Louisville Cardinals (3-21, 1-12) at Miami Hurricanes (19-5, 10-4)
Game Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Petersen Events Center: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ACC Network
Announcers: Jay Alter (play-by-play) and Malcolm Huckaby (analyst)
Favorite: Miami by 20
Series: Louisville leads, 13-7
Last Meeting: Miami won 80-53 on Dec. 4, 2022 in Louisville
Projected Starting Lineups:
- G El Ellis (6-3, 180, Sr.)
- G/F Mike James (6-5, 215, R-Fr.)
- F J.J. Traynor (6-8, 190, Jr.)
- F Jae’Lyn Withers (6-9, 220, R-Jr.)
- F Sydney Curry (6-8, 270, Sr.)
- G Nijel Pack (6-0, 184, So.)
- G Isaiah Wong (6-4, 184, Rr.)
- G Wooga Poplar (6-5, 182, So.)
- G Jordan Miller (6-7, 195, Sr.)
- F Norchad Omier (6-7, 248, So.)
Just a half-game behind the trio of conference leaders, Miami is heading into the heart of February thinking about a conference championship followed by a deep run in the NCAA tournament. A Saturday night home loss to the worst team in the league (that’s us) doesn’t figure into those plans.
Per usual, Jim Larranaga’s team is fueled by a talented backcourt — headlined by first team preseason All-ACC’er Isaiah Wong (16.0 ppg). But the biggest difference in this year’s Hurricanes is that they have a true double-double threat on the inside.
Norchad Omier enters Sunday’s game averaging a double (13.9 ppg/10.1 rpg) and rebounding (10.4 rpg). The Arkansas State transfer who had 26 rebounds in a game last season will once again be a load for the Cards to handle inside.
Wong, Jordan Miller (14.9 ppg) and Kansas State transfer Nijel Pack (12.2 ppg) all have the ability to light up the scoreboard on any given night. If Louisville defends the way it did Tuesday night against Pittsburgh, each member of the Hurricane backcourt should have ample opportunity to fill it up.
Defensively, this Miami team has had some struggles, but they do force a ton of turnovers, namely steals. They will gamble for steals on every possession and hope that their opposition won’t be able to take advantage of the preferential situation if they happen to come up empty. For Louisville, this is obviously a dangerous set of circumstances. The Cards turned the ball over 19 times in the first meeting, and 10 of those were Hurricane steals.
—Louisville’s 21 losses this season are the most in the 109-year history of the program.
—Miami has won three straight against Louisville after never previously taking even back-to-back contests in the series.
—Louisville has already lost nine games by 20 points or more this season, the 20-point losses in one season in the history of Cardinal basketball.
—Miami will look to join Pitt as opponents that have beaten Louisville twice by 20 or more points this season. Before the Panthers accomplished the feat earlier this week, Louisville hadn’t lost to an opponent twice by 20 points or more in a single season since 1947-48.
—Miami is one victory away from its 20th 20-win season, including its eighth in just 12 years under Jim Larrañaga. If the Hurricanes defeat Louisville, getting to 20 in just 25 games would tie for the seventh-fastest mark in program history.
—Louisville is 6-36 over its last 42 games dating back to last season.
—In eight of Jim Larrañaga’s 11 years, Miami has placed higher in the final ACC standings than it was picked in the preseason poll. Six times, it finished multiple spots above its preseason spot, including four-plus places higher thrice, with an eight-spot jump in 2021-22.
—Miami was one of nine D-I programs that did not have a scholarship player enter the transfer portal during/after the 2021- 22 season, alongside Army West Point, Gonzaga, Grambling State, Kansas, LIU Brooklyn, Rutgers, St. John’s and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
—Miami is No. 19 in the current AP Poll and will be the fifth ranked team Louisville has faced this season. The Cardinals lost each of the four other games by 23 points or more.
—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: Miami 86, Louisville 63