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Louisville-UNC Wilmington Preview: Cards Welcome Kevin Keatts Back For Billy Minardi Classic

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NO. 4 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (8-0) vs. UNC WILMINGTON SEAHAWKS (3-2)

Game Time: 6 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: ESPNU

Announcers: Tom Hart (play-by-play) and Brooke Weisbrod (analyst)

Officials: Raymond Styons, Jr., Tim Clougherty and Louie Andrakakos

Favorite: Louisville by 28

All-Time Series: First meeting

Probable Starting Lineups:

Statistics:

Relevant Videos:

About UNC Wilmington:

The Seahawks have had an 11-day break since shooting 70.3 percent from the field in a  105-47 victory over NAIA team St. Andrews. Freddie Jackson scored a career-high 33 points to lead the effort, which marked the largest margin of victory in program history.

Jackson, a 6'4 senior, leads UNCW in scoring, averaging 18.0 points and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 55.7 percent from the field. Wilmington is ninth nationally in field goal percentage (.523), ninth in three-point field goal percentage (.432) and 16th in steals (9.6).

The Seahawks are coached by former U of L assistant Kevin Keatts, who is in his first season as a head coach after helping the Cardinals produce a 96-21 record over the last three years (2011-14). Keatts is one of 27 former Rick Pitino assistants or players who have risen to a collegiate head coaching position.

Notable

--Rick Pitino is 37-10 all-time against former assistant coaches.

--Tonight's game is the 2014 Billy Minardi Classic, which originated in 2002 to honor the memory of Billy Minardi, the brother-in-law of U of L Coach Rick Pitino who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Louisville has won 11 championships in 12 years of the event, in which the Cardinals have a 15-1 record.

--Louisville has not trailed past the 16 minute mark of the second half in any game this season.

--Louisville has a 28-5 record in December over the last four years, including a 16-1 mark the last two seasons.

--Louisville is favored in tonight's game for a program-record 57th 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 81 of their last 82 games.

--Montrezl Harrell has scored in double figures in 20 consecutive games, the longest such streak of any ACC player.

--Louisville's 104 victories over the last four years are the most wins in the nation in that stretch. Louisville is the only school in the nation with three straight 30 win seasons, including a school-record 35 victories amassed by Louisville's 2012-13 NCAA Championship team (30 in 2011- 12, 31 in 2013-14).

--U of L is 154-9 over the last 14 seasons under Coach Rick Pitino when scoring 80 or more points (20-1 last season, 11-1 in 2012-13).

--Louisville has won 33 straight games at home against non-conference opponents, the fifth-longest current streak in the nation.

--With 10 steals in their last game vs. Indiana, the Cardinals are averaging 11.3 steals, ranking fourth in the nation.

--Louisville has produced double-digit steals in seven of its eight games this season.

--Louisville's +25.9 scoring margin is third in the nation, its +5.5 turnover margin is 11th and rebounding margin of +11.5 is seventh nationally.

--The Cardinals are seventh in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 52.4 points per game.

--Louisville's 87-26 win over Savannah State was Rick Pitino's 22nd victory at U of L that came by 40 points or more, the most of any coach in Cardinal history.

--Louisville is 25-0 all-time in games in which sophomore guard David Levitch sees the court.

--Montrezl Harrell is just 121 points short of becoming the 66th career 1,000-point scorer at Louisville. With seven dunks against Indiana, Harrell became the school's all-time leader in that category.

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 86, UNC Wilmington 60