Jan. 8, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - After its longest road stretch in more than 30 years, the University of Louisville men’s basketball team returns to the KFC Yum! Center to face American Athletic Conference foe Memphis on Thursday at 7:02 p.m. ET.
The contest has been selected as a “White Out,” and fans are encouraged to wear white for UofL’s first AAC home game.
The Jan. 8 game will air on ESPN, with Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Dick Vitale (analyst), and Jeff Goodman (reporter) calling the action. Paul Rogers (play-by-play) and Bob Valvano (analyst) will announce the game on WHAS 840 AM. The contest also is available on SIRIUS channel 91 and XM channel 91.
Louisville and Memphis are meeting for the 88th time in series history, the second-most played Louisville series, and the Cardinals hold a 53-34 edge. Louisville has won the last four meetings, including the 2012 matchup in which the Cardinals posted an 87-78 win. Russ Smith scored 19 points (12-of-12 from the free-throw line), and Luke Hancock came off the bench to add 11 in the win.
No. 12/8 Louisville (13-2, 2-0 AAC) is coming off consecutive victories in The American, with its last win coming at Rutgers. The Cardinals connected on 41 of their 46 free-throw attempts, a school record for free throws made in a conference game. Defensively, the Cardinals forced 19 turnovers.
Smith paced the Cardinals to an 83-76 win with 22 points, 14 from the free-throw line. Hancock tallied 15 points off the bench, while Terry Rozier (14 points) and Wayne Blackshear (13 points) each reached double figures.
This season, Smith is leading the team in scoring (17.7 points per game) and assists (74) and has a team-high 30 3-pointers. Chris Jones, who ranks second in scoring at 12.6 points per game, is first on the squad in steals. Montrezl Harrell, who rounds out the top three scorers with 11.8 points per game, is averaging 7.9 rebounds per game.
Through Jan. 5, Louisville ranks in the top 20 in seven categories: scoring margin (No. 2, +22.6), turnover margin (No. 2, +7.8), total steals (No. 5, 150), steals per game (No. 7, 10.0), scoring offense (No. 16, 84.9), turnovers per game (No. 17, 10.1), and assist-turnover ratio (No. 20, 1.51).
Memphis enters Thursday’s game with a 10-3 overall record, 1-1 in AAC play, after dropping its conference home opener 69-53 to Cincinnati on Jan. 4. The Tigers are ranked No. 24 in the latest Associated Press poll and No. 22 by USA Today.
In the loss, Joe Jackson led Memphis with 13 points, and Michael Dixon Jr. was the team’s only other double-digit scorer at 12 points. The Tigers won the rebounding battle 41-38, grabbing 17 boards on the offensive end. Memphis struggled in the second half, shooting just 9-of-37 from the field, including 1-of-10 from 3-point range.
After 13 games, Jackson is averaging a team-high 15 points per game and is tied for the team lead with 46 assists. Shaq Goodwin ranks first on the team with 6.8 rebounds, while scoring 12.3 points per contest.
Memphis also boasts multiple top-20 statistical rankings: steals per game (No. 5, 10.2), total steals (No. 16, 132), assists per game (No. 17, 16.5), and turnover margin (No. 17, +4.1).
The Tigers are under the direction of fifth-year coach Josh Pastner, who’s directed the program to a 116-37 record. Memphis was picked to finish third in the American Athletic Conference preseason coaches’ poll, with Jackson earning unanimous preseason first team all-conference honors.
GAME FACTS - Louisville vs. Memphis
Date: Thursday, Jan. 9
Time: 7:02 p.m. ET
Site: KFC Yum! Center/Crum Court, Louisville, Ky. (22,000)
TV: ESPN will broadcast the game, with Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Dick Vitale (analyst), and Jeff Goodman (reporter) calling the action.
Radio: WHAS 840 AM will broadcast the game, with Paul Rogers (play-by-play) and Bob Valvano (analyst) calling the action. The broadcast also is available on SIRIUS channel 91 and XM channel 91.
Series History: Louisville leads 53-34 (31-11 in Louisville, 16-22 in Memphis, 6-1 neutral).
Next UofL Game: Sunday, Jan. 12 vs. SMU in KFC Yum! Center, 1 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)