Cards lost a Battle, but have the weapons to win the war

Uploaded from the Photobucket <br /> iPhone App

 photo IMG_8848_zpsjqqcrohw.jpg

On Saturday in Lexington the 49th chapter of the Battle of the Bluegrass was written. For the 34th time it was Kentucky who walked away with the victory. The Wildcats now lead the all-time series 34-15. The Cardinals are now 1-8 against their rivals since John Calipari was hired as their coach and a big reason why is because Kentucky has always done a good job of making sure they win the home games in this rivalry. They did that again on Saturday and to them go the credit.

Our Cardinals lost the battle yesterday and it was a battle, but proved that they do have enough weapons to go to war in the ACC and make a run in March. One and done is always in the discussion when you play Kentucky, but on Saturday it was a done and one who was the best player on the floor. Damion Lee has led the Cardinals all season averaging around 18 points a game and on Saturday he led all scorers in the game with 27 points. In one of the toughest places to go into and perform he outperformed everybody. That last shot didn’t fall but a lot of them are going to this season.

Lee is a great weapon to have going forward but there is also plenty of other ammunition at Coach Pitino’s disposal. The other done and one guy Trey Lewis has also been a big scoring threat this season for the Cardinals. He’s averaged around 15 points a game this season and had 15 on Saturday. The poise and maturity is what stood out the most. At times early in the game on Saturday you could see that deer in the headlights look in every player on the court for the Cardinals except for Lewis. He held things together while everyone else settled in. Having a guy on this team with so much composure is going to be huge down the stretch. Some of those gyms in the ACC are going to be just as loud as or louder than Rupp Arena.

Rebounding is vital especially when you go on the road and in tournament play. Chinanu Onuaku has led the Cardinals in rebounding all season averaging around 8 a game. And he out-rebounded every player on the floor on Saturday with 10 helping the Cardinals out-rebound Kentucky 39-29. Onuaku was clearly a force down low in the game and had his way when he fought for the position. If Onuaku decides that he wants to be elite then he will be. The pedigree is there and the ability and talent are as well. The only thing that can hold Chinanu back is Chinanu. I really believe he will be one of the best big men in the country before this season is over and who doesn’t love that granny shot.

The Louisville bench had scored over 350 points going into the game on Saturday and outscored UK’s bench 19-18. Donovan Mitchell was excellent and was the spark plug that ignited a comeback from 16 down. He was making big-time plays on both the offensive and defensive side of the floor. He is a superior athlete and proved he is ready to give quality minutes in big games moving forward. I was also really impressed with Jaylen Johnson. He keeps getting better. He ran the floor well and has that big man passing ability that coach Pitino loves. And you just can’t say enough about the development of Matz Stockman and Anas Mahmoud. These guys will be two of the premier big men in the ACC next year if they continue down that improvement path. And they will provide quality depth this season moving forward.

There are other guys on the roster that didn’t really bring it on Saturday but who will play a vital role in the coming weeks. The Louisville guys Quentin Snider and Ray Spalding weren’t effective against Kentucky but they both have the ability to have major impacts on a game. Snider’s ability to run the offense and Spalding’s length and athleticism are big time attributes. Deng Adel is just getting back off injury and will be a force on that wing soon enough. Mango will be back in around 6 to 8 weeks hungrier than ever to make another NCAA run.

I’m still very confident in how this season will turn out and I think this early loss in December will give this team a wakeup call. Where Calipari relies more on talent, Pitino has utilized development and his coaching ability to make Louisville successful. He will figure out how to best use the pieces on this team and the team will figure out how to use what they have to their advantage. We have got the nucleus for another Championship run and now the guys just have to keep fighting to find a way to make it all work together. I’m very disappointed in that loss yesterday and I did take it very hard, but the college basketball season is not a sprint it’s a marathon. We got a long way to go until March.

Here we go again… Cards vs. Cats

Uploaded from the Photobucket <br /> iPhone App

 photo 5007792_Gffff_zps75448030.jpg

We are just a few weeks removed from the Cats and Cards doing battle on the gridiron to end the regular season of college football. On Saturday they will take the battle to the basketball court. This week we have flown our flags a little higher and wore our gear with that little extra boost of pride. This is the Cards and the Cats and it just doesn’t get any bigger in college basketball.

