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Louisville-Prairie View A&M preview: Cardinals shoot for 3-0 start

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The Wade rolls on.

Wake Forest v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Louisville Cardinals (2-0) vs. Prairie View A&M Panthers (1-1)

Wade Houston Tipoff Classic

Game Time: 6:04 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

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

Announcers: Eric Collins (play-by-play) and Brian Oliver (analyst)

Favorite: Louisville by 25.5

Officials: Jamie Luckie, Jerry Heater, Tim Comer

Series: Louisville leads 2-0

Last Meeting: Louisville won 90-65 on Dec. 3, 2005 at Freedom Hall

Series History:

Possible Starting Lineups:

Statistics:

Prairie View A&M’s Season to Date:

Lost to Arkansas-Little Rock, 71-66, on Nov. 25
Beat Evansville, 64-61, on Nov. 27

Relevant Videos:

About Prairie View A&M:

The two-time reigning SWAC champions (regular season only in 2020 since the tournament was canceled), Prairie View A&M is looking at something of a step down season after losing all five starters from last year’s squad.

There is some cause for optimism, however, that the Panthers could make it three league titles in a row in 2020-21. Much of that optimism was fueled by the signing of Nebraska transfer Cam Mack, an extremely talented scorer who became the first player in Cornhusker history to record a triple-double. But Mack’s immediate eligibility hasn’t been ruled on by the NCAA, which means Louisville won’t have to worry about him on Sunday.

The Cards will have to worry about 6’7 junior guard Jawaun Daniels, a skilled player with size who has made a living so far this season on straight line drives where he finishes around the rim or draws a foul. Daniels, who played a minimal role for the Panthers last season, is also 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.

D’Rell Roberts, another 6’7 guard, has scored in double figures in both of PVAMU’s games thus far. The junior college transfer has been the Panther most likely to hurt you from beyond the arc, an area where he’s 4-for-8 so far this season. Faite Williams, a junior who has spent all three of his college seasons with Prairie View, is the man now tasked with running the Panther offense. He scored 18 points in the season-opening loss to UALR, but turned the ball over seven times. He also had three turnovers in the win over Evansville despite playing just 13 minutes because of foul trouble.

Jeremiah Gambrell, a transfer from Western Kentucky and a former three-star recruit, is widely expected be the team’s leading scorer this season, but he’s struggled shooting the ball so far. He’s just 6-of-22 from the field overall, and a woeful 3-for-15 from beyond the arc. Lenell Henry, a 6’8 forward who had eight rebounds in just 14 minutes (foul trouble) against Evansville, is the team’s most reliable post presence.

Prairie isn’t going to change its style up a whole lot under Byron Smith, who has been with the program for last eight seasons, the last five as head coach. They want to force a ton of turnovers, they want to play fast on offense, and they’re going to take a hefty chunk of shots from the outside. If that results in too many turnovers and some low shooting percentages for their starters, so be it. They’re going to want to try and sloppy up this game, which should be a nice test of maturity for a youthful Cardinal crew.

Notable:

—Louisville has won 57 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 44-0 in November games played inside the Yum Center. This will be Louisville’s final November home game of 2020.

—Louisville has won 83 of its last 87 non-conference games at the KFC Yum Center, a mark which spans over the last 10 seasons.

—Prairie View A&M is still the SWAC’s most recent tournament champion, winning the title in 2019 before falling to Fairleigh Dickinson in the First Four. The Panthers were the regular season SWAC champions and top seed for the league tournament a year ago. They advanced to the semifinals of the SWAC tournament before the event was canceled.

—The Panthers were picked to finish third in the SWAC in the league’s preseason media poll.

—Louisville has held its first two opponents below 34 percent shooting from the field (Evansville .298, Seton Hall .333). Last season, the Cardinals were 13th in the nation in field goals percentage defense (.389).

—Louisville is 8-0 all-time against current members of the SWAC.

—Louisville is 5-5 all-time in games played on Nov. 29, winning its last three on that date.

—The Cardinals will have just eight scholarship players available for this game, as Samuell Williamson, Malik Williams, Charles Minlend and Josh Nickelberry are all sidelined with injuries. U of L has just 12 scholarship players this season as it serves its final scholarship penalty from its 2017 bout with the NCAA.

—Approximately 3,000 fans will be allowed to attend Sunday’s game, with all seating limited to the lower bowl and premium seating areas.

—Inside the KFC Yum Center, Louisville has an overall record of 156-25, and a 91-6 mark against non-conference opponents. The Cards have won 47 of their last 50 home games against non-conference foes.

—Louisville has a 52-6 record during the month of November over the last nine years, winning 32 of its last 36 games in that month.

—Since 2004, Louisville is 124-0 when leading by more than 10 points at halftime.

—Louisville was 18-0 last season when scoring at least 71 points, and just 6-7 when failing to hit that mark. The Cards have hit the 71-point mark in each of their first two games this season.

—Louisville has won 162 consecutive games when holding an opponent under 50 points.

—Louisville has won 154 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. Gonzaga, Duke and Kansas are the others.

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 81, Prairie View A&M 57