LOUISVILLE: Men's Basketball Prepares for USF
January 22, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The University of Louisville men’s basketball team heads south to take on USF on Wednesday in American Athletic Conference action in the Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla. at 7 p.m. ET.
The Jan. 22 game will air on ESPNU, with Jason Benetti (play-by-play) and Tim Welsh (analyst) calling the action. Paul Rogers (play-by-play) and Doug Ormay (analyst) will announce the game on WKRD 790 AM, joined in progress on WHAS 840 AM. The contest also is available on SIRIUS channel 85 and XM channel 85.
Louisville and USF have met 31 times, with the Cardinals holding a 27-4 advantage. The programs met twice last year and Louisville won both games. In the first meeting on Jan. 12, 2013, in the KFC Yum! Center, Louisville won 64-38 and held USF to 26.7 percent shooting. The point total was USF’s second lowest in program history. The Cardinals stifled the Bulls in the second game, posting a 59-41 victory and limiting USF to 24.5 percent from the field.
Currently, Louisville ranks in the top-five nationally in four different categories, including No. 1 in scoring margin (+20.6). Two of the other top-five ratings come from the defensive end, with the Cardinals boasting the No. 3 ranking in total steals (186) and steals per game (9.8). Conversely, USF is 202nd in turnovers per game (12.9) and 217th in turnover margin (-0.5).
The Cardinals (16-3, 5-1 AAC), which rank No. 12 in this week’s Associated Press poll and ninth in the USA Today/Coaches Poll, are coming off their third-consecutive win with a 76-64 decision at Connecticut on Saturday in front of an ESPN GameDay audience.
Russ Smith, the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week, scored 23 points in the win, knocking down 12 of his 15 free throws. Smith moved into 14th on the school’s career scoring list with 1,584 points. Montrezl Harrell registered his fourth career double-double, the third in his last four games, with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Luke Hancock, in his third-consecutive start of the year, added 13 points and five rebounds.
Collectively, the Cardinals shot 45.6 percent from the field and outrebounded the Huskies 45-30. Connecticut, which knocked down just 35.2 percent of its shots, was led by Shabazz Napier’s 30 points.
USF is coming off its second-consecutive loss after dropping decisions to SMU and, most recently, Cincinnati. The Bulls own a 10-8 overall mark, with a 1-4 league record. Their lone AAC victory came against Temple on Jan. 9.
In the 61-54 loss to the Bearcats, three USF players scored in double digits: Javontae Hawkins (15), Victor Rudd (12), and John Egbunu (10). Rudd also totaled nine rebounds, while backup guard Josh Heath had a game-high six assists. For the game, the Bulls shot just 39.2 percent, but outrebounded the Bearcats 36-30.
Rudd is currently pacing the Bulls in scoring (15.1) and rebounding (7.1). Corey Allen Jr. is second on the team with 11.1 points per game and has team highs in assists (62) and steals (28).
The Bulls are under the direction of seventh-year coach Stan Heath, who’s guided the program to a 95-118 record in that span. The Bulls were picked to finish ninth out of 10 teams after going 12-19 a season ago. Both Anthony Collins and Rudd were picked to the AAC preseason all-conference second team.
GAME FACTS - Louisville at USF