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Louisville vs. Clemson preview: Cardinals look to bounce back from Duke disaster

After all, tomorrow is another day.

No. 16 Louisville Cardinals (17-8, 8-4) vs. Clemson Tigers (15-9, 5-6)

Game Time: 12:01 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: ESPN

Announcers: Mike Couzens (play-by-play) and Cory Alexander (analyst)

Officials: Ted Valentine, Tony Chiazza, Tony Henderson

Favorite: Louisville by 6

Series: Louisville leads 5-2

Last Meeting: Clemson won 74-69 in OT on Jan. 6, 2018 in Clemson, S.C.

Series History:

Probable Starting Lineups:


Relevant Videos:

About Clemson:

Clemson saw its four-game winning streak come to a close Wednesday night with a 65-64 upset loss at Miami. The Tigers find themselves sitting squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble with a 15-9 overall record and a 5-6 mark in ACC play. They currently rank 42nd in the NET rankings and 30th according to Ken Pomeroy.

More times than not this season, the Tigers have won with defense. They rank third in the ACC and 22nd in the nation in scoring defense (64.1 points allowed per game), and second in the league in scoring defense in conference games (61.9) only. On, Clemson sits at No. 15 in adjusted defensive efficiency.

For the second straight season, Clemson is led in scoring by Marcquise Reed. A Second Team preseason All-ACC selection, Reed enters Saturday averaging 18.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 3.1 assists per game. The senior scored a game-high 24 points and played a game-high 44 minutes in last season’s win over Louisville. Reed is shooting a career-worst 31.0 percent from three this season, but is Clemson’s all-time leader in career free-throw percentage at 85.7 percent.

Averaging 13.0 points and 7.8 rebounds, senior forward Elijah Thomas is Clemson’s primary interior threat. He is one of only three players in the country averaging at least 13.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and shooting at least 65.0 percent from the field. The Tigers are 5-1 this season in games where Thomas posts a double-double.

Brad Brownell’s other double-figure scorer is yet another senior, 6’4 guard Shelton Mitchell (11.8 ppg). His offensive numbers are slightly down from a season ago, but he scored 22 points and buried 5 of 9 three-pointers in Clemson’s upset of Virginia Tech a week ago. Mitchell, the program’s active leader in assists, scored 13 in the win over Louisville last season.

Clemson is in the odd position of having multiple players who have shot the ball better from three throughout their career then they’re currently shooting from three this season. The Tigers have been hit or miss from beyond the arc all season long, but are 9-0 when connecting on seven or more three-pointers. For the season, they’re shooting 32.0 percent from three as a team, good for just 283rd in Division-I.

Playing at just the 283rd fastest pace in the country, Clemson won’t look to force tempo against a Louisville team that is also at its most comfortable when the game is slowed down.

STRENGTHS: Experience, interior defense, shot blocking, forcing turnovers, defensive rebounding, minimizing opponent free-throw attempts, free-throw shooting, scoring around the rim,

WEAKNESSES: Three-point shooting, turnovers, getting to the free-throw line, offensive rebounding, perimeter defense, gambling too much on defense, depth.


—Louisville has a 46-14 record in conference home games over the last six years (.767). The Cardinals have the fourth-most conference home wins in their five years in the ACC with a 31-11 ACC home record.

—Louisville has never lost consecutive games against Clemson.

—Clemson is 9-0 this season when making seven or more three-pointers, and just 6-9 when falling short of that mark.

—Chris Mack is 1-0 all-time against Clemson. His Xavier team beat the Tigers 83-77 in the Tire Pros Invitational in Orlando, Fla. on Nov. 18, 2016.

—Clemson is 22nd in the nation in scoring defense (64.1), 49th in blocked shots per game (4.5), and 50th in field goal percentage defense (.410).

—Jordan Nwora is the second-most improved scorer in the nation with his 17.8 ppg scoring average (fifth in the ACC) up 12.1 ppg from his 5.7 average last year.

—Marcquise Reed ranks 22nd on Clemson’s all-time scoring list and is currently the fourth-leading scorer in the ACC at 18.9 ppg.

—Louisville will be wearing special uniforms to honor the 60th anniversary of the 1958-59 team, which was the first Cardinal squad to make the Final Four.

—Louisville is 19-13 all-time in games played on Feb. 16.

—Elijah Thomas is 10th in program history with 159 career blocks at Clemson and also stands fourth in Clemson history with a 1.92 blocks per game average.

—Louisville is 5-2 in games after losses this season, and 6-1 against the spread.

—Brad Brownell is 2-2 against Louisville as Clemson’s head coach, but 0-2 against the Cardinals on the road.

—Louisville is off to an 8-4 start for the fourth time in five seasons as a member of the ACC.

—Louisville has won 148 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 70, Clemson 63