NO. 8 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (23-7, 11-6) vs. NO. 19 NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (23-7, 12-5)
Game Time: 2:07 p.m.
Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.
Announcers: Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and Clark Kellogg (analyst)
Officials: Mike Eades, Bert Smith, Brian O’Connell
Favorite: Louisville by 8
All-Time Series: Louisville leads 20-15
Last Meeting: Notre Dame won 77-70 on Jan. 4 in South Bend
Probable Starting Lineups:
About Notre Dame:
Notre Dame, which enters Saturday’s game in sole possession of second place in the ACC, has won its last six games, including an 82-66 victory over Boston College on March 1 in its last outing. In that game, senior forward V.J. Beachem led the Irish with 22 points while Bonzie Colson added 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Notre Dame leads the nation in free throw percentage (.810) and is second nationally in assist to turnover ratio (1.70), third in fewest turnovers per game (9.7), 19th in three-point goals (9.6 per game) and 30th in three-point field goal percentage (.393).
Colson, an ACC Player of the Year candidate, enters the last game of the regular season averaging 10.6 rebounds per game, best in the league and 11th nationally. His 18 double-doubles are the most in the ACC.
—Louisville will bid farewell to three seniors on Saturday — Mangok Mathiang, David Levitch and Tony Hicks. The game will also be a “Red Out,” where fans are encouraged to wear red.
—Louisville is 15th in the nation in field goal defense (.391), 10th in blocked shots (5.6 bpg), 16th in three-point field goal percentage defense (.304), 14th in scoring margin (+13.0) and 14th in offensive rebounds per game (13.4).
—Louisville has a 36-8 record in its conference home games over the last five years (.818), including an 8-1 record last year.
—This series has been notable for a number of overtime battles, including the legendary 104-101 five-overtime Notre Dame victory that ended up as the longest regular-season game in Big East conference history on Feb. 9, 2013. In all, the teams have gone into overtime nine times in 35 meetings. Louisville won the first five games in the series that advanced to overtime, but the Irish have claimed wins in three of the four most recent overtime games (Feb. 9, 2011, Jan. 7, 2012 and Feb. 9, 2013).
—Louisville has a 32-9 record (.780) in March over the last six years (since 2012).
—Notre Dame’s streak of six straight ACC wins is its longest since the Fighting Irish joined the conference.
—Notre Dame’s 81.0 percent team free-throw shooting average is the best in the country.
—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).
Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 77, Notre Dame 69