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Louisville-Virginia Preview: Cards And Cavs Square Off In Top 10 Showdown

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Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

NO. 9 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (19-3, 7-2) AT NO. 3 VIRGINIA CAVALIERS (20-1, 8-1)

Game Time: 7 p.m.

Location: John Paul Jones Arena: Charlottesville, Va.

Television: ESPN

Announcers: Dave O'Brien (play-by-play), Dick Vitale (analyst), and Doris Burke (analyst/reporter)

Officials: Bryan Kersey, Raymond Styons Jr., and Brian Dorsey

Favorite: Virginia by 7

All-Time Series: Virginia leads 5-3

Last Meeting: Louisville won 72-56 on Feb. 19, 1990 in Charlottesville

Series History:

Probable Starting Lineups:

Statistics:

Relevant Videos:

About Virginia:

The third-ranked Cavaliers won their first 19 games of the season before falling to No. 4 Duke a week ago. The defending ACC regular season and tournament champions lead the nation in scoring defense, surrendering just 50.8 points per game.

Junior guard Justin Anderson, named to the midseason watch lists for the Wooden Award and USBWA Oscar Robertson Trophy, leads Virginia in scoring (13.9 ppg, 46-of-92 three-pointers). The Cavaliers are also among the nation's top ten in field goal percentage defense (.355, 3rd in the nation), rebound margin (+9.5, fifth), scoring margin (+17.6, sixth) and assists-to-turnovers ratio (1.56, seventh).

Notable

--Louisville has won 12 straight games in the month of February.

--A win by the Cardinals in Charlottesville would tie them with Virginia in the ACC standings and could, depending on what happens in the Duke-Notre Dame game, put them in a tie for first place in the league.

--Louisville has a 49-26 record in conference games on the road over the last nine seasons, claiming the best road record in both the Big East and AAC during its time in those two leagues.

--A Virginia win would make Tony Bennett the only active coach to have wins over the five active Hall of Fame coaches (Jim Boeheim, Larry Brown, Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, Roy Williams).

--Terry Rozier has averaged 21 points over the last 15 games, scoring over 20 points in eight contests. He has averaged 20.4 points in ACC games, which leads the league. He is second in the ACC in steals. He had his first career double-double vs. North Carolina (22 points, 10 rebounds).

--UVa has shot 47.2 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from 3-point range, while limiting its opponents to 35.5 percent from the field (3rd nationally) and 30.4
percent from 3-point range.

--As of Feb. 4, the Cavaliers rank in the top five nationally in eight defensive categories: points per game (1st), assists per game (2nd), rebounds per game (2nd), true shooting percentage (2nd), field goal percentage (3rd), points per possession (3rd), possessions per 40 minutes (3rd) and effective shooting percentage (4th).

--As of Feb. 4, the Cavaliers rank in the top 10 nationally in three offensive categories: assist-to-turnover ratio (6th), defensive rebound percentage (7th) and rebound percentage (7th).

--UVa has limited its opponents to just 47 total fast-break points, but allowed a season-high 14 in last week's loss to Duke.

--Louisville's 115 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). That one loss a season ago came against North Carolina.

--A Virginia win would give the Hoos back-to-back wins against top 15 teams for the first time since 2004.

--Louisville and Virginia are two of the six teams that have spent this entire season ranked in the top 10. ACC brethren Duke is one of the other four.

--Wayne Blackshear is 124 points away from becoming the 67th member of Louisville's 1,000-point club.

--Louisville is 15-0 this season in games where freshman forward Jaylen Johnson sees the court.

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Virginia 63, Louisville 54