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Louisville vs. Pittsburgh preview: Cards host Panthers in top 25 clash

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Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (13-3, 2-1) vs. PITTSBURGH PANTHERS (14-1, 3-0)

Game Time: 9:05 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: ESPN

Announcers: Karl Ravech (play-by-play) and Seth Greenberg (analyst)

Officials: Bryan Kersey, Michael Roberts, John Gaffney

Favorite: Louisville by 7.5

All-Time Series: Louisville leads 10-5

Last Meeting: Louisville won 69-56 on Feb. 11, 2015 at the Yum Center

Series History:

Probable Starting Lineups:

Statistics:

Relevant Videos:

About Pitt:

Like Louisville, 17th-ranked Pittsburgh has used the graduate transfer rule to bolster the experience of an otherwise young group, and has done so with a great deal of success. Guard Sterling Smith has averaged 7.2 points and 4.2 rebounds while starting each game, and forwards Rafael Maia and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa have switched off starting and combined for 5.3 points and 7.0 boards per game.

The Panthers are led in scoring by junior forward Michael Young (17.5 ppg), who has scored in double figures in every game but one this season. Fellow junior forward Jamel Artis is the team's second-leading scorer (16.0 ppg), and has averaged 19.6 ppg over the team's last five contests. Guard James Robinson has been spectacular in his senior season, averaging 10.0 ppg, but more importantly leading the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (6.75:1). Robinson is the lone Panther contributor who was around when both Pitt and Louisville competed in the Big East Conference.

Pitt,typically a defensive-oriented team, is averaging 85.3 points per game - the highest mark in program history and well above last season's 67.0. They have amassed 90 points six times and averaged 89.0 while shooting 51.4 percent in their last three.

Pittsburgh made 10 3-pointers for the fourth time in Saturday's 86-82 win at Notre Dame, the Panthers' first true road game and third win to open conference play - just the second time they have done that in the last five seasons after doing it in eight of the previous 10. Jamie Dixon's club is known for getting to the foul line early and often, taking care of the ball, and getting good looks out of their halfcourt sets.

Notable

--Louisville has won six consecutive games against Pitt, matching its longest such streak against an ACC opponent. The Cards have also won six straight over Virginia Tech.

--Pitt will be looking to win 11 games in a row for the first time since a 16-game run to open the 2008-09 season.

--Chinanu Onuaku's next rebound will be the 300th of in his career. He has averaged 10.9 rebounds over the last seven games, grabbing double-digit boards in five of those games. He has made 72.2 percent of his field goals in the last 5 games.

--UofL leads the nation in scoring margin (+23.1), is second in rebounding margin (+13.3), third in scoring defense (58.8), and third in field goal percentage defense (.361).

--Pitt is 51-62 all-time in matchups featuring two AP Top 25 teams, including a 33-35 record under Jamie Dixon.

--Louisville is 12th in the nation in field goal percentage (.497). UofL has shot above 50 percent in 10 of its 16 games. The Cards shot 50 percent or above on eight occasions all last season. UofL is 24th nationally in scoring (81.9 ppg).

--Louisville is 11-0 at the KFC Yum Center this season. The Cards have shot 52.0 percent at home while holding opponents to 34.1 percent.

--Pitt's James Robinson owns a career 3.58:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, tops in NCAA history (minimum 400 assists). Robinson has recorded more assists than turnovers in 111 of 118 career games. He has been turnover-free eight times and leads the NCAA in assist-to-turnover ratio (6.75:1).

--Pitt has outrebounded 12 of 15 opponents this season and has grabbed 40 or more boards in eight contests. Louisville (+13.3) and Pitt (+10.9) rank first and second, respectively, in the ACC in rebound margin.

--Louisville has a 29-14 record during the month of January over the last five years, including an 13-5 record in the last two years.

--Louisville's 136 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.

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 78, Pittsburgh 69