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Louisville vs. Omaha preview: Cards return to the court against winless Mavericks

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Let’s get to 2-0.

NCAA Basketball: George Mason at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

No. 18 Louisville Cardinals (1-0) vs. Omaha Mavericks (0-3)

Game Time: 7:02 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, KY

Television: ACC Network Extra/Watch ESPN

Announcers: Kent Taylor (play-by-play) and Jody Demling (analyst)

Officials: Bill Covington, Jr., Pat Driscoll, Tony Chiazza

Favorite: Louisville by 27.5

Series: First Meeting

Probable Starting Lineups:

About Omaha:

The Mavericks have lost the first three games of their 2017-18 season falling 89-80 in overtime at Montana State on Nov. 10; 109- 89 at Oklahoma on Nov. 12; and 103-71 at New Mexico on Nov. 14. UNO is playing its first seven games on the road while its home facility, Baxter Arena, serves as the host site for the U.S. Olympic Curling Trials.

Last season, Omaha posted an 18-14 record (9-7 Summit League, third place) and reached the championship game of the Summit League tournament. Omaha was 13th nationally in scoring offense last season, averaging 83.9 points per game and topping 90 points in 10 games. At least one of the Mavs’ players scored over 20 points in 16 of the last 17 games last season.

Also last season, UNO was 16th in the nation in steals per game (8.2), 29th in three-point field goal percentage (.388), 36th in turnovers forced per game (15.0) and 41st in free throw percentage (.748). The Mavericks return a pair of starters. Junior forward Mitch Hahn averaged 11.6 points per game last season with 20 double-figure scoring efforts. Junior guard Zach Jackson (10.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg) scored in double figures on 21 occasions. Omaha has eight newcomers on its roster, including six freshmen.

Notable:

—Louisville has won 43 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 30-0 in November games played inside the Yum Center.

—Omaha will be Louisville's 315th different opponent in men's basketball. The Cards are 233-81 in first-time meetings, including 44-2 over the past 15 years.

—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).

—Omaha enters Friday night’s game at No. 257 in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings. Louisville is No. 20.

—Louisville is the highest-ranked opponent Omaha has ever faced in its Division-I era. The Mavericks previously faced Iowa State, then ranked 19th nationally, in 2016-17.

—Omaha came a shot shy of its first NCAA Tournament bid in the Division-I era last season, falling 79-77 to South Dakota State in the Summit League Championship. The Mavericks were 18-14 (9-7 Summit League) en route to their second straight third-place finish in the regular season standings.

—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 has won 55 of its last 56 non-conference games played inside the Yum Center.

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 94, Omaha 69