MISSOURI KANSAS CITY KANGAROOS (4-4; 1-1 Summit) At LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (7-1; 4-0 at home)
Tipoff Time: 2:02 pm EST
Gym: KFC Yum! Center (22,000 capacity); Louisville, Ky
Television: ESPN3 Exclusive
Announcers: Ryan Rose (play-by-play); Darrin Horn (analyst and former WKU head coach)
Radio: WKRD (790 AM) / SIRIUS 94 / XM 198 with Paul Rogers & Doug Ormay
All-Time Series: First meeting
Favorite: Louisville by 30
2010-2011 Record: 10-21 (4-14)
Preseason Conference Pick: 7th (9 teams)
Returning Starters: 4
Head Coach: Matt Brown (Shippensburg ‘94), Sixth Year (56-102)
Probable Starting Lineups:
LOUISVILLE (7-1) Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 20 Chane BEHANAN 6-6 250 So. 9.5 8.3 Cincinnati, Ohio
F 21 Wayne BLACKSHEAR 6-5 230 So. 8.8 3.8 Chicago, Ill.
C 25 Zach PRICE 6-10 250 So. 1.6 1.7 Cleveland, Ohio
G 2 Russ SMITH 6-1 165 Jr. 19.0 2.5 Brooklyn, N.Y.
G 3 Peyton SIVA 6-0 185 Sr. 11.8 1.9 Seattle, Wash.
UMKC (4-4) Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 1 Nelson KIRKSEY 6-3 195 Jr. 5.3 3.1 Pittsburgh, Pa.
F 44 Kirk KORVER 6-7 220 Jr. 9.3 3.5 Pella, Iowa
C 21 Fred CHATMON 6-9 230 Jr. 7.9 7.1 Cleveland, Ohio
G 0 Nate ROGERS 6-1 195 Jr. 7.4 2.4 Maywood, Ill.
G 11 Estan TYLER 6-1 175 So. 9.5 2.9 St. Paul, Minn.
As you know by now, Missouri Kansas City's mascot is a kangaroo. Their second leading scorer is Kyle Korver's brother, Kirk (9.3 ppg) and their tallest player, senior center Brad Reid is 6'11" and hails from...Australia. I'll be severely disappointed if there's no Crocodile Dundee reference in the open thread.
As for the UMKC basketball program, the Roos are 0-15 all-time in games against ranked opponents and are currently #293 nationally in Ken Pomeroy's pyth rankings. Also, UMKC lost by a combined 85 points in games at Seton Hall and Ohio State this past November. So, it's hard to see this being a competitive game for a full 40 minutes, much less Louisville losing to UMKC, but it's no fun dumping on a team and we're not going to do that here.
Within every game lies an opportunity and this afternoon's matchup should provide plenty of things to overanalyze and hyperventilate about, as usual. The first that come to mind for me are the development of Zach Price and the confidence of Luke Hancock. In addition to Kevin Ware, these are guys who will be fighting for a spot in the regular 8-man rotation that we'll likely see come February and need to show what they can do with extended minutes to earn playing team in conference play.
Barring any surprises, home games like these aren't going to do anything for U of L's tournament resume or national respect, but it's still important to maintain a high level of energy and execution when facing overmatched teams. No offense to the Roos, but sometimes the most important thing in December nonleague games is avoiding injury. Let's avoid that this afternoon.
CC Game Prediction: Louisville 79, UMKC 45
Predicted Star of the Game: Luke Hancock
Ridiculously Specific Prediction: Zach Price scores on a tip-dunk in the first four minutes of the game.