NO. 5 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (11-1) vs. LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS (5-9)
Game Time: 4:02 p.m.
Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.
Announcers: Dave Weekley (play-by-play) and Bob Valvano (analyst)
Officials: Lamar Simpson, Gary Prager and Jeff Clark
Favorite: Louisville by 19
All-Time Series: Louisville leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Louisville won 79-66 on Nov. 28, 2011 at the Yum Center
About Long Beach State:
The 49ers (5-9) have played their last two games in New York, most recently falling 85-67 at Syracuse on Dec. 28. This will be the sixth consecutive road game for LBSU.
Noted on the watch list for the Lou Henson Award as the nation's best mid-major player, senior guard Mike Caffey is the 49ers leader in scoring (17.6 ppg) and assists (3.6 apg), hitting 31-of-66 three-point goals this season (.470). The two-time All-Big West selection has scored in double figures in 13 of 14 games this season.
Long Beach State is 76th nationally in the ratings percentage index (RPI) and 115th in the Sagarin Ratings through Dec. 28. The 49ers have played the nation's fifth-toughest schedule this season according to the RPI.
--Louisville has a 31-6 record in December over the last four years, including an 19-2 mark the last two seasons.
--Louisville's 107 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 155-9 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'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 has opened with an 11-1 record each of the last three seasons.
--With 10 steals in its last game vs. Kentucky, the Cardinals are averaging 10.9 steals, ranking fourth in the nation. U of L has produced double-digit steals in 10 of its 12 games this season.
--Montrezl Harrell needs just 79 points to reach 1,000 for his career.
--Louisville is 26-0 all-time in games in which sophomore guard David Levitch sees the court.
Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 76, Long Beach State 59