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Louisville-Long Beach State preview: Cards take the court in final Battle 4 Atlantis tune-up

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports


Game Time: 4:02 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: ACC Network Extra/ESPN3/WatchESPN

Announcers: Kent Taylor (play-by-play) and Luke Hancock (analyst)

Officials: Bill Covington, Jr., Michael Roberts and Raymond Styons, Jr

Favorite: Louisville by 21.5

All-Time Series: Louisville leads 2-0

Last Meeting: Louisville won 63-48 on Dec. 30, 2014 at the KFC Yum Center

Probable Starting Lineups:


Relevant Video:

About Long Beach State:

Long Beach State three starters from its 2015-16 team, which posted a 20-15 record and finished third in the Big West Conference. The 49ers participated in postseason NIT and checked in at No. 84 in the final RPI ratings.

LBSU beat Cal State Los Angeles 95-59 in its opener on Nov. 11 before embarking on a nine-game road stretch. The 49ers, who annually play one of the toughest non-conference schedules in all of college basketball, fell 92-55 at Wichita State on Nov. 13 and lost 93-67 at North Carolina on Nov. 15. Long Beach State's schedule has ranked in the top three in each of the last four years, including leading the nation both in 2012-13 and last season.

Juniors Justin Bibbins and Gabe Levin were both honored on the preseason All-Big West team and are expected to be two of the team's three standout performers this season. Bibbins averaged 12.0 points and 5.1 assists last year as a second team All-Big West selection, while Levin averaged 9.5 points and 5.9 rebounds. Loyola Marymount transfer Evan Payne, who sat out last season, averaged 18.0 points per game as a sophomore in 2014-15 and set the LMU school freshman scoring record the previous year. 

Long Beach State was the favorite to win the Big West Conference in a preseason media vote.


--The tip time for this game was originally scheduled for 7 p.m., but was moved up so that fans could avoid a conflict with the football team's 8 p.m. game at Houston.

--Rick Pitino will wear a purple tie during this game in support of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

--Louisville has won 40 consecutive home games in November, a streak which dates all the way back to a loss to Vanderbilt on November 30, 1972. The Cards are 27-0 in November games played inside the Yum Center.

--Louisville's 148 victories over the last six years are the fifth-most wins in the nation in that stretch. The Cards are one of just three teams to win at least 30 games in three of the last five seasons (30-10 in 2011-12, 35-5 in ‘12-13, 31-6 in ‘13-14).

--Today's game is Louisville's first and only "Battle 4 Atlantis opening game." There are five of these games total, with Long Beach State having already participated in one -- a 93-55 loss at Wichita State. All five games are played at campus sites.

--Louisville has blocked double-digit shots in each of its first two games (10 vs. Evansville, 11 vs. William & Mary). It was the first time in six years that the Cardinals had 10 or more swats in back-to-back games and it marked only the fourth and fifth time in the last six years that the Cards had double-digit rejections in a game. UofL's 21 rejections ranks fourth in the nation.

--Long Beach State's uniforms are really cool.

--Louisville has also recorded 10 steals in each of its first two games.

--Louisville has won 48 of its last 49 non-conference games played inside the Yum Center.

--Louisville is one of just four schools which have won 20 or more games in each of the last 14 seasons (also Kansas, Duke and Gonzaga).

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

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 83, Long Beach State 63