Louisville Cardinals (11-3, 2-1) vs. Miami Hurricanes (9-4, 1-2)
Game Time: 7:01 p.m.
Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.
Announcers: Rece Davis (play-by-play), Jon Crispin (analyst) and Brooke Weisbrod (reporter)
Favorite: Louisville by 13
Officials: Brian O’Connell, Brent Hampton, Matt Potter
Series: Louisville leads 12-4
Last Meeting: Louisville won 87-74 on Nov. 5, 2019 in Coral Cables
Probable Starting Lineups:
Miami’s Season to Date:
After opening the season with an 87-74 home loss to Louisville, Miami went on to have a first half of the 2019-20 season that was mostly in line with their preseason expectations. The Hurricanes went 1-2 at the Charleston Classic with lopsided losses to UConn and Florida, notched a quality road win over Illinois in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge, and are off to a 1-2 start in league play with an overtime win over Clemson, a blowout loss to Duke, and the previously mentioned loss to U of L.
Miami enters Tuesday night’s rematch at No. 89 in Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency ratings, slightly higher than they were when these two teams met in November. Jim Larranaga’s team has won five of its last six, with its lone loss since November coming at the hands of No. 2 Duke.
The Hurricanes have lived off their offense this season, ranking No. 17 in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency and having scored 73 or more points in all nine of their wins. Three Miami players enter Tuesday night averaging double figures in scoring — Chris Lykes (15.3 ppg), Kameron McGusty (14.9 ppg), and DJ Vasiljevic (14.6 ppg). The 5’7 Lykes remains one of the most dynamic guards in the conference, Vasiljevic remains a knockdown outside shooter, and as we predicted here back in November, McGusty (an Oklahoma transfer) has emerged as a bit of a jack of all trades for The U.
Freshman guard Harlond Beverly has been Miami’s top reserve, and the former top 50 recruit remains a very solid looking long term prospect. However, he has struggled with turnovers in recent weeks and was more effective on defense against both Duke and Clemson. He should see the floor around the same amount of time (22 mins) he saw against Louisville in round one.
Miami’s only issue on offense remains its lack of an inside presence. Florida grad transfer Keith Stone (5.5 ppg/3.8 rpg) is still working his way back into a flow after missing the first month of the season with a knee injury. Sam Waardenburg and Rodney Miller are both better than they’ve been in the past, but not significantly enough to give the Hurricanes a consistently reliable inside threat that Cardinal fans should fear. And former U of L recruit Deng Gak has once again had his season cut short because of an ACL tear.
At the moment, Miami is easily the worst defensive team in the ACC. The Hurricanes are a woeful 222nd out of 353 Division-I teams in adjusted defensive efficiency, and are allowing their opponents to shoot better than 50 percent from the field. They’re also allowing second chances on 33.3 percent of their defensive possessions, putting them 328th in the country in that category.
All of this should come at a perfect time for a Louisville team that is still licking its wounds after being swallowed up a bit by the long and athletic defenses of Kentucky and Florida State.
—Louisville is 5-0 all-time in home games against Miami.
—Jordan Nwora and Chris Lykes are the ACC’s No. 1 and No. 2 active career scoring leaders.
—Louisville is 11-0 this season when leading at halftime, and 0-3 when trailing at the break.
—Louisville has a 48-16 record in its conference home games over the last eight years.
—Jim Larranaga has led Miami to 32 ACC road wins, the fourth-most of any team since he took over in 2011-12, but Louisville is one of two current ACC schools, along with Wake Forest, Miami has not beat on the road in that span.
—Miami’s Chris Lykes (15.3), Kameron McGusty (14.9) and DJ Vasiljevic (14.6) form the lone trio of teammates in the top 15 in the ACC in scoring, and the lone trio in the league all averaging 14-plus points per game.
—Chris Lykes is one of just 13 scholarship players under 6’0 at a high-major program.
—Louisville is 5-2 against Miami since joining the ACC in 2014-15
—Louisville ranks 14th in the nation in field goal percentage defense (.372), 25th in scoring margin (+14.1) and 29th in scoring defense (61.2).
—Dwayne Sutton needs four rebounds to reach the 500-rebound mark for his Louisville career.
—Louisville has a 24-5 record all-time in games played on Jan 7, winning nine of its last 10 on that date.
—Louisville has a 36-13 record during the month of January over the last five years.
—Louisville altered its starting lineup for the first time last season, inserting Fresh Kimble into the starting five and bringing Ryan McMahon.
—Miami has used the same starting lineup in all 13 of its games this season.
—Louisville has won 161 consecutive games when holding an opponent under 50 points.
—Louisville has won 152 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 78, Miami 64