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Louisville-George Mason preview: Cards kick off 2017-18 season

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Let’s goooo

Louisville v Syracuse Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

Louisville Cardinals (0-0) vs. George Mason Patriots (1-0)

Game Time: 2:06 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, KY

Television: Regional Sports Networks (FOX Sports South in Louisville)

Announcers: Tom Werme (play-by-play) and Mike Gminksi (analyst)

Officials: James Luckie, John Gaffney, Anthony Burris

Favorite: Louisville by 19

Series: Louisville leads 3-0

Last Meeting: Louisville won 132-87 on Jan. 4, 1994 at Freedom Hall

Series History:

Louisville holds a 3-0 edge in the series, with all three contests held in the early 1990s. The first two games made up a home-and-home series during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons, while Mason was led by head coach Ernie Nestor and the Cards were coached by Denny Crum. The final meeting on Jan. 4, 1993, came during Paul Westhead’s first season, with the Cardinals claiming a 132-87 victory in Freedom Hall.

Probable Starting Lineups:

About George Mason:

Coming off a 20-win season in which it went .500 in league play, George Mason was picked to finish 10th in the 14-team Atlantic 10 before the start of this season.

The Patriots opened their season Friday night with a narrow 67-65 victory over visiting Lafayette. Sophomore guard Justin Kier’s free-throws in the final seconds sealed the victory for Mason.

Depth could be a major issue for George Mason on Sunday and beyond. All five of the Patriots starters scored in double-figures against Lafayette, but the Patriots received a grand total of zero points from the three bench players who saw the court. Junior guard Jaire Grayer led the team with 17 points.

Mason doesn’t like to force pace, but they will spread the court in their halfcourt sets by playing four guards for the bulk of a game. Typically, all five players Dave Paulsen have on the court are able to shoot the three-pointer, but this still isn’t a team that’s going to live and die from the outside. They’re going to want to play at a methodical pace, which means Louisville needs to do a better job with their full-court pressure than they did in their most recent exhibition effort against Bellarmine. This should also be a game where guys like Anas Mahmoud and Ray Spalding are able to use their superior size to flirt with double-doubles.

Notable:

—Louisville has won 42 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 29-0 in November games played inside the Yum Center.

—Louisville has won its last 13 season openers and 22 of its last 24. The Cardinals have won their last 16 home openers.

—Louisville is one of just four schools which have won 20 or more games in each of the last 15 seasons (also Kansas, Duke and Gonzaga).

—Louisville will open the season with a new basketball coach for just the third time in 47 years when David Padgett leads the Cards this afternoon.

—Luke Hancock, the Most Outstanding Player from the 2013 Final Four, transferred to Louisville after playing two seasons at George Mason. He hit the game-winning shot for the Patriots against Villanova in the 2011 NCAA tournament.

—George Mason is 4-22 all-time against current teams from the ACC.

—Louisville has won 54 of its last 55 non-conference games played inside the Yum Center.

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 82, George Mason 63