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Louisville vs. Dayton Open Thread (With Mini Preview)

Well we've fully indulged in all the joys of Thanksgiving, and then the subsequent time-honored day after Thanksgiving tradition of eating turkey sandwiches and watching the Texas-Texas A&M game, and now we're pretty sure we can't get up (true story, typing this while lying down on a couch, it's awesome). Luckily there's really no reason for us to go anywhere since Louisville basketball is about to take center stage on the CC television, and with the football game at 3:30 tomorrow, we may just have to spend another 24-hours in this oh so comfortable position.

What a holiday.

The Cardinals hit the road for the first time this year, taking on the University of Dayton at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati in what is technically a home game for the Flyers.

As if being deprived of the services of super freshman Derrick Caracter weren't enough, Louisville will be without sophomore point guard Andre McGee who had successful surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee on Tuesday and will be out of action for 3-6 weeks. Exciting freshman Edgar Sosa will be forced into logging an increased number of minutes with McGee out.

The loss of McGee could prove to be especially costly on the defensive end, where Sosa will be forced to guard Dayton's Brian Roberts who is averaging 23.8 points a game and shooting 53% from the floor.

"He`s very quick (Roberts). And Sosa struggles at the defensive end," said Cardinal coach Rick Pitino. "He`s got to turn around now and guard one of the premier guards around. He`s one of the best scorers in the country and a heck of a basketball player."

Jerry Smith's 24 points in last Saturday's season-opening win over Northwestern State set a new Louisville freshman record, but Dayton will counter with a record-breaking freshman of their own. Marcus Johnson scored 23 points in a 78-62 win over Austin Peay on Nov. 11, setting a new UD freshman record.

Louisville leads the all-time series with Dayton 39-25, and had won 19 straight before being embarrassed 91-68 in Freedom Hall on Dec. 23, 2000, the last meeting between the two schools.

The Flyers (3-1) suffered a tough loss at SMU (53-48) last week, but a win over Louisville would do wonders for a team looking to bounce back from a 14-17 season a year ago. For a Cardinal team looking to return to the NCAA tournament after taking an unexpected year off in 2006, these are the types of games you cannot lose, regardless of the extenuating circumstances.  

Team leaders Terrence Williams and the injured duo of David Padgett and Brandon Jenkins must find a way to rally the troops and get the job done this evening. This game should provide some quality insight as to whether or not expectations of this team competing in the Big East are justified.

CC Prediction: Louisville 79, Dayton 67

All thoughts on today's game are welcome in this thread.