If you have grown up in the state of Kentucky and you are a sports fan this rivalry has been a part of your life. I can’t say that for the last 29 years I have enjoyed all the constant back and forth between me and my friends that cheer for Kentucky. But rivalries are what define sports and every competition needs a great rivalry. We have one of the best rivalries in all of sports and it deserves the credit. The Rivalry has given us many enjoyable moments and now it’s time to have another.

“Two elite teams meet once again, eternal bragging rights (at least for another year), HoF coaches who can’t stand each other. It’s not always a pretty watch, but it’s compelling TV and the best soap opera in the sport at the moment.” -Sports Illustrated

This will again be a highly anticipated Battle of the Bluegrass with both teams ranked within the top 25. It has been the Cats who have won the last 10 out of 12 in this battle head-to-head, but when looking at their entire body of work these teams have had similar success in the last 30 years. A series that started in 1913 these old rivals will meet for the 49th time on Saturday afternoon. Kentucky holds the all-time lead in this series 33-15.

Skal Labissiere (9.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG)
Tyler Ulis (12 PPG, 3.6 RPG)
Isaiah Briscoe (11.5 PPG, 5.6 RPG)
Alex Poythress (9.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG)
Jamal Murray (17.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG)

Marcus Lee (8.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG)
Derek Willis (5.6 PPG, 2.2 RPG)
Charles Matthews (3.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG)

#12 Overall
Offense Adjustment efficiency 112.0 24th
Defense Adjustment efficiency 92.7 13th
Kenpom has Kentucky winning this game 71-70

The Wildcats are are shooting 47.1% from the field, 29.7% from beyond the arc, 67.4% from the free throw line and average 78.4 points a game. They are aggressive attacking the basket with their dribble-drive motion offense and rank among the top 25 in the nation in offensive rebound percentage. Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray are their most important players on the offensive side of floor.

Ulis is one of the more crafty guards that has ever played for Coach Calipari and that is saying a lot. He can create his own shots and is a very efficient offensive threat, but where he really excels is getting his teammates involved. He is so quick and getting into the lane that when defense comes help side he will dish to another player in scoring position. He has 53 assist on the season and averages 5.3 a game. Murray is their deadliest offensive threat and there isn’t a spot on the court where he can’t score. He is shooting 42% from the floor and almost 40% from beyond the arc. He has range for days. A guy who could be a big X-Factor for them Saturday is Alex Poythress. When engaged, he can affect the game on either end of the floor. He leads Kentucky in rebounding and, at times, displays a much-improved offensive game. He’s also effective in transition because he can gallop down the floor and is a target for lobs.

Kentucky plays man-to-man but haven’t done so aggressively enough during the first part of this season to suit Calipari. The Wildcats are dangerous on this end of the floor if amped up getting into passing lanes and harassing ball handlers. I suspect they’ll be amped up for their home crowd Saturday. They are allowing 65.6 points on 39.9 percent shooting from the field allowing 30.4 percent shooting from deep and forcing 13.8 turnovers per game.

The best way to beat Kentucky this season is to play great lock-down defense against their back-court and not let Ulis have his way in the lane and not let Murray have many open looks from deep. The Louisville guards also need to brace up in the face of the Wildcats’ defensive harassment. Kentucky still has a lot of length and talent in their front-court but unlike previous seasons this Louisville team has plenty of talent and height of their own to challenge them here. The Cardinals are allowing 55.9 points on 35.2 percent shooting from the field, allowing 29 percent shooting from deep and is forcing 15 turnovers per game. They are ranked 2nd in the nation in scoring defense.

Anytime you play Kentucky there is always talk about the one and done players and how they’ve had such an impact on this rivalry over the last 5 years. That won’t be the case on Saturday. It will be the done and one players Damion Lee and Trey Lewis. Lee is averaging 17.3 points and 4.3 rebounds while Lewis is averaging 14.7 points and 2.8 assists. These guys have meant everything for Louisville this season and are a big reason why they are ranked 11th in the nation in scoring offense. It’s been a long time since Louisville fans have witnessed offensive output like this. The Cardinals X-factors on Saturday will be the front-court players. If Anas, Onuaku and Spalding can play great defense and grab those defensive rebounds I really like our chances. They have to neutralize the Kentucky bigs. I do think our bench scoring will come into play in this one. There are always a lot of fouls called in these games. The Cardinals have 353 bench points already this season.

