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Louisville-Seton Hall preview: Cards face first true road test of 2018-19

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The Cards look to build on Tuesday night’s massive win over Michigan State.

Seton Hall v Arkansas Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Louisville Cardinals (4-2) At Seton Hall Pirates (4-2)

Game Time: 12:01 p.m.

Location: Prudential Center: Newark, N.J.

Television: Fox

Announcers: Tim Brando (play-by-play), Jim Jackson (analyst) and Andy Katz (reporter)

Officials: Mike Roberts, Brent Hampton, Ron Groover

Favorite: Seton Hall by 3.5

Series: Louisville leads, 13-6

Last Meeting: Seton Hall won 79-77 on Dec. 3, 2017 in Louisville

Series History:

Probable Starting Lineups:

Seton Hall’s Season to Date:

Statistics:

Relevant Videos:

About Seton Hall:

Despite losing four of five starters from last season’s 22-win squad, Seton Hall appears to have a squad fully capable of making a fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance. The Pirates dropped two of their first three games in 2018-19, but enter Saturday’s game against Louisville fresh off a championship in the Wooden Legacy. Seton Hall took down Grand Canyon and Hawaii in the tournament before toppling Miami in the title game.

The Pirates are led by junior guard Myles Powell, a three-year starter currently averaging 24.3 ppg. Powell is shooting a career-best 49.5 percent from the field, and dropped 40 in the win against Grand Canyon.

Senior forward Michael Nzei, a role player in his previous three seasons, is the team’s second-leading scorer (11.2 ppg) and rebounder (5.0 rpg). Sacred Heart guard transfer Quincy McKnight leads the team in assists (3.0 apg), is third in scoring (8.2 ppg) and is the team’s best on-ball defender. Much-hyped 6’11 Syracuse transfer Taurean Thompson has been a bit of a disappointment, averaging just 6.0 points in 12.7 minutes per contest. He averaged 11.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in two games against Louisville during his time with the Orange in 2016-17.

Unlike in recent years, Seton Hall has won with defense so far this season. The Pirates are 64th in the country in turnovers first and 33rd in steal percentage. Three of SHU’s six opponents have failed to score 65 or more points.

Notable:

—Louisville has won its first road game in six of the last eight seasons. The Cards lost at Purdue in their road opener last season.

—Louisville leads the nation in free throw attempts per field goal attempts (213/325, 65.5 percent) and leads the nation with 31.8 percent of its points coming from free throws

—Nearly half of Louisville’s points this year have come from its bench (40.0 points per game). The Cardinals’ bench produced a school record 63 bench points against Southern and contributed 37 points against Michigan State.

—Chris Mack is 6-6 all-time in games against Seton Hall, sweeping the Pirates a year ago.

—Louisville will be playing on Fox for the first time since an 85-61 win over TCU on March 10, 2005 in the Conference USA tournament quarterfinals.

—Seton Hall is 66-9 all-time in non-conference games at the Prudential Center, and have won 29 of their last 30.

—Louisville had won five consecutive games against Seton Hall before last season’s 79-77 home loss to the Pirates.

—U of L has defeated Seton Hall in its last two trips to Newark.

—Louisville has a 21-4 record all-time in games played on Dec. 1, winning its last five on that date.

—Seton Hall’s Myles Powell scored 30 points against Chris Mack’s Xavier club last year and 26 the year before. In four career meetings with Xavier, Powell averaged 18.8 ppg.

—In all four of Seton Hall’s wins the Pirates have also won the rebounding battle. They’ve lost it in both of their defeats.

—Louisville has a 37-7 record during the month of December over the last six years (6-2 in 2017-18).

—Jordan Nwora has scored in double digits in all six games this season, averaging 17.7 points per game (7th in the ACC). He produced 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds against Michigan State on Tuesday, his fifth game with seven or more rebounds.

—Louisville has scored over 80 points in five of its six games and the Cardinals are 30th in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 85.3 points per game.

—Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard was an assistant at Louisville for six years (2001-07). The Cardinals were a combined 142-58 during Willard’s six seasons. He guided the Cardinals to a 64-48 win over Houston (1-28-04) in Freedom Hall when Rick Pitino took a short medical leave.

—A win for Seton Hall would be Willard’s 200th as a head coach.

—Louisville has won 146 consecutive games when scoring at least 85 points in regulation.

—Louisville is one of just four schools which have won 20 or more games on the court in each of the last 16 seasons (also Kansas, Duke and Gonzaga).

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Seton Hall 76, Louisville 73