NO. 9 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (20-4, 8-3) vs. NC STATE WOLFPACK (14-11, 5-7)
Game Time: 4:10 p.m.
Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.
Announcers: Dave Lamont (play-by-play) and Kara Lawson (analyst)
Officials: Roger Ayers, Bill Covington Jr., and Terry Wymer
Favorite: Louisville by 10.5
All-Time Series: Tied 8-8
Last Meeting: NC State won 101-89 on Feb. 13, 1988 in Raleigh
Probable Starting Lineups:
About NC State:
NC State (14-11, 5-7 ACC) had eight days off before its 51-47 loss to Virginia on Feb. 11, falling for the fifth time in six games as Trevor Lacey scored 14 points to lead the Wolfpack in the setback. Four of NC State's five most recent losses have been by five or fewer points.
Lacey, a junior guard, leads NC State and is fifth in the ACC in scoring (16.6 ppg, 21 double figure scoring games this season) and has made 57-of-136 three-point goals (.419). Ranked 18th nationally in blocked shots (5.5), NC State is 63rd in the ratings percentage index (RPI) with the nation's fifth-toughest schedule and 44th in the Sagarin Ratings through Feb. 11.
Only three teams in the country (Kansas, Missouri, UNC-Chapel Hill) have played a more challenging schedule than NC State. According to ESPN.com's Daily RPI, NC State has played the nation's fourth-toughest schedule. After 12 ACC games, NC State's conference strength of schedule is 12th in the nation. The Pack has already played nine games against the current RPI top 50, highlighted by wins over Duke and Boise State. Overall, the Wolfpack has four wins against top 80 teams (Duke, Boise State, Pitt, Louisiana Tech) and nine of NC State's 11 losses are to teams in the top 70 of the RPI.
--Louisville is 44-11 in the month of February over the last 8 seasons.
--Terry Rozier has averaged 21.8 points and 6.8 rebounds over the last six games, scoring over 20 points in five. He has averaged 18.5 points overall and 20.2 in ACC games, both which lead the league. He is second in the ACC in steals.
--Saturday's contest at Louisville comes 27 years and one day after the last NC State-Louisville meeting, which was played in 1988. Vinny Del Negro scored 29 points to lead the Wolfpack to a 101-89 win in that contest. Louisville was led by Pervis Ellison's 20 points.
--Saturday's game will pit the ACC's two top shot blocking teams. NC State is second in the ACC with 5.52 swats per game, trailing just Louisville (5.88).
--In NCSU's 14 wins this season, guards Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner have combined for 33.0 points per game on .463 field goal shooting and 8.7 rebounds per game. In 11 losses, the duo has combined for 24.9 points on .426 shooting and 5.9 rebounds.
--Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier have combined to outscore Louisville's opponent by themselves in two of the Cards' last three games.
--Louisville's 116 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 159-9 over the last 14 seasons under Coach Rick Pitino when scoring 80 or more points (20-1 last season, 11-1 in 2012-13).
Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 73, NC State 62