This will be one of the biggest test of the year for both of these teams. Each has to play to their strengths and attack the others weakness, but as I mentioned above with the player always coming out of nowhere there will be a scenario play out that nobody expected. These rivalry games are packed with emotion and that along with the home crowd will also factor in. I’m looking forward to a great game and a opportunity to knock off this Kentucky group. It has been too long. Should be another great one in the series… Go Cards!

The Beak Prediction:
Louisville 80 Kentucky 72

TWAS the Week Before the Dream Game

Uploaded from the Photobucket <br /> iPhone App

 photo 10E0C9CE-73D1-411C-AAF8-450830E020EE_zps9b7a3d06.jpg

Twas the week of the dream game,
And all through the state,
UofL vs UK basketball will again
be the topic of great debate.

Two of the top programs in the country,
Will battle for the bluegrass state,
And the fans of the Red and Blue;
Just can’t wait.

For whoever loses this game,
Will have more than enough crow;
To fill their plate.

I’m sure we’ll hear all week,
That the Cats will win;
And they’ll go on.. and on,
About how Calipari will triumph over Rick again.

Every year we hear it,
Or since Calipari moved up the street;
This will be the UK team nobody can beat.

Number nine is coming they’ll yell and scream,
But it always turns out;
To be another pipe dream.

They recruit great players and athletes,
Sure they have some;
But they won’t know what hit them,
When they face our done and ones.

Ole Calipari will be yelling,
With all his might;
As the guys in blue,
Start to lose the fight.
With 23 thousand screaming down below:
It’s the guys in Red,
That will deal the final blow.

Get em Damion, Q and Trey;
Coach P will scream with delight,
As he knows that this will be his team’s night.

Cards fans will throw,
Their L’s high in the sky;
As that victory horn sounds:
And it will be a rough New Year,
For those Big Blue clowns.

With the dream game victory,
Celebrated and passed,
That Music City Bowl game will be here fast.
Another slap in the face,
For our rival in state;
As we’ve already ended their football slate.

Eat it up my friends,
And fellow Cards fans I say;
As victory will be ours:
On this glorious day.
That Big Red shadow will loom,
Over that blue spot up the road;
And the only Bowl game they’ll see:
Is in their commodes.

With this battle of the bluegrass,
Well out of sight;
We must continue to fight the good fight.
This Cardinal team has big things ahead,
And thoughts of another title run;
Will be dancing in our heads.

I wish all my fellow Cards fans,
Great Holiday cheer;
And I hope all of your dreams,
Come true next year.
I’ll see you all in Nashville,
As I write this with delight:
L1C4 and Go Cards Fight… Fight.

The Rivalry before The Rivalry

Uploaded from the Photobucket <br /> iPhone App

 photo 5007792_GQQQQ_zps6eda086e.jpg

This time next week we’ll be staring down another Louisville vs UK basketball game. But every season for the past eight years we’ve had a very good rivalry game with another in-state basketball power. As a matter of fact we’ve played Western Kentucky a lot longer than we have the Wildcats. Western is Louisville Basketball’s third longest opponent in the history of the program. The series that started back in 1926 is tied at 39-39 with the Cardinals taking the last six straight.

What started as a somewhat friendly foe has also changed over the years and there are no more smiles in this one. Ray Harper likes his team’s to play an aggressive style of basketball and he will attempt to dirty things up if he can. The Cardinals found that out last year when tensions ran high in Diddle arena. This should be another good one Saturday and after the Cardinals stroll through cupcake city this should be a step up in competition.

The Louisville program and the Western program share a common thread. In 1944 Bernard “Peck” Hickman was hired as the Cardinals head coach. Hickman was a star guard for WKU and Coach Ed Diddle during his college playing days. He was the first coach to lead our Cardinals to a championship on a national level winning the NAIB Championship in 1948. He never had a losing season in his 23 years as the Cardinals head man.

“We play them because of the amount of respect we have for their tradition and their basketball abilities. Why start a series with say a Memphis or Cincinnati when you’ve got a great school right down the road in state with unbelievable tradition. Why not do that? That is what I have always believed in and Western Kentucky is one of the great traditions in college basketball.”-Coach Pitino

F 14 Ben LAWSON (4 PPG, 4.1 RPG)
F 23 Justin JOHNSON (17.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG)
G 1 Chris McNEAL (5.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG)
G 2 Aaron COSBY (10.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG)
G 25 Fredrick EDMOND (10.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG)

G 51 Chris Harrison-Docks (10.7 PPG, 1.1 RPG)
F 21 Nigel Snipes (12.7 PPG, 3.9 RPG)
G 1 Chris McNeal (5.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG)

