Louisville will play two games this week before it meets the Cats in Rupp Arena on Saturday. The Cardinals will first host Missouri Kansas City tomorrow night, followed by Mark Pope and Utah Valley on Wednesday. Merry Christmas!
Here in Lexington, Coach Cal gave his players the early part of the week off to spend time with their families. They will meet back up in the Craft Center in a few days to begin preparation for Saturday’s big showdown.
Tonight, let’s take an early look at our arch rival as we anxiously await that game. We know they like hookers, but, believe it or not, there is much more to learn.
Louisville leads the nation in scoring margin.
The Cardinals are defeating opponents by 30.4 points per game, good enough for best in the country in that category.
Meanwhile, Kentucky ranks 41st with a scoring margin of 12.7 points per game.
Louisville ranks sixth in field goal percentage.
Only St. Mary’s, Maryland, SMU, Indiana and Kansas are shooting better than Louisville’s 51.8 percent per game. The Cards rank fourth in field goal percentage defense.
The Cards have played a very easy non-conference schedule.
Outside of a road game at Michigan State, its only loss, Louisville has played some very bad teams. Only two of its 10 opponents rank in the top 115 teams in the country.
The Sagarin Ratings have Louisville nine points better than UK.
Louisville’s 95.6 predictor score is the best in college basketball. Kentucky’s 86.03 ranks 28th.
If you give Kentucky the four points for home court advantage, Sagarin predicts a five-point UofL advantage in Saturday’s game.
Damion Lee is the team’s leading scorer.
The former Drexel Dragon is scoring 18.3 points per game in his first and only season in Louisville. He and fellow fifth-year transfer Trey Lewis have been great so far with their new team. Lee is among the best in the country in both offensive and defensive player ratings (the only player to make both lists) while Lewis’ 13.8 points per game is second best on the team.
Jamal Murray versus Damion Lee is going to be a blast to watch.
Chinanu Onuaku still shoots free throws like this…
To his credit, Onuaku’s foul shooting is up six percent since the switch to underhand. He is shooting it better than Isaiah Briscoe, Marcus Lee and Charles Matthews.
Mangok Mathiang is out 6-8 weeks.
Mathiang suffered a broken foot over the weekend that will keep him out against Kentucky and on into conference play. Louisville’s most experienced player was averaging 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game when the injury occurred. Pitino considered him the team’s defensive leader and most physical rebounder.
They’re going down.