Since the late 1940's, the Louisville vs. Memphis game has always been a tightly-contested battle between the two schools. This year looks to be no different as the Cardinals will head down to Memphis to face the Tigers in another chapter of this rivalry.
Louisville leads the all-time series 52-34, although the Memphis Tigers has won 22 of the 37 games at home. Rick Pitino is 5-4 all-time against the Tigers.
The Cardinals are coming into the game after a week off. They played Missouri-Kansas City last Saturday and dominated them 99-47. Louisville scored 35 points off of turnovers against the Kangaroos and forced 24 turnovers.
Junior guard Russ Smith had a career high 31 points, adding seven rebounds, five steals and five assists.
Coach Rick Pitino said after the UMKC game via GoCards.com:
Obviously, I think Russ (Smith) played a fantastic game. He keeps getting better, better and better. He can create easy buckets for you off his defense and is shooting the ball extremely well. I thought all of the guys played as well coming off that performance against Charleston. Obviously, this team is building, and they're over-matched physically tonight, but we are pleased to get the victory. Now we have a tough game to get ready for in Memphis, and we are looking forward to the challenge.
Memphis is also coming into the game after a week off. The Tigers beat Austin Peay last Saturday at home, 83-65. Tigers forward Tarik Black led the team with 18 points—14 of them scored in the second half.
Both Memphis and Louisville beat Samford and Northern Iowa in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. The Tigers beat Northern Iowa 52-47, the Cardinals won 51-46. Louisville beat Samford 80-54, Memphis won 65-54.
When: Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2:37 p.m. ET
Where: FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn.
Watch: Fox Sports Net
Listen: WKRD Radio (790 AM) in Louisville, Ky.
WREC Radio (600 AM) in Memphis, Tenn.
F Stan Simpson, 6'10", 236 lbs.
F Shaq Goodwin, 6'9", 246 lbs.
SF Adonis Thomas, 6'7", 240 lbs.
G Chris Crawford, 6'4", 218 lbs.
PG Joe Jackson, 6'1", 171 lbs.
C Zach Price, 6'10”, 250 lbs
PF Chane Behanan, 6'6”, 250 lbs
F Wayne Blackshear, 6'5”, 230 lbs
G Russ Smith, 6'0”, 165 lbs
PG Peyton Siva, 6'0”, 185 lbs
Matchup to watch: Chane Behanan vs. Shaq Goodwin
Chane Behanan is starting to get into a groove this season. The sophomore power forward struggled early in the year after missing both exhibition games for disciplinary reasons.
Behanan averages 8.8 points and 7.8 rebounds so far this season. He is a terrific offensive rebounder and is very athletic for 250 pounds.
Goodwin, who is only a freshman, is also starting to find his place on the team. Last week he scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds against Ohio University.
Behanan is a lot stronger than Goodwin, but Goodwin has a much longer wing span. It will be a battle underneath between the two young power forwards. Expect Behanan to win this battle in the end due to his experience.
- Louisville averages 12.4 steals a game, led by Russ Smith with 3.3.
- Louisville allows just 53.1 points a game.
- Memphis is shooting 72.1 percent from the free-throw line, Louisville is only shooting 68 percent.
- Memphis has won the last seven games straight at home.
- Memphis has allowed their opponents to shoot 41.8 percent this season, Louisville has allowed their opponents to shoot just 38.2 percent.
- Memphis averages 15.6 assists per game.
- Louisville's Peyton Siva needs just 88 points to reach 1,000 for his career.
There isn't a team in the country that can put as much pressure on the ball as the Louisville Cardinals. Russ Smith and Peyton Siva will cause havoc for four quarters and have some great backups who can do the same.
Memphis is a mostly young team who has struggled against good defensive teams this season—they lost to VCU 78-65 last month.
Expect Rick Pitino to keep the pressure going throughout the game, causing several fast breaks for the Cardinals.
Luke Hancock will be the spark for Louisville off the bench with 12 points and five assists.
Russ Smith will use the game to continue to prove he is a force, and will lead all scorers with 24.
Louisville wins 75-68.
All stats used came from ESPN.com unless otherwise noted.
You can follow Jon on Twitter @JonKYSportsCo.
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