Louisville Cardinals (7-2) vs. Memphis Tigers (7-2)
Game Time: Noon
Location: Madison Square Garden: New York, N.Y.
Announcers: Ted Emrich (play-by-play) and John Thompson (analyst)
Officials: Wally Rutecki, Dwayne Gladden, Jerry Heater
Favorite: Louisville by 12.5
Series: Louisville leads, 53-36
Last Meeting: Memphis won, 72-66 on March 1, 2014 in Memphis, Tenn.
Probable Starting Lineups:
The Tigers (7-2) have won four straight games, including a 67-58 victory over Albany on Dec. 12 as Kareem Brewton Jr. led the scoring with 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field (3-3 threes) in 17 minutes off the bench. Another newcomer, freshman Jamal Johnson, dropped in a season-high 18 in his debut as a starter last weekend against Bryant.
Memphis is No. 147 in the Sagarin Ratings, No. 151 by Ken Pomeroy and No. 123 in the RPI through Dec. 12. The Tigers rank 54th nationally in offensive rebounds per game (12.7). Memphis is one of the youngest teams in Division-I, returning only two lettermen (both starters) from last season’s squad, which posted a 19-13 record and finished fifth in the AAC.
"Obviously, Louisville-Memphis has a long history of having been in the same leagues, said Memphis head coach Tubby Smith. "They've been together a long time so I know it's a big rivalry. If you're not focused and ready to play for this game, you're not much of a basketball player."
—Louisville has won nine consecutive games in Madison Square Garden, a streak which dates back to the 2012 Big East Tournament.
—Overall, the Cardinals own a 31-26 record in “the world’s most famous arena.” U of L won the 1956 NIT Championship in the Garden; the 2009, 2012 and 2013 BIG EAST Championships; and the 1971 Holiday Festival. Louisville’s last game in MSG was a 20-point win over Indiana in 2014.
—Memphis is 9-8 all-time at Madison Square Garden.
—Louisville and Memphis will be playing for the 90th time on Saturday. Cincinnati (99 meetings) is the only team the Cardinals have played more times.
—Louisville is second in the nation in blocked shots (7.9 bpg) and ranks ninth in field goal percentage defense (.367) and 23rd in FT% (.774)
—Memphis is 0-2 in games away from home this season. Louisville is 0-1.
—This is the showcase game of the Gotham Classic, a five team round robin event. Louisville and Memphis are both 2-0 in the event.
—Quentin Snider has averaged a team-high 15.3 points and made 6-of-12 three-pointers over the last three games, with nine assists and two turnovers. He needs 119 points to become the Cardinals’ 68th career 1,000-point scorer.
—Louisville has shot 70 percent or better from the free-throw line in eight straight games. That’s their longest such streak since the 2002-03 season.
— Louisville has a 34-6 record during the month of December over the last six years, winning 22 of its last 27 in that month.
—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).
—Memphis coach Tubby Smith is 7-5 all-time against Louisville. He was 6-4 against the Cardinals as the head coach of Kentucky, 1-0 as the head coach of Minnesota, and 0-1 as the head coach of Tulsa.
—A Gotham Classic title would give Louisville its 29th regular season tournament championship.
—Louisville is 10th in the nation in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive rankings. The Cardinals are second in the nation in blocked shots (7.9 per game), ninth in field goal percentage defense (.367), and 22nd in defensive rebounds per game (29.6).
—Louisville is 6-1 all-time against Memphis in neutral site games.
Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 74, Memphis 62