Louisville-Uconn Preview

Andy Lyons

LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (15-3, 4-1) AT CONNECTICUT HUSKIES (14-3, 2-2)

Game Time: 9:05 p.m.

Location: Gampel Pavilion: Storrs, Conn.

Television: ESPN

Announcers: Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Dick Vitale (analyst) and Shannon Spake (reporter)

Favorite: Louisville by 2

Officials: Tom O'Neill, Ted Valentine and Mike Stuart

All-Time Series: Louisville leads 8-6

Last Meeting: Louisville won 73-58 on Jan. 14, 2013 in Storrs

Series History:

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Probable Starting Lineups:

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Statistics:

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Relevant Video:

Refuse the ball screen.


About Connecticut:

UConn (14-3 overall, 2-2 American) is coming off an 83-73 road victory at Memphis on Thursday. The Huskies are led by senior Shabazz Napier, who tops the team in scoring (16.1), rebounding (6.2), and assists (6.2). Juniors DeAndre Daniels (13.4) and Ryan Boatright (12.4) also average double figures.

Napier leads The American in assists (6.2, 13th nationally), is second in steals (2.1) and his 16.1 scoring average ranks ninth in the league. UConn is among the national leaders in blocked shots (7.0, third nationally), three-point field goal percentage (.414, eighth) and free throw percentage (.767, seventh). Connecticut is No. 30 in the Sagarin Ratings, No. 17 in the ratings percentage index (RPI) through Jan. 16.

Louisville has an 8-6 series advantage over Connecticut, winning six of the last seven matchups. Louisville won the last meeting 73-58 in Gampel Pavilion (1-14-13) as Russ Smith scored 23 points to lead the Cardinals, which had moved up to No. 1 in the national AP poll earlier that day.

ESPN College GameDay:

Saturday's game at Connecticut will be a centerpiece for ESPN's College GameDay presented by State Farm special split site show. The opening weekend of GameDay will also feature the LaSalle vs. Temple game earlier that day in Philadelphia. 

It is the eighth time Louisville has been a participant in the featured game, including twice serving as the host site for the event. The Cardinals have won four of those seven previous contests (three of the last four), including three victories on the road.

COLLEGE GAMEDAY RESULTS:

Date Opponent (site) Result
2/26/05 Memphis (A) W 53-44
1/21/06 #3 Connecticut (H) L 58-71
2/18/06 Syracuse (A) L 66-79
2/9/08 #6 Georgetown (H) W 59-51
3/7/09 West Virginia (A) W 62-59
1/21/12 Pittsburgh (A) W 73-62
2/9/13 Notre Dame (A) L 104-101 (5 OT)

Notable:

--Louisville is 4-2 in road games against Connecticut and has won six of the last seven meetings with the Huskies.

--Rick Pitino is 12-11 all-time against UConn.

--This is the eighth time Louisville has been a part of an ESPN College GameDay game, and the sixth such time they've done so as the road team. The Cards are 4-3 in GameDay games.

--Tonight's game marks the fourth time ESPN's College Basketball GameDay has visited Gampel Pavilion. UConn is 2-3 in GameDay games, and 0-2 at home.

--Louisville is third in the nation in turnover margin (+7.0) and is 30th in fewest turnovers per game (10.5). U of L has committed 10 or fewer turnovers in 12 of its last 21 games dating back to last year. The Cardinals are generating an average of 21.4 points per game off turnovers.

--Over its 18 games this season, Louisville has produced 40 runs of 8-0 or better, including runs of 10-0, 9-0 and 11-0 against Houston in its last game.

--Connecticut is 2-0 against ranked opponents this season. The Huskies previously defeated Florida and Memphis.

--Louisville has won 26 straight games against unranked opponents, the longest such streak in program history. The Cards last lost to an unranked team last season against eventual Big East regular season champion Georgetown.

--Louisville ranks among the nation's top 40 in 11 statistical categories through games of Jan. 16. Individually Luke Hancock (.866) is 54th in free throw percentage, Russ Smith is 66th in assists (4.9) and 50th in steals (2.1), Montrezl Harrell is 87th in rebounding (8.2) and Chris Jones is 68th in steals (1.9).

--Louisville is the defending Division-I national champion.

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Connecticut 70, Louisville 69

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