Kenpom Rankings
Overall Rank 164th
Offense Adjustment Efficiency 105.0 ranked 110th
Defensive Adjustment Efficiency 104.6 ranked 240th
Kenpom predicts Louisville 79 Western Kentucky 69

Ray Harper’s teams are known for their blue collar work ethic. And the best player on this Western Kentucky team epitomizes that. Justin Johnson has already turned in a game this season where he had 16 points, 15 rebounds and 4 assist. He is a player that will find all kinds of ways to hurt you. He can create his own shot and can find his open teammates. He had a game this season where he was 10-11 shooting for 90.9%. He’s ranked 14th in the nation in field goal percentage. This kid has a lot of moxie and he will want to have a big day against the Cards.

Western Kentucky relies on Edmond, Cosby and Johnson to generate offense. Both Edmond and Cosby are dribble-drive demons, while Johnson can score anywhere on the floor. Harper has three scoring threats off his bench in Harrison-Docks (10.7 PPG), Snipes (12.7 PPG) and McNeal (5.4 PPG). The Hilltoppers will score in transition if it’s there, but it’s primarily a medium-tempo team that beats opponents with guard play and the low-post/wing scoring of Snipes and Johnson. If the score is in the 60s rather than the 70s or 80s, then the Hilltoppers are happy.

On the defensive side of the ball Western Kentucky’s primary defense is man-to-man, but the Hilltoppers sprinkle in some 2-3 zone and some full-court pressure, too. The Hilltoppers can aggressively attack opposing jump-shooters, secure in the knowledge that they have two good shot-blockers in Lawson and Johnson.

The Cardinals are on pace to have a historical season on the offensive side of the floor. Damion Lee and Trey Lewis have provided instant offense and both are doing it at a rabid pace. The Cardinals lead the nation in scoring margin at 31 points, and fifth in the nation in field goal percentage at 53% and have shot above that in eight of nine games this season. But I think the key to this game will be on the defensive side of the ball. Full-court pressure bothers this Western Kentucky team because it falls into the trap of playing faster than they should, resulting in turnovers. They average 17.6 turnovers a game 117th in the nation.

Like I mentioned above I look for Ray Harper to bring his team into the KFC Yum center on Saturday and make it an ugly game. Nothing will come easy especially around the basket and when there is a foul it will be a hard one. The Cardinals need a good hardnosed game like this because after this week they will be heading into the very challenging part of their schedule. I think the Cardinals win big in this one but think they’ll have to earn it.

Louisville 80 Western Kentucky 65

Optimistic Observations after 8 Games this season

Uploaded from the Photobucket <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> iPhone App

 photo IMG_9078_zpsny1z4kt8.jpg

I have tried really hard this season not to buy too much into these early games with subpar competition but I have had a few observations that I think are going to be very favorable for the Cardinals going forward. I covered the game yesterday where our guys came out and manhandled Eastern Michigan 86-53 beating them by 33 points. Their average margin of victory this season is 30.6 points ranked 1st in the nation. For the 6th time this season they scored at least 85 points. The Cardinals are 103-0 under Coach Pitino when doing so. The Cardinals shot 53.4% from the field for the game and are averaging 51.6% through the first eight games of the season ranked 6th in the nation in field goal percentage. The Cardinals bench scored 34 points on Saturday and has scored 238 points from the bench this season. For a 5th time this season the Cardinals had at least four players in double figures. It is very important in March to have a team that shoots it well, can score points from all over the floor and has a deep bench. It appears this team will have all three.

They are who we thought they were:
Damion Lee is averaging 18.8 points a game while Trey Lewis is averaging 13.8 points. They are leading the way in point production and doing it very effectively. Lee is shooting 53.7% from the field while Lewis is shooting 41.7% from the field. They both are also averaging over 4 rebounds a game. These guys are also getting it done on the defensive side of the ball. Lee is leading the team in steals with 19 and Lewis is second on the team with 9 this season. Along with the solid leadership on and off the court these guys have been as big for this team as we all thought they would be and their veteran roles are going to be very important going forward.

