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Louisville-Houston Preview: Cards Look To Sweep Season Series With Cougars

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Andy Lyons

LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (18-4, 7-2) AT HOUSTON COUGARS (11-11, 3-6)

Game Time: 9:05 p.m.

Location: Hofheinz Pavilion: Houston, Texas

Television: ESPNU

Announcers: Jason Benetti (play-by-play) and Tim Welsh (analyst)

Favorite: Louisville by 14.5

Officials: John Higgins, Mark Whitehead and Gerry Pollard

All-Time Series: Louisville leads 14-5

Last Meeting: Louisville won 91-52 on Jan. 16 at the Yum Center.

Series History:

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Probable Starting Lineups:

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Statistics:

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Relevant Video:

About Houston:

The Cougars (11-11, 3-6 AAC) have dropped four straight and six of its last seven, including a 93-70 defeat at Rutgers in its last game on Feb. 1. They've lost their last four games by an average of 20 points.

It will be Guy V. Lewis Night at Houston this evening, honoring the Cougar coach who entered the Basketball Hall of Fame along with UofL's Rick Pitino in 2013.

Junior forward TaShawn Thomas has been Houston's rock, and is the only player in The American to rank among the league's top six in both scoring (15.8 ppg, 6th) and rebounding (8.6 rpg, 2nd). The Cougars are 13th nationally in blocked shots, swatting 6.1 per game. Thomas is 18th in the nation individually with 3.0 blocks per game.

Notable:

--Louisville is 6-2 all-time at Houston, but lost in their most recent visit, a 70-67 defeat back in 2005.

--Louisville is second in the nation in turnover margin (+6.8) and is 39th in fewest turnovers per game (10.6). U of L has committed 10 or fewer turnovers in 14 of its last 25 games dating back to last year. The Cardinals are generating an average of 22.1 points per game off turnovers.

--Your Guy V. Lewis Night promo:

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--Houston has lost its last four games by a combined 80 points.

--Chicken Knowles is the man.

--Since the 2007-08 season, Louisville is 36-10 in the month of February.

--Wayne Blackshear, who scored a career-high 23 points in the first meeting with Houston, did not travel with the rest of the team after suffering a concussion in practice on Monday.

--This happened today (via Kenny Klein):

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--Houston has given up an average of 82.5 points during its current four-game skid - 14.4 worse than its first 18 games - and allowed a season-high in a 93-70 road loss to Rutgers in its last game.

--Louisville has won 29 straight games against unranked teams, the longest such streak in program history.

--Houston has won its last two home games against ranked teams, including an upset of Connecticut on New Year's Eve.

--Louisville is 44-19 all-time when ranked No. 14 in the AP poll, and 9-6 under Rick Pitino.

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 79, Houston 67