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Louisville-New Mexico State preview

Go Cards.

Saatva Empire Classic: Louisville v Indiana

Louisville Cardinals (2-3) vs. New Mexico State Aggies (3-4)

Game Time: 1 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: ACC Network Extra

Announcers: Kent Taylor (play-by-play) and Jody Demling (analyst)

Favorite: Louisville by 8

Series: Louisville leads, 4-1

Last Meeting: Louisville won 70-65 on Dec. 22, 2007

Series History:

Projected Starting Lineups:


  • G Skyy Clark (6-3, 205, So.)
  • G Tre White (6-7, 205, So.)
  • G/F Mike James (6-5, 200, R-So.)
  • F J.J. Traynor (6-8, 190, Sr.)
  • F Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (6-10, 240, Jr.)

New Mexico State

  • G Christian Cook (6-2, Jr.)
  • G Jaylin Jackson-Posey (6-2, Jr.)
  • G Jaden Harris (6-4, Jr.)
  • F Robert Carpenter (6-7, Jr.)
  • F Kaosi Ezeagu (6-10, Gr.)


Relevant Videos:

New Mexico State’s Season to Date:

About New Mexico State:

If any program in the country needed a fresh start, it was the New Mexico State Aggies. A disastrous 2022-23 campaign featured legal trouble and a hazing scandal that ultimately led to the cancelation of the program’s season in early February.

Now, the Aggies have a new head coach, an entirely new roster, and a new conference (Conference USA) after 17 seasons of dominance in the Western Athletic Conference.

NMSU enters Saturday with a 3-4 record, but just one win over a Division-I opponent (Northern Colorado). They sit at No. 255 on Ken Pom, making them the third-worst opponent on Louisville’s 2023-24 schedule, behind only UMBC (274) and Coppin State (361).

The Aggies are led by Seton Hall transfer Femi Okudale (who also played at Pitt), who came to Las Cruces after establishing a reputation for himself as one of the toughest defenders in the Big East. His offensive game has expanded so far this season, and he leads the team in scoring (16.0 ppg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg).

Three other New Mexico State players are currently scoring in double figures for an Aggie team that has scored at least 76 points in all three of its wins. NMSU is not a great shooting team by any stretch. Where they excel offensively is getting to the free-throw line and converting there. Defending without fouling will be critical for Louisville on Sunday afternoon.

New head coach Jason Hooten wants defense to be NMSU’s calling card. The Aggies employ pack line principles, forcing opponents to utilize a large chunk of the shot clock before taking a ton of shots from the outside. Nearly half of New Mexico State’s opponents’ shots have come from behind the three-point line this season.


After going 59-0 in November home games from 1991 to 2021, Louisville is just 2-5 in November home games under head coach Kenny Payne.

After allowing UMBC and Chattanooga to make 25 of 55 combined 3-pointers (45.5%) in the first two games, the Cardinals have held Coppin State, Texas and Indiana to 6-for-45 from 3-point range (13.3%) in their last three outings.

—New Mexico State is the only program in the country with an entirely new roster as zero players from the 2022-23 campaign will take the floor for the Aggies this season.

—In their first season as a member of Conference USA, the Aggies were projected to finish eighth in the nine-team league according to a vote of the conference’s nine head coaches.

—Before 2021, Louisville’s last November home loss had come in 1972.

—Louisville has won 91 of its last 98 non-conference games at the KFC Yum Center, a mark which spans over the last 11 seasons.

—Despite going 2-5 last season and being 2-1 so far this year, Louisville has still won 93 of its last 103 non-conference games at the KFC Yum Center, a mark which spans over the last 11 seasons.

—As of Wednesday, Louisville ranked 24th in the country in free throw attempts per game (26.6) and 39th in offensive rebounds per game (14.4). Junior forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield ranked 35th in rebounds per game (9.8) and 50th in total rebounds (49).

—Inside the KFC Yum Center, Louisville has a 100-14 record in non-conference games.

—Louisville is 220-15 over the last 20 seasons and 17-3 over the last three when scoring 80 points or more.

—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.

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 88, New Mexico State 80