Young Guys stepping up:
Donovan Mitchell is averaging 7.4 points a game and Ray Spalding is averaging 6.8 points. That is #6 and #7 in scoring on this team. These guys have also been very effective scorers. Mitchell is shooting 47.7% from the field while Spalding is averaging a scorching 76.7% from the field. Spalding is 3rd on the team in rebounding with 37 this season and Mitchell is 5th on the team with 33 this season. These guys have emerged as key guys coming off of the Louisville bench and both bring an energy with them when they enter that has an immediate impact. As these guys continue to adjust to the college game and learn the system they are going to continue to get better and that will be very good moving forward.

The hammer and the nails:
There are many players on this team that provide the nails and Quentin Snider is the hammer. He is the player on this team that brings it all together when they are on the floor. He is third on the team in scoring with 9.9 points a game but where he really shines is getting his teammates involved. He leads with 35 assist on the season. He is ranked 12th in the country in assist turnover ratio at 4.38. Nothing is more important on the road in big games and under the bright lights of March Madness than having a guy who takes care of the basketball and uses possessions wisely. Quentin Snider does both.

Like I said above I’m not going to buy too much into these games against lesser competition but I really like the direction this team appears to be heading and I’m looking forward to seeing just where that goes. Really love this group and they are very exciting to watch. They give great effort on both sides of the ball and appear to care just as much about how successful their teammates are as they do themselves. Good stuff! Go Cards!

Remember at all home games the Cardinals are asking fans to participate in the pre-game by yelling back “I got your back” during the video promo before starting line-ups. The Yum Center crowd did pretty good on Saturday but we can get better. This team deserves it.

[gallery_bank type=”images” format=”filmstrip” title=”true” desc=”false” img_in_row=”3″ display=”all” sort_by=”random” animation_effect=”bounce” image_width=”600″ album_title=”true” album_id=”10″]

Bowl Game is Music To Louisville Fans Ears

Uploaded from the Photobucket <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> iPhone App

 photo 72A501A3-7124-4839-8A90-931B990C833F_zps9vekaxug.jpg

It’s very fitting that this Louisville football season will end in Nashville at the Music City Bowl. The Cardinals football season has been like a country song. That moment when you felt like you lost your best friend, that moment they broke your heart again, and that night you just wanted to drink your blues away. Yup this season had all those emotions and more.

September 5th vs Auburn:

I’ve got a tiger by the tail can’t you see
I won’t be much when you get through with me
The Auburn Tigers took the wind from my sail
just when we thought we had them by the tail

September 12th vs Houston:

Houston, Houston means that I’m one day closer to you
Oh honey Houston after this game that losing record would be through
Well honey god in heaven above didn’t feel the same way to
and after that game our Cards were 0-2

September 18th vs Clemson:

It’s hard not to get lost in the jaws of the Tiger
Our Cards showed they had the palms of a fighter
In the end they got lost in the Orange Empire

September 26th vs Samford:

You ain’t nothing but a hound dog crying all the time
You ain’t nothing but a hound dog crying all the time
You ain’t never caught a rabbit but Samford bulldog
You were a friend of mine

October 3rd vs NCState:

We was settin’ there suckin’ toothpicks
drinkin’ Nehi and onion soup mix, and I said
Bobby, lets mail it in then send
that pack on down the other side
Wolf Creek Pass, way up on the great divide
Truckin on down the other side.

October 17th vs FLState:

So blow, blow Seminole win
Blow like you’re never gonna blow again
I’m call to you like a long lost friend
But I know who you are
And my Cards blowed, blowed the lead again

October 24th vs BC:

Born on a highway
on a freeway ride
Eagles come riding in the
morning light
You better run and hide
It was the cards defense winning side

October 30th vs Wake Forest:

I’ve got 4-4 on my mind
On the westbound number nine
My Pa is with his moonshine friends
Drinkin Deacon Jones’ bath tub gin

November 7th vs Syracuse:

Look a-yonder comin
Comin’ down that railroad track
Hey, Look a-yonder comin
Comin’down that railroad track
It’s that orange Blossom Special
Bringin’ our winning record back

November 14th vs Virginia

With a sword and a saddle
Powder in the gun
We thought for a minute our fight was done
But the Cards sent the Cavilers back where
they came from

November 21st vs Pitt

It was in Pittsburgh, late one night
I lost my hat, got into a fight
My Cards rolled and tumbled, on the ground
till the Panthers took them down

November 28th vs Kentucky

With the rain in my shoes
Cheering for you
In the cold Kentucky rain
In the cold Kentucky rain

But after the sadness is gone every good country album ends with a honky tonk and that’s what Cardinal fans will be doing in Music City on October 30th at 7pm. There were times this season when it felt like our Cardinals wouldn’t be in their 6th straight Bowl Game. Throughout they showed great perseverance and all is left of this season is the final chorus when Louisville faces Texas A&M in the Music City.

