Teams: Syracuse Orange (16-10, 8-5) vs. Louisville Cardinals (20-5, 8-4)
Day & Time: Monday, February 13, 7 p.m. ET
Venue: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Line: N/A just yet
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
Louisville Blog: Card Chronicle
Rivalry: 16-8, Louisville
Current Streak: 1, Louisville
First Meeting: The Orangemen lost 67-62 down in Louisville in December of 1963. Dave Bing and Chuck Richards each chipped in 23 points, but it wasn’t enough to help NIT-bound SU grab a road win.
Last Meeting: Syracuse hung close with Louisville for a half last February, but the Cardinals would pull away in the second for a 72-58 victory at the YUM! Center. Trevor Cooney managed 19 points, but that couldn’t contend with what the Cards were able to do from the floor. They shot 48 percent, vs. just 38 percent for the Orange.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (41st Year, 1,001-352); Louisville: Rick Pitino (16th Year, 411-137)
Head Coach Bio: The New York native played at UMass from 1971-74, then jumped straight into coaching as an assistant at Hawaii. He’d parlay that and a brief interim head coaching stint there into an assistant position with Syracuse, where he stayed for a couple years. You’ve probably heard the story of when Boeheim called him right before his honeymoon about recruiting.
He spent the next 25 years bouncing between the college ranks and the NBA. Boston University, then a Knicks assistant gig, Providence, back to the Knicks as head coach and then a longer stint with Kentucky. He’d leave the Wildcats for the Celtics in 1997, but was back in college at Louisville by 2001.
As coach of the Cards, he’s been pretty successful. Pitino has won six conference titles (three Big East, two C-USA one AAC), been to three Final Fours and won a national championship at Louisville. There’s also the NCAA issues and the whole 15 seconds thing that we won’t get into...
Last Year: Louisville went 23-8 overall, but ruled itself ineligible for the postseason due to aforementioned NCAA issues. In part, their absence helped opened the door for Syracuse’s path to the Final Four (thanks, guys!).
Last Game: The Cardinals were tested pretty well by Miami, but some late heroics from Quentin Snider helped seal the deal in a 71-66 home win over the ‘Canes. Oh, and some guy showed up on the court during the game.
"Fear Me, I've Killed Hundreds of Timelords": Snider’s an obvious pick since he’s the team’s second-leading scorer (12.1 points per game), and also hits 38.5 percent of his three-point attempts. He did just return from injury, but was effective against Miami with 13 points (including a late three).
In the out-of-nowhere department, V.J. King plays 15 minutes per game, but has also hit 47 percent (16-of-34) of his shots from beyond the arc. So yeah... let’s watch out for him.
If Syracuse Wins: If the NCAA Tournament committee is truly putting a premium on great wins over bad losses, then this could be the victory that locks up Syracuse’s bid. Louisville’s a two-seed in current projections, so that would be another impressive addition to the quality win pile.
If Syracuse Loses: We’re expected to, admittedly. Though it certainly won’t help our postseason goals. The Orange would probably need to go 3-1 in their remaining games (including another one vs. the Cardinals) to feel better about the NCAAs.
Fun Fact No. 1: SU once lost seven straight games to Louisville from 2007 to 2011. That’s not fun at all, I realize. That stretch covered the entire time I was at college, so I’ve never seen Syracuse beat the Cardinals in-person. The same can be said about Pitt too for me, because sometimes joy is a thing that sits across the street and laughs at you from afar. (on the other hand, SU was 4-0 vs. Georgetown while I was there; #contracthonored)
Fun Fact No. 2: Did you know birds have teeth? It’s crazy, I know. Also, Sean Whathisname once tried to tell you that UL was Syracuse’s biggest athletics rival. You can debate the merits of that as you’d like.