Site: Gampel Pavilion: Storrs, Conn.
Time: Saturday, noon
TV: SNY (Mike "Mr. Cardinal" Gleason, Bob Wenzel)
Favorite: Connecticut by 3
Series: UConn leads, 5-4
Last meeting: Louisville won 78-76 on Feb. 28, 2010 at Gampel Pavilion
|Louisville (16-4, 5-2 Big East)|
|F-Stephan Van Treese||6-9||So.||4.1||3.7|
Reserves: Kyle Kuric, G, 6-4, Jr., 7.5 pts.; George Goode, F, 6-8, Sr., 3.2; Russ Smith, G, 6-0, Fr., 3.0; Elisha Justice, G, 5-10, Fr., 3.6; Tim Henderson, G, 6-2, Fr., 1.1; Mike Marra, G, 6-5, So., 7.5; Gorgui Dieng, C, 6-10, Fr., 6.3; Rakeem Buckles, F, 6-9, So., 8.2.
|Connecticut (17-2, 5-2)|
Reserves: Shabazz Napier, G, 6-0, Fr., 8.4 pts.; Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, F, 6-7, So., 5.1; Niels Giffey, F, 6-7, Fr., 3.0; Donnell Beverly, G, 6-4, Sr., 2.8; Charles Okwandu, C, 7-0, Sr., 2.4.
NAVIGATING PRESSURE: With Walker, Napier and Beverley, Jim Calhoun feels comfortable that the Huskies have the speed and poise to negotiate the signature Louisville 2-2-1 press. "It will be a focus game," Calhoun said. "They will be truly tested. This will be the biggest test they have, as far as pressure, all year."
The dueling point guards lead the conference in steals, with Peyton Siva at 2.3 per game and Walker at 2.1.
THE KEMBA BALANCE: Teams continue to send multiple defenders at Walker, but have begun to pay more often with the emergence of players like freshman Jeremy Lamb, whose potential is off-the-charts. "Often times if you try to just put your defense where you're just stopping Kemba and then the other guys all shoot a high percentage because of that," Rick Pitino said. "We don't want that to happen."
"I loved him in high school and he's just gotten better with each year," Pitino added. "He considered going pro last year and (UConn coach Jim Calhoun) gave him the right advice to stay in school and now he's playing himself into the lottery."
Walker averaged 21.5 points and 38.7 percent shooting against the Cardinals in 2009-10. He played behind former Louisville point guard Edgar Sosa at Rice High School in New York.
Lamb is averaging 18.0 points - 9.1 above his average - and 58.3 percent from the field in the last three games.
DEFENDING THE THREE: Louisville has made a Big East-high 184 three-pointers. The Huskies will be challenged to spread out defensively. "I think you have to get back," Calhoun said. "You not only have to stop the ball but you have to fan out to three-point shooters. That becomes a difficulty."
Louisville shot 43.5 percent on 3-pointers in two victories over UConn in 2009-10, making 10 in each contest. The Cardinals, though, have made 25.5 percent of their 3s (12 for 47) in the last two games.
CC Prediction: Connecticut 73, Louisville 62