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Louisville-Western Kentucky Preview: Cards Look For 6th Straight Win Over WKU

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Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

NO. 4 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (9-0) AT WESTERN KENTUCKY HILLTOPPERS (5-4)

Game Time: Noon

Location: E.A. Diddle Arena: Bowling Green, Ky.

Television: Fox Sports 1

Announcers: Ron Thulin (play-by-play) and Mike Jarvis (analyst)

Officials: Pat Adams, Raymond Styons, Jr. and Tim Nestor

Favorite: Louisville by 12.5

All-Time Series: Western Kentucky leads 39-38

Last Meeting: Louisville won 79-63 on Dec. 14, 2013 at the KFC Yum Center

Probable Starting Lineups:

Statistics:

Relevant Videos:

About Western Kentucky:

Western Kentucky enters today playing its best basketball of the season after pulling off a road win over Ole Miss (81-74) and beating Chicago State handily (75-60) on Wednesday. The 'Tops have averaged 79.0 points on 48.1 percent shooting over their last three games. That's the good news, the bad news is they rank outside the top 100 averaging 25.3 defensive rebounds while the Cardinals are third with 17.7 offensive boards per contest.

WKU guard T.J. Price is the man to watch for U of L. He's averaging a team-best 17.1 ppg, and has gone 13 of 22 from 3-point range in the last three games. Bowling Green native George Fant is also once again a force in the paint, averaging 11.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.

Western Kentucky has a 39-38 edge over Louisville in the series which dates back to 1926, although the Cards have won 22 of the last 25 meetings. This will be the 10th meeting in the last 21 years and seventh straight year between the teams, with Louisville winning the last five matchups. WKU's last victory in the series was 68-55 on Nov. 30, 2008 in Nashville. U of L won 114-82 on its last visit to Bowling Green (12/22/10).

Notable

--No. 4 Louisville will be the highest-ranked team to visit Diddle Arena since No. 2 Georgetown played there in 1984. The Hoyas won that game in overtime.

--Western Kentucky is 6-26 all-time against top five teams. Their last win came against No. 3 Louisville on Nov. 30, 2008 in Nashville.

--Louisville has not trailed past the 16:04 mark of the second half in any game this season.

--Louisville has a 29-5 record in December over the last four years, including a 17-1 mark the last two seasons.

--Louisville is favored in today's game for a program-record 58th 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 82 of its last 83 games.

--Montrezl Harrell has scored in double figures in 21 consecutive games, the longest such streak of any ACC player.

--Louisville's 105 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 34 straight games at home against non-conference opponents, the fifth-longest current streak in the nation.

--WKU has lost eight-straight games against ranked opponents going back to a 76-69 win over No. 24 Vanderbilt on Dec. 11, 2009.

--Louisville is off to a 9-0 start for the eighth time in program history. The Cardinals are one of nine remaining unbeaten teams in Division-I.

--With 10 steals in its last game vs. UNC Wilmington, the Cardinals are averaging 11.1 steals, ranking fourth in the nation. U of L has produced double-digit steals in eight of its nine games this season.

--Louisville freshman Shaqquan Aaron is eligible to play today for the first time in his college career.

--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 102 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 73, Western Kentucky 61