LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (19-6, 8-4) vs. SYRACUSE ORANGE (18-8. 8-5)
Game Time: 7:01 p.m.
Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.
Announcers: Bob Wischusen (play-by-play) and LaPhonso Ellis (analyst)
Officials: Roger Ayers, Bryan Kersey, Sean Hull
Favorite: Louisville by 7.5
All-Time Series: Louisville leads 15-8
Last Meeting: Syracuse won 69-59 on Feb. 18, 2015 in Syracuse
Probable Starting Lineups:
Syracuse (18-8, 8-5) opened ACC play with four straight losses but has suddenly won five in a row. That turnaround has the Orange in good shape to make the NCAA Tournament after missing out last season through a self-imposed suspension stemming from an NCAA investigation.
Syracuse is 21st in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (.305), 25th in scoring defense (64.4) and 25th in steals per game (8.1). The Orange are second in the ACC and 35th nationally in three-point field goals per game, averaging 8.9 threes. Senior forward Michael Gbinije leads the Orange and is fourth in the ACC in scoring, averaging 17.4 points, 4.4 assists (sixth in the ACC) and 2.6 three-pointers per game (third in the ACC). Trevor Cooney is second in the ACC in threes per game (2.6).
--Louisville ranks second (64.4 avg.) and Syracuse third (64.6) in scoring defense for conference contests. The Cardinals are also first in field goal percentage defense (.402) while the Orange rank fourth (.420).
--Louisville is seeking its 14th straight 20-win season. The Cardinals are one of four schools to have won 20 or more games each of the past 13 seasons.
--Syracuse's defense has been especially stingy during the current five-game winning streak, limiting the opposition to 63.2 points per game and a .411 shooting percentage.
--UofL leads the nation in scoring margin (+17.1), is seventh in scoring defense (60.8), eighth in field goal percentage defense (.381), 14th in rebound margin (+8.6) and 12th in offensive rebounds (14.1).
--Louisville must beat Syracuse to avoid its first three-game losing streak to unranked teams since January 6, 2001.
--Syracuse F Tyler Roberson is tied for fourth in the country in offensive rebounds per game (4.27).
--Louisville is 15-1 at home this season.
--UofL Coach Rick Pitino was an assistant coach for two seasons on Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim's first staff (1976-78). Pitino was interviewed and hired on his wedding night on April 3, 1976 by Boeheim. He then postponed his honeymoon to leave the following day to recruit Louis Orr, who later signed with the Orange.
Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 67, Syracuse 60