Battle 4 Atlantis: Louisville vs. Duke Game Preview and Predictions

Jon HancockSenior Analyst INovember 24, 2012

Russ Smith
Russ SmithKevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Louisville has survived and advanced through the first two rounds of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

Now the Cardinals must take on the fifth-ranked Duke Blue Devils in the championship game Saturday night. Both teams come into the game with a record of 5-0.

Louisville hasn't played Duke since March 31, 1986 in the NCAA championship game. Louisville won 72-69.

Louisville comes into the game after dominating the 13th-ranked Missouri Tigers Friday night, beating them 84-61.

Russ Smith led the Cards with 18 points, seven rebounds, six steals and four assists.

Junior forward Luke Hancock added 19 points off the bench for the Cardinals.

Rick Pitino has a lot of respect for Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, as he recently called him a modern-day John Wooden. Pitino is 0-1 against Coach K in his career.

Duke played VCU in the second round of the tournament, holding on to beat them 67-58.

The Blue Devils had a big game from senior big man Mason Plumlee, who had 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Shooting guard Seth Curry added 15 points and six rebounds for Duke.

"These guys played with so much poise, two turnovers total between them," Duke's coach, Mike Krzyzewski, said after the VCU game (via "I am most proud of how they handled players who were quicker and again, they showed that poise."


Location: Imperial Arena at Atlantis Resort in Paradise Island, Bahamas. 

When: Saturday, Nov. 24 at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Watch: NBC Sports Network

Listen: WHAS Radio (840 AM) in Louisville, Ky.

            Blue Devil IMG Sports Network in Durham, NC.


Starting Lineups


C Gorgui Dieng, 6'11”, 245 pounds

PF Chane Behanan, 6'6”, 250 pounds

F Wayne Blackshear, 6'5”, 230 pounds

G Russ Smith, 6'0”, 165 pounds

PG Peyton Siva, 6'0”, 185 pounds



F Ryan Kelly, 6'11", 230 pounds

F Mason Plumlee, 6'10", 235 pounds

G Rasheed Sulaimon, 6'4", 185 pounds

G Seth Curry, 6'2", 185 pounds

G Quinn Cook, 6'1", 175 pounds


Matchup to Watch: Russ Smith vs. Seth Curry

This matchup will be between two explosive guards who can score points quickly.

Seth Curry averages 18.3 points a game so far this season. He is shooting 48 percent from behind the arc and making smart passes.

Russ Smith is a different type of player. He is prone to making several turnovers a game, but makes up for it with his tenacious defense and his ability to score points in spurts.

Smith averages 20 points and 2.8 steals a game this season.


Game Notes

- Duke's Seth Curry has made a three-point shot in 19 straight games.

- Duke averages 81.5 points a game so far this season.

- Louisville has won 11 of their last 17 games against ranked opponents.

- Louisville forces an average of 21.4 turnovers a game this year.

- Louisville averages 43.8 rebounds a game.

- Duke has a field-goal percentage of 49.5 this season.

- Louisville's opponents average 50.2 points a game.

- Duke's opponents average 63.8 points a game.


Keys to a Louisville Victory

1. Stick with their game plan. Louisville wont be able to match shot for shot against Duke. Cardinals must play strong defense and make smart shots on offense.  

2. Find the hot shooter. The Cardinals have struggled getting in a shooting rhythm. Louisville must get the ball to whoever is shooting well and try not to force bad shots.

3. Win the rebounding battle. Louisville cannot let Duke get second chance shots.


Game Predictions

Both teams have a lot of experience and are very talented.

This could be a big game for Montrezl Harrell underneath. With his intensity and fearlessness, he will not be intimidated by Duke's experienced big men. 

Luke Hancock will have a solid game on both sides of the floor. He has a very high basketball IQ and will keep the Cardinals calm.

Russ Smith will lead the Cardinals in scoring with 22 points.


Louisville will win 77-75.


You can follow Jon on Twitter @JonKYSportsCo