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Louisville-Youngstown State preview: Cardinals make 2019-20 home debut

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The KFC Yum Center season begins with a visit from the YSU Penguins.

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville Cardinals (1-0) vs. Youngstown State Penguins (1-0)

Global Sports Showcase

Game Time: 2:04 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: Regional Sports Networks (Fox Sports South in Louisville)

Announcers: Tom Werme (play-by-play) and Dan Bonner (analyst)

Officials: Pat Driscoll, Dwayne Gladden, John Gaffney

Favorite: Louisville by 26.5

Series: First Meeting

Probable Starting Lineups:

Youngstown State’s Season to Date:

Defeated Thiel College 101-53 on Nov. 5

Statistics:

Relevant Videos:

About Youngstown State:

Though probably a year away from being a legitimate threat to win the Horizon League, third-year head coach Jerrod Calhoun is building a challenger at Youngstown State. The Penguins start three juniors and two sophomores, and boast 11 players who entered this season with considerable college minutes already under their belt. They return all five starters from last season’s team that won eight conference games, tied for the second most in program history.

YSU’s fuel this season figures to be its sophomore backcourt of Darius Quisenberry (who set the program record for made threes by a freshman last season) and Jelani Simmons. Garrett Covington is a “positionless” 6’5 guard/forward who plays the role of Dwayne Sutton for the Penguins. The frontcourt is athletic but undersized. It will be bolstered by the return of another sophomore, Olamide Pedersen, who is currently sidelined with a broken hand.

On its way to a 12-20 final record, Youngstown State really struggled defensively last season. They were especially inept inside, where opponents shot 68% percent on “near proximity shots.” Per haslametrics.com, that made the ‘Guins 19th worst interior defense team in all of Division-I. After being challenged a bit my Chris Mack earlier in the week, expect Steven Enoch to come out and fired up and ready to take advantage.

Quisenberry, Covington and super athletic forward Naz Bohannon all have the potential to be All-Horizon League performers, but it’s Youngstown State’s depth that might be its biggest asset this season. Ten players saw the court for at least 15 minutes against Thiel, and Calhoun likely won’t hesitate to go to his bench early and often against Louisville.

Youngstown State was picked to finish sixth in the 10-team Horizon League before the start of the season. They are currently No. 215 out of 353 D-I teams in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings.

Notable:

—Louisville has won 50 consecutive home games in November, a streak which dates all the way back to a loss to Vanderbilt on November 30, 1972. The Cards are 36-0 in November games played inside the Yum Center.

—Louisville has won 18 consecutive home openers.

—Louisville has won 73 of its last 77 non-conference games at the KFC Yum Center, a mark which spans over the last nine seasons.

—Youngstown State will be Louisville’s 324th different opponent in men’s basketball. The Cards are 241-82 in first-time meetings, including 52-2 since 2002-03. The only two losses over that span came against California and Baylor.

—Louisville has a 44-6 record during the month of November over the last nine years, winning 24 of its last 28 games in that month.

—Louisville enters Saturday’s game ranked No. 5 in both the Associated Press and coaches top 25 polls.

—Youngstown State returns all five of its starters from last season’s 12-20 squad. The Penguins return 77.9 percent of their scoring, 82 percent of their rebounding, and 83.2 percent of their made three-pointers.

— Sunday’s game is Louisville’s first in the Global Sports Shootout, a five-team, round-robin event played on campuses of the five participating schools. The Cards swept the Global Sports Shootout in 2010, its only other appearance in the event.

—In 2018-19, Youngstown State set a program record for made threes in a single season with 303.

—Louisville has an 81-6 record against non-conference opponents in the KFC Yum Center. The Cardinals have won 37 of their last 40 home games against non-conference foes.

—Youngstown State is one of four first time opponents for U of L this season (also North Carolina Central, USC Upstate, Texas Tech).

—Louisville is 18-2 all-time against current members of the Horizon League.

—Chris Mack is 10-0 in home openers as a head coach.

—Louisville has won 149 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 18 seasons (also Kansas, Duke and Gonzaga).

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 88, Youngstown State 61