Teams: Syracuse Orange (15-8, 4-6) vs. Louisville Cardinals (16-7, 6-4)
Day & Time: Monday, February 5, 2018, 7 p.m. ET
Location: KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Ky.
Line: Syracuse +7
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
Louisville blog: Card Chronicle
Rivalry: 18-8, Louisville
Current Streak: 3, Cards
First Meeting: Chuck Richards and Dave Bing combined for 46 points (23 apiece), but it wasn’t enough to best the Cardinals -- Louisville won, 67-62. After starting the year ranked No. 7, the Orangemen would go 1-6 including three straight losses in the state of Kentucky.
Last Meeting: Syracuse went on the road to Louisville needing a big win. And instead they got stomped, 88-68. Tyus Battle led the Orange with 20 points, but SU only shot 35.7 percent from the floor. Meanwhile, the Cards hit over 56 percent of their attempts, and out-rebounded Syracuse by 11. Donovan Mitchell led all scorers with 25 points.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (42nd year, 1,019-365); Louisville: David Padgett (1st year, 16-7)
Coach Bio: Padgett started his college career at Kansas, but after two years at KU, he transferred to Louisville and then played basketball overseas for two years in Spain. When he returned to the U.S., he took an assistant gig with IUPUI for three years before coming back to his alma mater, Louisville. Padgett was director of basketball operations for one year and an assistant for two prior to becoming the interim head coach this offseason.
Last Year: The Cardinals finished 25-9 and 12-6 in the ACC. They lost their only ACC Tournament game to eventual conference champ Duke, and fell to a hot Michigan team in the second round of the NCAAs. Louisville was ranked among the top 15 teams in the nation all season behind an experienced roster, including Mitchell — who’s been been a very good rookie in the NBA this season.
Last Game: A back and forth game with Florida State eventually ended with an 80-76 defeat. Four players scored in double digits for the Cardinals, but the bench only produced 14 points and Louisville was out-rebounded by nine.
”Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Deng Adel is scoring 15.7 points per game for the Cards, and has had 10 or more points in all but one game this year (a short effort vs. Siena). The forward can be a volume shooter at times, but he’s still hitting nearly 47 percent of his attempts overall. He can also be a threat from three at times and he picks up five boards per game.
Jack Ferguson Memorial Random Three-Point Performance: He hasn’t played in the last two games, but Jordan Nwora’s your out-of-nowhere guy in this one if he gets on the court. The freshman from Buffalo has hit 37.5 percent of his shots from outside, and started the year going 3-for-3 vs. George Mason.
If Syracuse Wins: It checks two boxes for the Orange, as they’re in desperate need of a high-quality win and some road success. Beating the Cardinals wouldn’t be a guaranteed trip to the NCAA Tournament, however. Just one of several things Syracuse needs to do if they hope to get an invite.
If Syracuse Loses: It wouldn’t be all that surprising, especially given the team’s struggles on the road this year and Louisville’s recent mastery of Jim Boeheim’s squad (the Cards have won five of six). However, that was also with Rick Pitino on the sidelines. Either way, at 4-7 in league play, it would be a tall order to finish .500 or better in the ACC.
Fun Fact No. 1: This is far from “fun” but Louisville is the only team with 10 more wins against Syracuse than the Orange have against them. In fact, the Cardinals are the only program that SU has a losing record against in 25 or more games.
Fun Fact No. 2: Louisville and Syracuse have produced the exact same number of first round draft picks, at 24 apiece. Both had players selected in 2017, with Donovan Mitchell going 13th overall to the Denver Nuggets and Tyler Lydon going 24th to the Utah Jazz, before they were traded for one another.