The Cardinals are 0-3 against A&M losing three straight in 92, 93, 94 with the average score in those contest 36-11. A&M finished their season 4-4 and 6th in the SEC West and finished 8-4 overall. Much like Louisville this Texas A&M team had an up and down season and I’m sure they would love to do the Texas two step out of Nashiville with a victory. Tonight in the press conference Coach Petrino talked about being a country music fan and said “may go down and do a little two-steppin’ and swingin'” in Nashville. We’ll all be there with you coach. Go Cards!


Elite Eight Re-Match Tonight in ACC/Big 10 Challenge

Uploaded from the Photobucket <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> iPhone App

 photo 3C7DDC92-4E4B-48B3-BDEB-60E0677FFA4F_zps9lzicjet.jpg

Two legendary coaches in Rick Pitino and Tom Izzo along with two elite college basketball teams in Louisville and Michigan State we’ve seen some great battles between these coaches and teams in the NCAA Tourney in recent years. With the latest coming a few months ago in the Elite 8 when Michigan State evened up the tourney series to 2-2 when they beat our Cards in overtime to advance to the Final Four. We have grown accustomed to the possibility of these teams facing off in the NCAA Tournament every year, but now these teams are headed for an early match-up in the Big 10/ACC challenge tonight at 7:15pm on ESPN.

 photo 836E985F-C30D-4969-9D72-752E3B8ABB19_zpsxxqhbjje.jpg

The Louisville vs Michigan State head to head record stands at 5-4. These teams first met in 1959 in the Mideast Regional final with the Cards winning that game 88-81 with the most recent game back on March 29th in the Regional Finals where Michigan State prevailed in Overtime 76-70 against the Cards.

It has become a staple of Izzo and Michigan State to play these early tough non-conference games and by seasons end, this bunch is toughened up and ready to make a deep run in the win-or-go-home Big Dance. The names change, but the recipe for success remains the same for the Spartans excellent coaching, balanced scoring, relentless rebounding and very solid defense. They usually do a pretty good job at guarding the 3 point line and that will be a factor in tonight’s game. Izzo’s offense features three starters who average in double figures (Valentine, Forbes and Davis) and another who is close to doing so (Bess). If they miss their first shooting try, everyone pounds the glass for the Spartans. Michigan State teams are always very strong and physical and this allows them to implement the two annual tenets of Izzo Ball: intense man-to-man defense and relentless rebounding. The 2015 Spartans are stout defenders (39% field goal percentage allowed) and great glass-eaters (44 per game).

Denzel Valentine (19.9 PPG, 8.9 RPG)
Bryn Forbes (11.4 PPG, 1.6 RPG)
Deyonta Davis (10.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG)
Javon Bess (8.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG)
Matt Costello (7.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG)

Eron Harris (6.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG)
Lourawls Nairn Jr.(4.7 PPG, 1.3 RPG)

Offensive Adjustment Efficiency 115.1 ranked #6
Defensive Adjustment Efficiency 93.7 ranked #20
Kenpom Game Prediction: Louisville 65 Mich St. 70

Louisville currently has the 3rd ranked team in field goal defense and the 1st ranked team in scoring defense. I think these will play a big part in this game tonight along with offensive and defensive rebounding. They hit the broads hard and if we could neutralize that strength its half the battle. And if the Cardinals can get some of the key MSU starters into foul difficulty the odds of beating them improve because their bench is not that great.

We are going to need a big night out of our perimeter players and need Quentin, Damion, and Trey to hit some shots. I think Mango and Nanu will also need to have very solid nights and need to really hit the boards and play good defense inside the post. Nanu had foul problems the last time out and that would be a killer if he has to sit for a long period of time tonight. Mango was the MVP Saturday night and I hope some of the inspiring play can work its way into the game tonight. I know he is thinking about that game back in March and wants a little payback.

The way our offense has been trending upward lately is a very positive sign heading into this tough early season game. For the first time in a long time this Louisville team can score in a variety of ways and from every position on the court. Their 33.6 point average margin of victory is the largest through the first 5 games of any season in school history. And as usual the defense is legit. Folks taking into account all these factors I like the Cardinals chances tonight.

The Beak Prediction:
Louisville 80 Mich St. 75