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Louisville-Robert Morris preview: Cards host Colonials in final pre-Christmas clash

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Louisville will look to move to remain unbeaten at home in 2018-19.

Lipscomb v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Louisville Cardinals (8-3) vs. Robert Morris Colonials (4-7)

Game Time: 7:01 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN

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

Officials: Bert Smith, Brent Hampton, Anthony Burris

Favorite: Louisville by 23

Series: Louisville leads 1-0

Last Meeting: Louisville won 104-68 on Dec. 10, 1977 at Freedom Hall

Probable Starting Lineups:

Robert Morris’ Season to Date:

Statistics:

Relevant Videos:

About Robert Morris:

The preseason pick to finish fifth in the 10-team Northeast Conference, Robert Morris enters Friday night’s game against Louisville riding a four-game losing streak. The Colonials have faced a pair of power conference opponents already this season, falling 83-62 at USC on opening night, and taking a lopsided 84-46 loss at Purdue on Nov. 23.

Andrew Toole’s team is led by senior guard Josh Williams, who is averaging 17.4 points per game. Williams is currently fourth in the nation in three-point field goals made per game (4.36) and 34th nationally in three-point percentage (48-of-102 threes, .471). In RMU’s win over D-III Mount Aloysius on Nov. 14, Williams made national headlines after setting a school record by scoring 49 pints, and tying an NCAA record by drilling 15 three-pointers.

Despite Williams’ offensive explosion in that game, Robert Morris is a team that typically relies heavily on defense and taking care of the basketball. The Colonials lead the Northeast Conference in scoring defense, allowing an average of 70.7 points per game. They also rank second in the league in assists (13.82 per game), turnover margin (+1.64) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.95). RMU is 48th in the nation in turnovers forced (16.27 per game).

Entering Friday night, Robert Morris is ranked No. 297 by Ken Pomeroy, and No. 307 in the NET rankings. In 2013, they advanced to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.

Notable:

—Louisville has an 80-5 record against non-conference opponents in the KFC Yum Center. The Cardinals have won 36 of their last 38 home games against non-conference opponents, and are 7-0 at home this season.

—Louisville is sixth in the nation in free throw attempts per field goal attempts (311/614, 50.7 percent) and is second in the nation with 26.9 percent of its points coming from free throws.

—Chris Mack has a 1-0 record against Robert Morris, a 61-59 Xavier victory in 2012.

—Robert Morris senior guard Josh Williams tied an NCAA record by making 15 three-pointers in RMU’s 104-57 win over Division-III Mount Aloysius on Nov. 14. Williams also set the school’s single-game scoring record by dropping 49 points. He’s in his first season with the Colonials after transferring in from Akron.

—Louisville is 10-1 all-time against current members of the Northeast Conference. The Cards went 2-0 against NEC opponents (Bryant and St. Francis, Pa.) last season. U of L’s lone loss to an NEC opponent came via a 60-55 loss to St. Francis of Brooklyn in the 1954 NIT.

—Louisville has won 13 consecutive games played on Dec. 21, and is 18-5 all-time in games on this date.

—Robert Morris is 1-6 in road games so far this season, with the lone victory coming via an 81-72 triumph at Stetson on Nov. 19.

—Louisville has a 41-8 record during the month of December over the last six years, and is 4-1 so far this season.

—At 96.7 percent, Ryan McMahon currently leads the nation in free-throw percentage.

—Louisville has scored 80 or more points in seven of its 11 games.

—Louisville has won 147 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: Louisville 78, Robert Morris 57