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Louisville vs. Kennesaw State preview: Cardinals look to keep rolling

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Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (7-1) vs. KENNESAW STATE OWLS (3-8)

Game Time: 7:01 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: ESPNU

Announcers: Adam Amin (play-by-play) and Brooke Weisbrod (analyst)

Officials: Terry Wymer, Tony Chiazza, Earl Walton

Favorite: Louisville by 35.5

All-Time Series: First Meeting

Probable Starting Lineups:

Statistics:

Relevant Videos:

About Kennesaw State:

Kennesaw State (3-8) had a nine-day break prior to tonight's game in order for its players to properly deal with semester finals. The Owls beat Thomas University 69-59 on Dec. 7 in their last game as junior guard Kendrick Ray produced his third double-double in four games with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. In his previous game, Ray totaled 23 points and six rebounds at No. 15 West Virginia on Dec. 5.

The Owls are coached by Al Skinner, a teammate of UofL Coach Rick Pitino's at Massachusetts from 1970-74. In his first season at Kennesaw State, Skinner is a former Atlantic 10, Big East and national coach of the year.

Preseason All-Atlantic Sun selection Yonel Brown, a 5-9 senior guard, is among two returning starters from the Owls' team which posted a 10-22 record a year ago. Brown leads the nation in minutes played (38:54 average). Ray, a 6-1 guard, is a transfer from Quinnipiac University and leads the Owls in scoring at 16.1 points per game, just ahead of Brown's 16.0 average. They are the lone two players averaging double figures.

Notable

--Louisville is 7-1 all-time against current members of the Atlantic Sun. The Cards also faced, and defeated, reigning A-Sun champion North Florida earlier this season.

--Louisville sophomore forward Anas Mahmoud will not play because of a sprained ankle.

--Kennesaw State will be the 312th different opponent that Louisville basketball has faced. The Cards are 45-2 under Rick Pitino when facing a team for the first time in program history, and have won 16 in a row in said situations.

--UofL leads in the nation in scoring margin (+30.6), is second in rebounding margin (+16.9), scoring defense (55.4) and field goal percentage defense (.339).

--Louisville is 22-3 in the month of December over the last four years.

--This is just Kennesaw State's 11th season as a member of Division-I.

--Louisville is sixth nationally in field goal percentage (.516). UofL has shot above 50 percent in seven of its eight games. The Cards shot 50 percent or above on eight occasions all last season. UofL leads the ACC in scoring (87.5 ppg).

--Damion Lee has been the Cardinals' top scorer in seven of eight games this season. He is among the ACC leaders in steals (1.76, 3rd), scoring (18.8, 4th) and field goal percentage (.537, 9th). He needs 12 points for 1,700 career points.

--Louisville has opened with an 11-1 record in each of the last three seasons.

--Since the 2003-04 season, Division-I teams are are 411-0 when favored by more than 26 points.

--Louisville's 130 victories over the last five years are the second-most wins in the nation in that stretch. Louisville and Wichita State are the only schools in the nation to win 30 games in three of the last four seasons, including a school-record 35 victories amassed by Louisville's 2012-13 NCAA Championship team.

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 82, Kennesaw State 54