Tonight at the KFC Yum! Center, the 25th ranked Louisville Cardinals (15-5, 3-4) will try to pick up their second win in a row against a disappointing Big East team. The Villanova Wildcats have gotten off to a 10-10 start, and are 3-5 in the Big East. On Saturday night, the Cards took care of Pittsburgh 73-62, and will now try to build some positive momentum heading into February, which is usually a strong month for Rick Pitino coached teams.
Kyle Kuric should be back again and ready to go. He scored 21 points against Pittsburgh, making 5 three pointers in 33 minutes off the bench. He seemed to tweak his ankle again in the 2nd half, but is expected to be ok for tonight, which is great for the Cards. He leads the team in scoring at 13.4 ppg.
Villanova enters the game on a two game winning streak. They beat an improved Seton Hall team 84-76 and beat St. John’s in overtime 79-76 on the road. They have 3 players that average double figures in scoring: Maalik Wayns (18.7), Dominic Cheek (12.4), and Mouphtaou Yarou (11.6).
Maalik Wayns is a 6’2 junior who is on an absolute tear the last 3 games. At Cincinnati, he scored 39 points and had 13 rebounds. He made 6 three pointers, and also had 6 assists to go with it. The next game against Seton Hall, he had 25 points and 7 assists. He was 15-16 from the free throw line. Then last game against St. John’s, he had 28 points and played 43 minutes.
Villanova has their own version of Gorgui Dieng, and his name is Mouphtaou Yarou. He is a 6’10 255 lb junior from Natitingou, and has 6 double-doubles this season. For the year, he is averaging 11.6 ppg and 8.3 rebounds per game. He shoots 70.5% from the free throw line, which is pretty good for a big man, and shoots 50% from the field. His matchup with Gorgui will be an important one for sure.
Mouphtaou Yarou Gorgui Dieng
After tonight, the Cards play at Seton Hall and at home against Rutgers. If they can win tonight, they definitely have a chance to build up a nice 4 game winning streak heading into the February 6 matchup against UConn.
The game tips at 7:00 and will be shown on ESPN and can be heard on WKRD 790 AM.
Check out this video with the last 6 minutes of the UofL-Villanova game from January 2009. Intense!