Louisville Cardinals (2-18, 0-9) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-12, 1-9)
Game Time: Noon
Location: Purcell Pavilion: South Bend, Ind.
Announcers: Doug Sherman (play-by-play), Cory Alexander (analyst), and Angel Gray (sideline)
Favorite: Notre Dame by 10
Series: Louisville leads, 26-17
Last Meeting: Notre Dame won 63-57 on Feb. 9, 2022 in South Bend
Probable Starting Lineups:
- G El Ellis (6-3, 180, Sr.)
- G/F Mike James (6-5, 215, R-Fr.)
- F Jae’Lyn Withers (6-9, 220, R-Jr.)
- F J.J. Traynor (6-8, 190, Jr.)
- F Sydney Curry (6-8, 270, Sr.)
- G J.J. Starling (6-4, 200, Fr.)
- G Marcus Hammond (6-4, 188, Gr.)
- G Cormac Ryan (6-5, 195, Gr.)
- G Dane Goodwin (6-6, 214, Gr.)
- F Nate Laszewski (6-10, 230, Gr.)
About Notre Dame:
A Notre Dame team that was picked to finish sixth in the ACC before the start of the season currently sits at 1-9 in league play and ahead of only the team they’ll host on Saturday in the conference standings. The question for the Irish has become whether or not they can find some February and March magic in what we now know will be head coach Mike Brey’s final season in South Bend.
Losers of four straight, Notre Dame’s primary struggles this season have been on the defensive end. The Irish rank just 282nd in adjusted defensive efficiency, and have allowed 78 points or more in each of their last five ACC defeats.
The good news for Louisville is that Brey’s team forces fewer turnovers than all but two other teams in Division-I. Of course, the Cardinals haven’t always needed to be facing a high-pressure defense to give the ball away this season. Notre Dame is allowing opponents to shoot 52.7 percent from inside the arc and 34.1 percent beyond it, two of the worst defensive marks in the conference. Louisville will won’t be facing a ton of pressure when the ball is in their hands and they should get their fair share of open looks from wherever they want them, it’s going to be on them to take advantage.
Offensively, per usual, Notre Dame is rock solid. The Fighting Irish take care of the ball as well as they always do (7th in the country in turnover percentage) and shoot 37.5 percent from three as a team (29th best in D-I). Brey’s offense has always been difficult to defend, and this year should be no different ... if not much, much more difficult for this group.
Louisville really struggled to locate shooters in both of its losses to Notre Dame last season. Nate Laszewski, Cormac Ryan, Trey Wertz and Dane Goodwin were a combined 9-of-14 from deep against the Cards in the first meeting last season. All four of those guys will be on the floor for the Irish again on Saturday.
The Cardinals will struggle defensively, but if they value the possession on offense and take the smart shot when it presents itself, they should have a chance to notch their first conference win. Based on what we’ve seen from this team thus far, it’s tough to assume either of those things are going to happen.
—Louisville is in the midst of its second nine-game losing streak of the season. The Cardinals lost their first nine games of the year before pulling off back-to-back wins over Western Kentucky and Florida A&M.
—Notre Dame announced on Jan. 19 that Coach Mike Brey will step away from the program at the conclusion of the 2022-23 season. Brey has compiled 481 victories with the Irish, which ranks sixth among active NCAA coaches at their current Division-I schools. Career wise, Brey has achieved a 580-321 (.644) record spanning 28 years at Notre Dame and Delaware.
—Louisville had never lost to Notre Dame twice in the same season before being swept by the Irish last season.
—Louisville has already lost eight games by 20 points or more this season, the 20-point losses in one season in the history of Cardinal basketball.
—Last week, Louisville added freshman forward/center Emmanuel Okorafor to the roster. Okorafor is a 6-foot-9 native of Lagos, Nigeria, and is eligible immediately after arriving from NBA Academy Africa. He did not see the floor in Wednesday’s loss to Boston College.
—Notre Dame ranks 1st in the ACC in made three-pointers per game and 2nd in three-point shooting percentage. They are averaging 9.2 threes per game, which would rank 4th all-time in program history - the program record is 9.7 set by the 19-20 squad.
—Feb. 9 will mark the 10-year anniversary of Notre Dame’s 104-101 five overtime victory over Louisville in South Bend, the longest regular season game in the history of the Big East. It was also the last loss of U of L’s 2012-13 national championship season.
—Nine of the last 25 games in this series have been decided in overtime. Four of those nine games have included multiple overtimes.
—Louisville is 0-9 in conference play for the first time since going 0-11 in the KIAC during the 1939-40 season.
—Louisville is 5-33 over its last 37 games dating back to last season.
—Louisville is 218-13 over the last 20 seasons and 15-1 over the last three when scoring 80 points or more. The Cards have eclipsed the 80-point mark just once this season.
—Louisville is 14-0 over the past 10 seasons when limiting opponents to no more than one three-point field goal.
—Since 2004, Louisville is 128-0 when leading by more than 10 points at halftime.
—Louisville has won 162 consecutive games when holding an opponent under 50 points.
—Louisville has won 157 consecutive games when scoring at least 85 points in regulation.
Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Notre Dame 75, Louisville 65