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Louisville-Pepperdine preview

It promises to be a weird day inside the KFC Yum Center.

Pepperdine v Gonzaga Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Louisville Cardinals (4-6, 0-1) vs. Pepperdine Waves (5-7)

Game Time: 2 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: ACC Network

Announcers: Ariya Massoudi (play-by-play) and Dan Bonner (analyst)

Favorite: Louisville by 2.5

Series: Pepperdine leads, 1-0

Only Meeting: Pepperdine won 65-62 on Feb. 11, 1950 in Malibu

Projected Starting Lineups:

Louisville

  • G Skyy Clark (6-3, 205, So.)
  • G Ty-Laur Johnson (6-0. 160, Fr.)
  • G/F Mike James (6-5, 200, R-So.)
  • G Tre White (6-7, 205, So.)
  • F Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (6-10, 240, Jr.)

Pepperdine

  • G Ethan Anderson (6-0, 215, Gr.)
  • G Malik Moore (6-5, 190, So.)
  • G Houston Mallette (6-5, 185, Jr.)
  • F Jalen Pitre (6-8, 220, So.)
  • G/F Michael Ajayi (6-7, 220, Jr.)

Statistics:

Relevant Videos:

Pepperdine’s Season to Date:

About Pepperdine:

Led by former Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar, Pepperdine is searching for its first winning season since the 2015-16 campaign. It’s probably not going to happen this winter. The Waves haven’t beaten a team better than 221st on Ken Pom and have been thoroughly punished by the decent teams on their schedule.

Pepperdine is also one of the few teams in Division-I with a longer road losing streak than Louisville. The Waves have lost 29 consecutive games away from home.

The Waves’ leader on and off the court, Houston Mallette sits atop the Pepperdine season box score in scoring, pouring in 18 points per game. The junior is also first in the WCC in the same category, while also sitting at second for threes per game (2.3). Nationally, Mallette has climbed up to No. 12 on the total points scored list with 216 total this season after hitting the 1,000-career-point mark back in November.

Junior college transfer Michael Ajayi has accrued seven total double-doubles through 12 games and is currently tied for first in the country in that category. He also sits third on the NCAA total rebounding list with 120, as well as second in points (17.4) and rebounds (10) per game in the WCC.

Pepperdine is a good three-point shooting team who will deal Louisville yet another embarrassing loss in the likely event that the Cards aren’t paying attention to detail on the defensive end.

There is nothing overly impressive about this Pepperdine team, which used to mean Cardinal fans would have no cause for concern in games like this. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case.

Notable:

—Louisville ranks 18th in the country in free-throw attempts per game (26.3) and 13th in made free throws per game (19.4). U of L’s 194 made free throws are the program’s second-most through 10 games since at least 2010, behind only the 2018-19 team.

—Pepperdine has lost 29 consecutive road games. The Waves haven’t won a game away from home since Feb. 27, 2021.

—Pepperdine head coach Lorenzo Romar was the head coach at Washington when his top-seeded Huskies were upset by No. 4 seed Louisville in the 2005 Sweet 16. The Cardinals wound up advancing all the way to the Final Four.

—Louisville has won 93 of its last 101 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 4-2 so far this year, Louisville has still won 95 of its last 106 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 102-15 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 75, Pepperdine 72