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Louisville-Duke preview: Cardinals and Blue Devils square off in top 15 showdown

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

NO. 14 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (14-3, 2-2) vs. NO. 7 DUKE BLUE DEVILS (14-3, 2-2)

Game Time: 12:04 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: ESPN

Announcers: Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst) and Maria Taylor (reporter)

Officials: Mike Eades, Ed Corbett, Pat Driscoll

Favorite: Louisville by 4

All-Time Series: Duke leads 7-5

Last Meeting: Louisville won 71-64 on Feb. 20, 2016 at the KFC Yum Center

Series History:

Probable Starting Lineup:


Relevant Videos:

About Duke:

The near-unanimous preseason No. 1, Duke enters Saturday afternoon's game against Louisville with a 2-2 ACC record and coming off a 16-point road loss to No. 9 Florida State. The Blue Devils are also without head coach  Mike Krzyzewski, who has handed the reigns to assistant Jeff Capel while he spends a month recovering from back surgery to repair a herniated disc.

What Duke does have is an offense that ranks seventh in the nation in scoring margin (+18.6) and 18th in scoring offense (84.5 ppg). The Devils also rank 10th in three-point field goal defense (.291), 15th in three-point field goal percentage defense (.291), 29th in free throws made (306), 36th in rebounding margin (+6.1) and 29th in field goal percentage (.483). They are the seventh-most efficient offensive team in the country according to Ken Pomeroy's rankings.

Duke is led by sophomore guard Luke Kennard, who leads the team and ranks second in the ACC in scoring at 20.4 ppg. Freshman Jayson Tatum, a likely top five pick in the next NBA Draft, missed the first part of the season because of injury, but is now pouring in 17.4 ppg. Preseason national Player of the Year Grayson Allen has had well-publicized issues both on and off the court, but is still averaging 15.3 ppg and a team-best 4.6 assists per game.

The Blue Devils will be without the services of senior captain Amile Jefferson, who is currently averaging a double-double. Jefferson, who missed most of last season with a broken right foot, bruised a bone in that same foot last Saturday in Duke's win over Boston College.


--Louisville has won at least 14 of its first 17 games for the fifth straight season.

--Louisville ranks second in the nation in blocked shots at 6.8 blocks per game.

--With just six players who have reached double figures in games played, Duke has utilized seven different starting lineups in 17 games this season.

--Duke's Luke Kennard is one of two ACC players, alongside Pitt's Jamel Artis, to rank in the top five in the league in both scoring (4th, 20.4) and field goal percentage (4th, .532).

--Donovan Mitchell is tied for the ACC lead and is 18th in the nation in steals (2.2 per game).

--Grayson Allen had six personal fouls in last year's game at Louisville, a feat accomplished by only 26 Division I players in the last seven years.

--Allen has assumed primary point guard duties in Duke's reconfigured rotation. In ACC games, he leads the league with an average of 7.7 assists per game and ranks fourth with a 2.56 assist-to-turnover ratio.

--Louisville has a 35-16 record during the month of January over the last seven years, including a 19-7 record in the last four years.

--Duke has outscored teams by a total of 123 points (7.2 per game) from the free throw line.

--Louisville has a 30-8 record in its conference home games over the last five years (.789), including an 8-1 record last season in ACC games in the KFC Yum! Center.

--Duke's Jayson Tatum is the second-leading freshman scorer in ACC play with an average of 20.0 per night. He has eclipsed the 20-point mark in Duke's last two games.

--Duke is the only team to finish in the nation's top 10 in adjusted offensive efficiency in each of the last eight years.

--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).

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 74, Duke 70