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Louisville-Arkansas State preview

Go Cards.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 25 Georgia Southern at Arkansas State Photo by John Bunch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Louisville Cardinals (4-5, 0-1) vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves (3-7, 0-0)

Game Time: 8 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: ACC Network

Announcers: Anish Shroff (play-by-play) and Tim Welsh(analyst)

Favorite: Louisville by 3.5

Series: Louisville leads, 3-0

Last Meeting: Louisville won 54-27 on Nov. 22, 2011 in Louisville

Series History:

Projected Starting Lineups:

Louisville:

Arkansas State:

Statistics:

Relevant Videos:

Arkansas State’s Season to Date:

About Arkansas State:

Following its fifth losing record in six seasons under former Louisville assistant Mike Balado, Arkansas State opted to make a change last March and hired Bryan Hodgson. The 36-year-old Hodgson had spent the previous eight assistants as Nate Oats’ righthand man, first at Buffalo and then later at Alabama.

Hodgson wants his teams to eventually play at the breakneck pace that Oats employs with the Crimson Tide, but he doesn’t quite have the pieces to make it happen yet.

The guard-heavy Red Wolves are led by Taryn Todd, who is on his fourth school after previous stops at TCU, New Mexico and Northwest Florida. The well-traveled Todd is averaging a team-high 13.2 ppg despite not being an electric shooter. Todd is a killer in transition, and if Louisville is lazy after missed (or made) shots, he has the potential to make them look silly.

Point guard Caleb Fields does a good job of running the show, and even though he’s shooting 46.2 percent from three, he’s more of a threat to set up teammates than he is to score himself. He had seven assists and one turnover in Arkansas State’s 87-69 win over UAB on Saturday, easily the team’s most impressive performance of the season.

Fields and Todd are joined in a crowded backcourt by transfers Derrian Ford (Arkansas) and Freddy Hicks (Tarleton State), both of whom are offensively gifted enough to score 16-24 points against the Cards if the team isn’t locked in defensively.

UMass transfer Dyondre Dominguez has been a pleasant surprise and the team’s only real consistent inside threat. The 6’9 Dominguez is second on the team in scoring (12.6 ppg), first in rebounding (8.6 rpg), and has three double-doubles already this season. He’s attempted five or more three-pointers in every game but one this season, and his ability to stretch the floor and create space will likely serve as the toughest challenge for Louisville defensively in this one.

On paper (ON PAPER), this is a good matchup for Louisville.

The best thing that this U of L team has done all season is get to the free-throw line, and only 20 teams in Division-I have allowed their opponents to make more freebies this season than Arkansas State has.

If the Cardinals are aggressive on offense and attentive on defense, there’s really no reason for them not to take care of business against the second-worst team from the Sun Belt. Having said that, there’s a reason Louisville enters the evening as just a 3.5-point favorite.

Notable:

—Louisville ranks 15th in the country in free-throw attempts per game (26.7) and 11th in made free throws per game (19.7). U of L’s 177 made free throws are the program’s second-most through nine games since at least 2010, behind only the 2018-19 team.

—Mike Balado was Arkansas State’s coach for six seasons before being fired after the 2022-23 campaign. Balado was an assistant under Rick Pitino at Louisville from 2013-17.

After allowing UMBC and Chattanooga to make 25 of 55 combined 3-pointers (45.5%) in the first two games, the Cardinals have held their last seven opponents to a combined 30-for-126 from 3-point range (23.8%). Louisville ranks 87th in the country in 3-point defense at 30.4% overall.

—In the last meeting between these two teams, Louisville held Arkansas State to 27 points, the lowest total for a Cardinal opponent since Georgetown College scored just 13 on Feb. 4, 1947. The Red Wolves finished that game with 22 turnovers and two assists.

—Louisville has won 93 of its last 100 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 4-1 so far this year, Louisville has still won 95 of its last 105 non-conference games at the KFC Yum Center, a mark which spans over the last 11 seasons.

—Inside the KFC Yum Center, Louisville has a 102-14 record in non-conference games.

—Louisville is 221-15 over the last 20 seasons and 18-3 over the last three when scoring 80 points or more. The Cards are 2-1 in such games this season.

—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 77, Arkansas State 72