Louisville-Rutgers Preview: Cards And Scarlet Knights Fight For Spot In AAC Semis

Andy Lyons

NO. 2 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (26-5, 15-3) vs. NO. 7 RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS (12-20, 5-13)

Game Time: (Approximately) 3 p.m.

Location: FedEx Forum: Memphis, Tenn.

Television: ESPNU

Announcers: Mike Patrick (play-by-play) and Tim Welsh (analyst)

Favorite: Louisville by 18.5

All-Time Series: Louisville leads 13-1

Last Meeting: Louisville won 102-54 on Feb. 16 in Louisville

Statistics:

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Relevant Video:

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About Rutgers:

Rutgers advanced to the quarterfinals Wednesday night via a 72-68 win over No. 10 seed South Florida. Kadeem Jack led four Scarlet Knights in double figures with 18 points in just his team's second victory in eight games.

The Scarlet Knights have dropped nine in a row to Louisville, the most recent of which being a 48-point beatdown at the Yum Center last month. Rutgers has also lost 15 straight against top 25 teams, including seven times this season by an average of 16.3 points.

Despite playing in the same conference for nearly a decade, this will be the first postseason meeting between the Cardinals and the Scarlet Knights.

Notable:

--Louisville has won two straight conference tournament championships and played in three consecutive conference tournament championships. The Cards have won three league tournament titles in five seasons, and played in four championship games over that same span.

--Louisville leads the nation in turnover margin (+6.9) and ranks second nationally in steals (10.0 per game).

--Louisville has won 33 straight games against unranked opponents, the longest streak in program history.

--Rutgers has lost 15 straight games against ranked opponents.

--Louisville is 2-0 against Rutgers all-time in games played on neutral courts.

--Louisville is 17-6 all-time in their first conference tournament games in years when they've received a bye.

--Louisville has played in seven conference tournaments in Memphis, producing an all-time record of 9-5. The Cards have won two league championships in Memphis, beating the host Tigers in the title game both times.

--No national champions has ever lost the first game of their conference tournament.

--The Scarlet Knights are 1-13 all-time against defending national champions, including two losses to U of L earlier this season. RU defeated No. 8-ranked UConn, 67-60, at the RAC on Jan. 7, 2012 for their lone win over a defending title holder.

--Rutgers' last road victory over a ranked foe was a 77-64 win at Pitt on Jan. 26, 2008.--Louisville is favored in tonight's game for a program-record 43rd straight time. The Cards have not been an underdog since playing at Syracuse on March 2, 2013. All told, U of L has been the favorite in 70 of their last 71 games.

--Louisville's 26-5 start is the second best of the Rick Pitino era and the same record last season's national championship team had through 31 games.

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

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 84, Rutgers 65

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