Preview: Louisville at Rutgers

No. 16 Louisville AT Rutgers

Time: 9 p.m.

Location: Rutgers Athletic Center: Piscataway, N.J.

TV: ESPNU

Favorite: Louisville by 4

Series: Louisville leads series, 8-1

Last meeting: Louisville won 76-60 on Feb. 6, 2010

Louisville starters: Peyton Siva (So., G, 5-11, 10.6 ppg, 5.1 apg); Preston Knowles (Sr., G, 6-1, 14.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg); Kyle Kuric (Jr., G, 6-4, 9.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg); Terrence Jennings (Jr., F, 6-9, 9.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg); Stephan Van Treese (So., F, 6-9, 3.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg).

Rutgers starters: Mike Coburn (Sr., G, 6-0, 8.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg); James Beatty (Sr., G, 6-2, 8.5 ppg, 3.0 apg); Dane Miller (So., G/F, 6-7, 9.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg); Jonathan Mitchell (Sr., F, 6-7, 14.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg); Gilvydas Biruta (Fr., F, 6-8, 9.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg).

Keys/Notes

--From a defensive standpoint, Rutgers is of the Connecticut mold. They're going to play tough man defense, but they help out a lot more than UConn, or really any team in the Big East, does. It'll be interesting to see if Mike Rice makes a concerted effort to stop this in order to prevent Peyton Siva from penetrating and finding open shooters on the wings after help comes. The Scarlet Knights don't have anyone capable of consistently keeping the adorable sophomore in front of them, and they've really struggled to close out on three-point shooters during Big East play.

--Louisville leads the Big East in steals and is tied with St. John's for average turnovers forced per game. RU had been doing a decent job of taking care of the ball until the month of February, where they're averaging 13.4 turnovers a game. They gave the ball up a whopping 23 times against the Red Storm's pressure, with a healthy chunk of those turnovers occurring in halfcourt situations.

--Senior point guard Mike Coburn has never played well against Louisville. In four career games against the Cards he has a total of 13 turnovers and has never scored more than five points.

--Jonathan Mitchell would start for any team in this league. The senior forward is averaging 15 and 6 and has been playing out of his mind in recent weeks. He's scored 21 or more points in four of RU's last five games, and came through with the last-second four-point play that beat Villanova on Feb. 9.

--Mike Rice spoke out about the foul situation we discussed earlier today after his team was whistled for 30 against Syracuse over the weekend. It will be interesting to see how the officials play this one tonight.

--Rutgers is 10-4 at home, but has lost six of its last seven overall. The Cardinals have dropped three straight on the road since upsetting then No. 5 Connecticut on Jan. 29.

--Louisville leads this series 8-1 and has won the last four meetings by an average of just under 22 points.

--A pair of Louisville players have ties to the New Jersey/New York area. Chris Smith (Millstone, N.J. ), who played two seasons at Manhattan College before transferring to U of L, played basketball at St. Benedict’s Prep and Lakewood High School in New Jersey, while Russ Smith (Archbishop Malloy HS, Bronx, N.Y.) hails from the New York area.

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