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Louisville at Virginia preview

Part II of the 2023-24 season starts Wednesday night in Charlottesville.

Saint Bonaventure v Virginia Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Louisville Cardinals (5-7, 0-1) at Virginia Cavaliers (10-3, 1-1)

Game Time: 7 p.m.

Location: John Paul Jones Arena: Charlottesville, Va.

Television: ESPN2

Announcers: Doug Sherman (play-by-play) and Cory Alexander (analyst)

Favorite: Virginia by 15.5

Series: Virginia leads, 22-5

Last Meeting: Virginia won 75-60 on March 3, 2023 in Charlottesville

Series History:

Probable 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.)

Virginia

  • G Reece Beekman (6-3, 194, Sr.)
  • G Isaac McKneely (6-4, 188, So.)
  • G Andrew Rohde (6-6, 202, So.)
  • G Ryan Dunn (6-8, 216, So.)
  • F Jacob Groves (6-9, 211, Gr.)

Statistics:

Relevant Videos:

About Virginia:

After spending most of the first two months of the 2023-24 season ranked somewhere in the AP top 25 poll, Virginia enters Wednesday night’s game against Louisville unranked and coming off a humbling 22-point road loss to lowly Notre Dame. The Cavaliers are still 10-3 overall, but have lost two of their last three.

Per usual, Tony Bennett’s squad appears to be the best defensive team in the ACC, and has some of the best defensive numbers in the entire country.

UVA enters Wednesday ranked second nationally in scoring defense (56.0 ppg), third in turnovers per game (8.8), fifth in turnover margin (5.8), eighth in fouls per game (13.2), ninth in assist/turnover ratio (1.78), 13th in field goal percentage defense (37.8), 22nd in blocks per game (5.4). The 76 points they surrendered Saturday in South Bend were the most they have allowed this season.

The Cavaliers return just one starter — First Team preseason All-ACC honoree Reece Beekman (13.1 ppg, 5.5 apg, 3.4 rpg and 2.2 spg) — from last season’s ACC regular-season champion team that finished 25-8. Sophomore guard Isaac McKneely, who played in a reserve role last season, is the team’s only other double figure scorer at 10.8 ppg. McKneely ranks fourth nationally in three-point percentage at 47.6 percent, and has made two or more triples in nine of 13 games this season.

If you’ve read this far you probably know everything you need to know about the Cavaliers: They play slow, they defend the hell out of you with their packline defense, they don’t allow second chance opportunities, we never beat them, Beekman has been there for 29 years, etc. There’s no point in making this section any longer than it needs to be.

Notable:

—Virginia one of only two ACC opponents that Louisville has not defeated on the road since joining the conference in 2014-15. Clemson is the other.

—The Cardinals are 1-10 all-time in Charlottesville, with their lone win coming on Feb. 17, 1990.

—U of L is 2-17 against Virginia since joining the ACC.

—Virginia ranks second nationally in scoring defense (56.0 ppg), third in turnovers per game (8.8), fifth in turnover margin (5.8), eighth in fouls per game (13.2), ninth in assist/turnover ratio (1.78), 13th in field goal percentage defense (37.8), 22nd in blocks per game (5.4).

—Louisville’s Kenny Payne and Virginia’s Tony Bennett are two of 29 Division-I head coaches in the country who were NBA Draft picks. Payne was selected 19th by the 76ers in 1989, while Bennett was the Hornets’ second-round pick in 1992.

—Louisville ranks 14th in the country in free-throw attempts per game (25.8) and 11th in made free throws per game (19.0). U of L’s 228 made free throws are the program’s second-most through 12 games since at least 2010, behind only the 2018-19 team.

—Louisville is 2-20 in ACC games under head coach Kenny Payne.

—Tony Bennett is 17-2 as a head coach in games against Louisville.

—Virginia is 8-0 at home thus far this season.

—UVA has an ACC-leading 89 wins in league home games over the past 11 seasons. Duke is second at 87

—Virginia is 163-11 all-time and 6-0 this season when scoring 70 or more points under Tony Bennett.

—Louisville is 222-15 over the last 20 seasons and 19-3 over the last three when scoring 80 points or more. The Cards are 3-1 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: Virginia 70, Louisville 57