Posted on: January 24, 2009 5:04 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2009 4:48 pm

Louisville Cardinals Game Preview

#9 Louisville Cardinals 14-3 (5-0 BE)


Louisville Starting Lineup:

G Edgar Sosa Jr.

G Jerry Smith Jr.

F Terrence Williams Sr.

F Earl Clark Jr.

C Samardo Samuels Fr.


Key Bench Players:

G Andre McGee Sr.

G Preston Knowles Soph.

F Terrence Jennings Fr.


Previous Game:  Louisville avoided a slip up @ Rutgers winning 78-59.  Louisville came out strong and went into halftime with a 20 point cushion.  The potent froncourt trio of Terrence Williams, Earl Clark and Samardo Samuels combined for 53 points and 20 rebounds.  Louisville moved into a tie for first place in BE play with the win.


Game Preview:  Louisville came into the season Preseason Top 3 in the nation, after slip ups at home to Western Kentucky (14) and UNLV (1), Louisville appeared to be one of the most overrated teams in the country. On January 17th that all changed, then # 20 Louisville defeated then # 1 and undefeated Pittsburgh and Louisville has established itself as a true Top 10 team.  The frontcourt trio of Williams, Clark and Samuels is the main reason for Louisville's success, averaging 41.1 ppg, 24.1 rpg and 8.6 apg on the season.  There is a weakness in that Louisville frontcourt though, and it's called depth.  After the big 3, there is very little to speak of in the front court.  The next guy in the the froncourt is Terrence Jennings who is averaging 2.2 ppg and 2.2 rpg, compared to a Syracuse team that has Paul Harris, Rick Jackson, Arinze Onuaku, Freshman Kris Joseph and former starter Kristof Ongenaut to boast in its frontcourt.  Then in the backcourt, Louisville is much different.  Jerry Smith and Edgar Sosa both average 6.8 ppg to lead the guards, both are very inconsistent.  For Smith in nonconference play he averaged 8 ppg and shot 41% from three, since BE play started he is averaging just 3.8 ppg and shooting 23% from 3.  For Sosa it's been a much more spread out inconsistency.  After averaging 11.4 ppg, shooting 34% from 3 and averaging 2.6 apg his freshman season, his averages have taken a nose dive each of the last two seasons, now averaging 6.8 ppg and shooting 22% from 3 with 2.6 apg in this his junior year.  This is where Syracuse can take advantage of UofL, using the 2-3 zone will be the obvious defensive choice.  It will force a strong frontcourt team in Louisville outside and make the backourt make some shots for a change.  If Louisville gets hot from outside like G Town did, lookout Syracuse.  Louisville will also employ a soft 2-2-1, 1-2-2 press.  Syracuse needs to be very smart with the ball and not give up stupid turnovers for easy buckets as UofL leads the BE in spg at 8.9 per.  That all starts with Jonny Flynn, he needs to be smart with the ball, trust his teammates to be smart with the ball and not do anything he maybe would have done last season.  Once again, on offense Cuse needs to feed Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson on the blocks.  Syracuse is 5-0 when Arinze gets at least 10 shots off in a game, and despite the clear advantage in the backcourt Syracuse needs to try to get it in to the bigs, because that will in turn open up the outside that much more.


My Prediction:  This is a tough game to predict.  UofL has all the momentum in the world right now and they are riding high...but.  Syracuse is at home, will be in front of a crowd of 25,000 fans and the backourt matchup is going to be just too much for the Cards, as they fall for the first time in BE play.  83-75 Syracuse.


Final Score: 67-57 Louisville





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