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Louisville-Utah Valley preview: Cards look to claim another Billy Minardi Classic title

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Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (10-1) vs. UTAH VALLEY WOLVERINES (5-7)

Game Time: 7:05 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: ESPNU

Announcers: Mike Couzens (play-by-play) and Len Elmore (analyst)

Officials: Tim Comer, Bill McCarthy, Lamar Simpson

Favorite: Louisville by 36.5

All-Time Series: First Meeting

Billy Minardi Classic History:

Probable Starting Lineups:

Statistics:

Relevant Videos:

About Utah Valley:

Utah Valley (5-7) has won three of its last four games, but fell 102-77 to UNC Wilmington in its opening game of the Minardi Classic as Jaden Jackson led the Wolverines with 17 points. Utah Valley leads the WAC in three-pointers per game (7.6), free throw percentage (.706) and in three-point percentage defense (.298).

Konner Frey, a 6-6 junior forward, leads the Wolverines in scoring 15.3 ppg) and rebounding (7.3 rpg) and has scored at least 15 points in seven games this season. Utah Valley is No. 328 in the ratings percentage index and 312 in the Sagarin Ratings through games of Dec. 22. The game against the Cardinals is the fourth of a five-game road stretch for the Wolverines

Notable

--Louisville owns a 17-1 record all-time in the Billy Minardi Classic, and has won the event in 12 of the 13 years it has existed.

--Puerto Rican mascot "Bompy" will be in the house for all four of the Minardi Classic games on Dec. 22 and 23. He sucks and is the absolute worst.

--Louisville junior forward Mangok Mathiang is out 6-8 weeks with a broken bone in his foot.

--UofL leads in the nation in scoring margin (+30.4) and is second in rebounding margin (+16.5) and scoring defense (55.6), and fourth in field goal percentage defense (.352).

--Louisville is 25-3 in the month of December over the last four years.

--Damion Lee has been the Cardinals' top scorer in eight of 10 games this season. He is among the ACC leaders in scoring (18.3, 4th), steals (1.7, 3rd) and free throw percentage (.872, 4th).

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

--Louisville's 133 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.

--The Cardinals have enjoyed success in recent years with its last game before Christmas. Louisville has won 13 of its last 14 games played immediately before Christmas under UofL Coach Rick Pitino. All but four of those have been UofL home games. The Cardinals beat Cal State Northridge 80-55 on Dec. 23, 2014 in Louisville's last game before Christmas last season.

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 88, Utah Valley 58