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Louisville vs. NC State preview

Go Cards.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 10 Louisville at Miami Photo by Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Louisville Cardinals (6-9, 1-3) vs. NC State Wolfpack (11-4, 3-1)

Game Time: Noon

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: The CW

Announcers: Evan Lepler (play-by-play) and Mike Gminski (analyst)

Favorite: NC State by 8

Series: Louisville leads, 14-12

Last Meeting: NC State won 76-64 on Dec. 22, 2022 in Raleigh

Series History:

Probable Starting Lineups:

Louisville

  • G Skyy Clark (6-3, 205, So.)
  • G Hercy Miller (6-3, 175, Jr.)
  • G/F Mike James (6-5, 200, R-So.)
  • F Danilo Jovanovich (6-8, 220, So.)
  • F Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (6-10, 240, Jr.)

NC State

  • G D.J. Horne (6-2, 180, Gr.)
  • G Casey Morsell (6-3, 200, Gr.)
  • G Jayden Taylor (6-4, 195, Jr.)
  • G Dennis Parker Jr. (6-6, 205, Fr.)
  • F D.J. Burns Jr. (6-9, 275, Gr.)

Statistics:

Relevant Videos:

About NC State:

Former Louisville assistant Kevin Keatts’ squad was off to its best start in ACC play since the 2012-13 season at 3-0 before dropping its first conference game of the season Wednesday night, falling to rival North Carolina, 67-54. The defeat dropped NC State to 11-3 overall on the year.

Six different players have led NC State in scoring this season, and while four players are averaging double figures in scoring, no member of the Wolfpack enters Saturday’s game averaging better than 13.9 ppg.

The key to NC State’s success — when they’ve had it — this season has been built around taking care of the ball on offense, and taking advantage on defense when their opponents don’t take care of the ball. The Wolfpack are turning the ball over on just 12.6 percent of their offensive possessions, the second-best mark in the entire country. Conversely, they’re averaging a whopping 19.5 points per game off their opponents’ turnovers.

Arizona State transfer DJ Horne is currently pacing the team in scoring at 13.9 ppg. He takes a ton of shots from beyond the arc, and will not stop firing if the Cardinals refuse to locate him. Fellow double figure scorers Jayden Taylor and Casey Morsell are also players Louisville can’t afford to lose on the perimeter.

Inside, the Pack is led by the biggest of all ACC big boys DJ Burns Jr. The 6’9, 275-pound Burns rebounds at an absurdly low rate for someone his size, but is a threat to get a bucket inside on every NC State offensive possession.

NC State is already 2-0 in ACC road games so far this season, beating Boston College in overtime back in December, and holding off Notre Dame in South Bend 10 days ago.

This is a solid offensive team that doesn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but which does a good job of playing downhill and constantly being in attack mode. This might also be the best defensive team Keatts has had at NC State, but they are a bit vulnerable inside. Louisville can’t afford to go stretches where they forget Brandon Huntley-Hatfield exists.

Notable:

—Louisville’s 80-71 win at Miami on Wednesday was the program’s first true road win in its last 23 tries, and the first since winning at Georgia Tech on Jan. 2, 2022. Miami was 25-1 in its previous 26 home games coming into the contest.

—Louisville’s next four games are against the current top four teams in the ACC standings (combined 13-3 in league play).

—Over the last two games, the Cardinals are 20-for-44 (45.5%) from 3-point range. They’re shooting 31% from deep on the season. Louisville is also averaging 14.6 assists per game over its last five outings.

—Dating back to last season, NC State has won eight of its last 10 ACC games played in the month of January. The Pack won six of its seven ACC games last January and two of three this January.

—In 11 non-conference games this season, NC State averaged 17.1 fast break points per game but that number has been cut nearly in half in ACC play where the Pack averages just 9.5 fast break point an outing in four conference games. NC State scored 16 fast break points in the win over Boston College in December but has just 22 fast break points total in its last three outings.

—Louisville is 3-22 in ACC games under the direction of head coach Kenny Payne.

—Kevin Keatts is 3-3 as a head coach in games against Louisville.

—Louisville is 7-3 all-time in home games against NC State.

—Louisville is 223-15 over the last 20 seasons and 20-3 over the last three when scoring 80 points or more. The Cards are 4-1 in such games this season.

—Since 2004, Louisville is 129-0 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: NC State 76, Louisville 70