Day & Time: Wednesday, February 16, 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Ky.
Line: Louisville -5
TV/Streaming: ACC Network, WatchESPN
Louisville Blog: Card Chronicle
Rivalry: 19-10, Louisville
Current Streak: 1, Louisville
First Meeting: Syracuse traveled to Kentucky for its first ever matchup against Louisville on December 16, 1964. The Orange lost 67-62 with Dave Bing and Chuck Richards scoring 23 points each.
Last Meeting: Syracuse stayed initially relatively close with Louisville in its February 19, 2020 matchup. The Orange went into the halftime locker room trailing by seven. Everything changed in the second half as the Cardinals figured out their best offensive strategy against the zone and dominated the final 20 minutes. Louisville outscored Syracuse by 17 in the second half en route to a 90-66 win.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Jim Boeheim (45th year, 1,077-405) | Louisville - Chris Mack (third year, 54-25)
Coach Bio: Mack started his collegiate basketball career at the University of Evansville before transferring to Xavier. He started his collegiate coaching career as the Director of Basketball Operations at Xavier in 1999. Mack then moved to Wake Forest as an assistant coach before returning to Xavier to become an assistant coach under Sean Miller. After Miller left for Arizona in 2009, Mack took his spot as Xavier’s head coach. The Musketeers made the NCAA tournament in eight of Mack’s nine seasons as Xavier head coach, with its highest finish being an Elite Eight appearance in 2017.
After a 29-win 2017-18 season with Xavier, Louisville hired Mack to be its head coach. The Cardinals finished with at least 20 wins in his first two seasons at the helm.
Last Year: Louisville started the 2019-20 season with a 9-0 record, which gave the Cardinals the No. 1 ranking for a short period of time. Louisville’s marquee wins included victories over No. 4 Michigan and No. 3 Duke. The Cardinals did struggle heading into the ACC tournament, losing four of their last seven games. Louisville did enough to earn the three-seed in the conference tourney, but they wouldn’t get a chance to play a rubber game against Syracuse due to the event’s cancellation.
Last Game: Louisville came out of the halftime locker room on fire to open up a 16-point lead over Georgia Tech on February 1. The Cardinals rolled that momentum to a 74-58 win over the Yellow Jackets. Both teams didn’t shoot the ball particularly well with the field goal percentage sitting at under 40 for both programs. However, Louisville killed Georgia Tech on the boards with a 56-39 advantage, which helped the Cardinals score 20 second-chance points.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Carlik Jones is third in the ACC in scoring with 17.4 points per game and third in assists with 4.86 points per game. He’s not doing too bad on the boards as well, averaging 5.6 rebounds per game. That number might seem good, but Jones ranks fourth on the Cardinals in rebounds, who carry two players averaging at least 7.5 boards per game.
If Syracuse Wins: I hear you like bubble talk. That’s good because WE’RE RIGHT BACK ON IT.
If Syracuse Loses: There goes one of Syracuse’s chances for a quadrant one win.
Fun Fact: Louisville is returning from a 16-day pause due to COVID-19. The Cardinals returned to practice last Friday.