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Louisville vs. UC Irvine preview: Cards to look to start 2015 NCAA Tournament the right way

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports


Game Time: (Approximately) 4:10 p.m.

Location: KeyArena: Seattle, Wash.

Television: TBS

Announcers: Spero Dedes (play-by-play), Mike Gminski (analyst), and Jaime Maggio (reporter)

Favorite: Louisville by 8.5

All-Time Series: First meeting


Relevant Video:


--Louisville is making its 41st NCAA Tournament appearance. The Cardinals have reached the NCAA Tournament 32 of the last 39 years (nine straight, 12 of the last 13, 14 of the last 17 years, 20 of last 24). The Cards have reached the Sweet 16 on 20 occasions and have advanced to the Elite Eight four of the last seven seasons. Louisville is sixth in tournament victories (72) and is fifth in NCAA Tournament appearances (41). UofL has a 72-41 overall record in the big dance, and has reached the Final Four 10 times.

--This is Louisville's 9th straight NCAA Tournament appearance, the longest such streak in program history.

--This will be UC Irvine's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

--This is Louisville's 5th appearance in the EastRegion. The Cards made the Elite 8 two of the last three times they were sent East (1997, 2008).

--The Anteaters have won 48 of their last 49 games when holding the opposition to 60 points or less and are 15-1 in those games this season.

--This is the 10th time the Cardinals have entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed. (also: 1981, 1989, 1990, 1993, 2003, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2014). U of L advanced to the NCAA Final Four from a No. 4 seed in both 2005 and 2012. Louisville has a 16-9 record as a No. 4 seed since the NCAA began seeding teams in 1979.

--A 13 seed has defeated a 4 seed in six of the past seven NCAA Tournaments.

--Louisville is 49-9 in the NCAA Tournament when they are the better seed.

--The Anteaters have blocked 390 shots over the past two seasons, including a school-record 224 last season (106 by 7'6 center Mamadou Ndiaye). UCI has 166 rejections this season with at least 20 each by five players. The Anteater roster, including the 7'6 Ndiaye and 7'2 Ioannis Dimakopoulos, has seven players 6'8 or taller.

--Since March, 2012, Louisville owns an overall record of 24-3 in postseason play.

--Under Rick Pitino, Louisville is 13-1 in NCAA Tournament games when favored by 8 points or more.

--Louisville is 9-1 all-time against 13 seeds.

--Wayne Blackshear needs just 21 points to become Louisville's 67th all-time 1,000-point scorer.

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 65, UC Irvine 59