Jeremy Lamb can beat you if you let him
The talented freshman found the soft area in Louisville's zone and torched the Cards for 14 points in the first half last month. U of L adjusted at halftime, and Lamb didn't score the rest of his 21 points until the two overtime periods.
Expect Louisville to play a healthy amount of zone again, but they will continue to collapse on Lamb when he catches the ball around the free-throw line and take their chances with potential one-on-one scoring opportunities for Oriakhi or Okwandu.
Kemba's going to get his
Walker scored 20 points against the Cardinals in January, but it took him 23 shots to do it. He was 2-for-10 from behind the three-point line and missed potential game-winners at the end of regulation and the second overtime. The afternoon started a shooting slump for the potential national player of the year that lasted until he scored 31 points against Georgetown on Wednesday.
U of L will almost certainly try again to force Walker to do the bulk of his damage form behind the three-point line. If it works again then it works again, but if he's hitting early then the Cards will be forced to extend and Walker will be able to get into the lane and make more plays than he was allowed to three weeks ago.
Kemba's going to score at least 18, how many possessions it takes for him to hit his final number is the bigger issue.
The Huskies are hard to turn over
Louisville's steal average has dropped significantly in recent weeks, as the Cards haven't been able to bring the same defensive intensity that led them to a top five national ranking in the category just a few weeks ago. In the first game against UConn, they managed just six steals, tied for their second-lowest total of the year. A lot of that can be attributed to how much zone U of L played, but that total almost has to increase for U of L to have a shot at pulling off the season sweep.
Walker's a playmaker, but the Huskies don't have a truly reliable ballhandler. Shabazz Napier, who runs the point when he enters the game, gave the ball up four times in 32 minutes in the first meeting. The Huskies finished the game with a modest 12 turnovers.
Napier can get hot, in more ways than one
The freshman guard hit five threes against Louisville en route to a career-high 23 points, but after a minor - and unnecessary - dust-up with Peyton Siva in the first overtime, he missed a free-throw which could have potentially put the game away.
JCO has become a force
One guy who Rick Pitino probably wasn't thinking he'd have to prepare for is Jamal Coombs-McDaniel. The 6-7 sophomore forward scored just two points against the Cards and had totaled just 20 in his past seven games before dropping a career-high 25 on Providence last weekend. He followed that performance up by torching Georgetown for 23 points on Wednesday.
JCO is the type of player Pitino's Louisville teams have struggled to contain, and he'll likely play a much larger role in the outcome of tonight's game than he did in January.
Peyton Siva has to be good
We might have known it before then, but the game in Storrs really drove home the point. If Siva isn't very good against a team like Connecticut, Louisville simply is not going to win.