the CAA, starts a freshman point guard (Frantz Massenat) and struggles with turnovers (12.5 tpg). Not a combination you want to bring with you to the Derby City.
The Dragons will make the home team work for it, but there's no reason Louisville shouldn't be 9-0 this time tomorrow.
CC Prediction: Louisville 77, Drexel 63