NO. 11 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (8-1) vs. TEXAS SOUTHERN TIGERS (4-4)
Game Time: 2:04 p.m.
Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.
Television: ACC Regional Sports Networks (Fox Sports South locally)
Announcers: Wes Durham (play-by-play) and Jason Capel (analyst)
Officials: Ted Valentine, Jeb Hartness and Bill McCarthy
Favorite: No Line
All-Time Series: First Meeting
Probable Starting Lineups:
About Texas Southern:
Coached by former Indiana head coach Mike Davis, Texas Southern has been the king of the SWAC for the past few years. The Tigers made the NCAA Tournament in 2014 and 2015, and dominated the conference with a 16-2 mark a year ago before being upset by Southern in the league tournament semifinals. They are the preseason pick to win the conference once again.
Like so many low major teams, Texas Southern has to pay for its program with a bevy of early season buy games on the road. The Tigers are a little bit different than everyone else though, as their first 16 games of the 2016-17 season are all on the road. Their home fans won't have an opportunity to see the team play in their own arena until Jan. 14.
TSU's best player is one of the most interesting players in college basketball. Derrick Griffin was rated as the No. 3 wide receiver in the country coming out of high school, and signed to play football at Miami in 2013. However, he was an academic non-qualifier and never got to suit up for the Hurricanes.
Griffin eventually enrolled at Texas Southern and finally got himself eligible to participate in football for the 2015 season. In the process, he made the somewhat unexpected announcement that he also planned to suit up for the basketball team. All he did next notch a double-double in 14 consecutive games and get named SWAC Player of the Year. He was kicked off the football team in September, but is still playing basketball. Even though his numbers are down a bit this year, he's still one of the best pure athletes Louisville will face this season.
The Tigers are led in scoring by junior guard Zach Lofton, who is suiting up for the first time for TSU after transferring in from Illinois State. He's currently pouring in 21.0 ppg. Senior point guard Dulani Robinson, a transfer from Pacific, is averaging 13.3 ppg, 5.7 apg, and 4.6 rpg despite standing just 5'8.
--Louisville has a 28-4 record during the month of December over the last four years, winning 16 of its last 19 in the month.
--Louisville has won 51 of its last 52 non-conference games at the KFC Yum Center.
--Donovan Mitchell leads the ACC and is 21st in the nation in steals (2.4 per game).
--Louisville is 6-0 all-time against teams from the SWAC.
--Under Rick Pitino, Louisville is 47-3 when facing a program for the first time.
--Mike Davis is 1-2 against Louisville.
--Louisville leads the nation in Ken Pomeroy's adjusted defensive efficiency through Dec. 7. The Cardinals are 10th in the nation in field goal percentage defense (.361), 12th in scoring defense (58.4 ppg), 10th in blocked shots (6.6 per game), 21st in three-point field goal defense (.279), 24th in turnover margin (+4.4), 17th in rebound margin (+9.3), ninth in rebounds per game (44.1) and 31st in scoring margin (+16.4).
--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 78, Texas Southern 57