Teams: Syracuse Orange (17-12, 9-7) vs. Louisville Cardinals (22-6, 10-5)
Day & Time: Sunday, February 26, 2 p.m. ET
Venue: KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Ky.
Line: N/A just yet
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
Louisville Blog: Card Chronicle
Rivalry: 17-8, Louisville
Current Streak: 2, Louisville
First Meeting: Back in 1964, Dave Bing and the Orange lost a close one down at Louisville, 67-62. Bing and Chuck Richards each had 23 points. If only that Boeheim kid had scored more, they would’ve won...
Last Meeting: Syracuse came back from a double-digit deficit and managed to force overtime at the Carrier Dome. Unfortunately, they fell by a score of 76-72. You can’t win EVERY game like that, after all.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (41st Year, 1,002-354); Louisville: Rick Pitino (16th Year, 413-138)
Head Coach Bio: Rick finished up his playing days at UMass, and headed out to Hawaii to begin his coaching career. After an interim head gig with the Rainbow Warriors, he ended up in Syracuse for a couple years before taking over Boston University in 1978.
He’d leave the Terriers for the Knicks, and then the Knicks for Providence, and then Providence for the Knicks, before rejoining the college ranks at Kentucky. Rick went back to the NBA again -- this time to the Celtics — before settling at Louisville.
Rick’s been a pretty successful coach at the college level. He’s won 767 games in his career, won two national titles, made seven Final Fours and taken home 12 conference championships.
I’d mention the 15 seconds stuff, but... don’t want to get screamed at and escorted out of this game (which I won’t be attending, but Rick will see to it that I get kicked out anyway).
Last Year: Louisville declared themselves ineligible for the postseason, because all the cool kids are doing it. They would’ve probably done well too, all things considered. They finished the year 23-8.
Last Game: After Syracuse’s thrilling buzzer-beater over Duke on Wednesday, Louisville went and lost to North Carolina in pretty boring fashion, 74-63. They made a little bit of a run in the second half, but this one never really seemed that close.
"Fear Me, I've Killed Hundreds of Timelords": Donovan Mitchell and Quentin Snider are going to make this easy for you. Just try to stop them from scoring, and you stand a reasonable chance to win the game. They combined for 30 points against Syracuse last time out, while hitting a combined five threes.
That said, others on this team have abilities to score as well. There’s also the issue of the Cards just being bigger than Syracuse. Deng Adel and Anas Mahmoud could cause same headaches for SU on the glass.
If Syracuse Wins: In, without any doubts (in my mind). Four top-10 wins would run laps around the resume of virtually any other bubble team, and even ending the season with two losses (Georgia Tech, ACC Tournament) couldn’t derail this team’s credentials there.
If Syracuse Loses: An expected result, and one that gets easier to stomach after beating Duke. We don’t like losing to Louisville AT Louisville this much. We just do it with frustrating, rote regularity.
Fun Fact No. 1: This isn’t necessarily “fun,” but Jim Boeheim is 10-14 all-time vs. Rick Pitino — a win total that’s largely bolstered by a 5-0 run against Providence in the 1980s. Jim’s 5-14 against Rick when he’s coaching Kentucky-based teams, and SU’s only beaten UL or UK once in the Bluegrass State.
Fun Fact No. 2: Louisville forward V.J. King was high school teammates with Syracuse’s Frank Howard. The former five-star prospect was interested in the Orange at one point, but ended up choosing the Cardinals.