Louisville Cardinals (18-8, 8-5) vs. No. 14 North Carolina Tar Heels (20-7, 9-5)
Game Time: 8:16 p.m.
Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.
Announcers: Mark Neely (play-by-play) and Robbie Hummel (analyst)
Officials: Ted Valentine, Mike Eades, Jeffrey Anderson
Favorite: Louisville by 1.5
Probable Starting Lineups:
Series: North Carolina leads, 12-5
Last Meeting: North Carolina won 74-63 on Feb. 22, 2017 in Chapel Hill
About North Carolina:
The reigning national champions and the 2016 national runners-up, North Carolina enters Saturday night’s game against Louisville winners of four straight and playing its best basketball of the season. Included in that stretch for UNC is an 82-78 win over arch-rival Duke and a 96-89 road victory over NC State.
North Carolina leads the nation in rebounding margin (+11.7), is ninth in assists (17.9) and 24th in scoring offense (83.3). The Tar Heels are No. 8 in the Sagarin Ratings, No. 10 in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings and No. 8 in the RPI.
Roy Williams’ team is led in scoring (18.3 ppg) and rebounding (10.4 rpg) by breakout junior star Luke Maye, who made a name for himself last March by hitting the game-winning shot against Kentucky in the Elite 8. Senior guard Joel Berry, the Most Outstanding Player at the 2017 Final Four, is second on the team in scoring at 17.5 ppg. Pitt transfer Cam Johnson is averaging 13.1 ppg for the season and 18.0 ppg over UNC’s last five games.
—Saturday night’s game has been dubbed a “White Out.” Fans attending are encouraged to wear white.
—The home team has won all seven Louisville-North Carolina games not played at neutral sites.
—Louisville is third in the nation in blocked shots (6.5 bpg) and ranks 12th in field goal percentage defense (.397) and 43rd in steals per game (7.5).
—Anas Mahmoud is eighth in the nation in blocked shots (3.08).
—North Carolina is 8-0 in ACC play when at least four players score in double figures. They are 1-5 when fewer than four players score in double figures.
—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).
—North Carolina ranks No. 325 out of 351 Division-I teams in three-point field-goal defense.
—The Tar Heels rank second in the country in offensive rebound percentage.
—Louisville is 4-0 all-time against North Carolina at home.
—North Carolina’s opponents have shot just 66.2 percent from the free-throw line this season. That’s the third-best free-throw “defense” in the country.
—Louisville has a 59-20 record during the month of February over the last 10 years (.747), winning 24 of its last 35 in that month (5-2 last year).
Ken Pomeroy Prediction: North Carolina 80, Louisville 79