Tonight at 7:00, the Louisville Cardinals (18-5, 6-4) will go for their 5th win in a row when the UConn Huskies (15-7, 5-5) come to town. The Cards are playing their best ball of the season since starting 12-0 and then hitting a wall, going 2-5. After winning their last 4 games, they now find themselves in a tie for 5th place in the Big East. After losing 4 games in a row, the Huskies got back on track Saturday with a 69-46 win over Seton Hall. In those 4 losses, 3 of them were by a combined 8 points. Don’t let their record fool you. UConn is one of the most talented teams in the country. They have a great trio of players in Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier, and Andre Drummond.
Jeremy Lamb is a 6’5 sophomore who is one of the most versatile players in the nation. He can step out and hit the three or drive by his man, usually shooting a running floater that can not be defended. When he stays out of foul trouble, he usually plays 35-40 minutes a game. He is averaging 17.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, but he has struggled from the field in his last 2 games. Against Seton Hall, he was only 3-10 from the field, but he was 9-12 from the free throw line so he still ended up with 17 points. The game before, he was 4-18 from the field, and still had 14 points. He will be a big priotity for the Cards on defense, but surely not their only priority.
Point guard Shabazz Napier is also a sophomore play-maker. Even though he has only totaled 11 points and 8 assists in his last 3 games, he is still averaging 13.3 points and 5.7 assists per game for the season. He also grabs 4 rebounds a game, not bad for a point guard. His best game of the season was in an 87-70 win against Coppin State when he had 22 points, 13 assists, and 12 rebounds. His best game in Big East play was in their 70-67 loss to Cincinnati when he had 27 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds. He may be the point guard, but he can definitely score just as well as anyone on the floor. Hopefully the Cards are catching him in the middle of a shooting slump, as he is 1-22 from the field in his last 3 games.
One of the top high school players in the country last year was center Andre Drummond, now a freshman starter for the Huskies. He has 7 double-doubles this season, and is averaging 10.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. He could be the most important player tonight for UConn depending on the status of Gorgui Dieng. Dieng went down in the 2nd half on Saturday with an injured ankle, and returned but was clearly not the same. He will be a game-time decision tonight.
For the Cards, Chane Behanan is coming off his best game of the season, scoring a career high 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds on Saturday against Rutgers. If Dieng is out, Behanan will have to step up even more, as he will be the only player for the Cards in the post with significant playing time this season.
The game tips at 7:00 and can be seen on ESPN and heard on WKRD 790 AM.
Here are two videos from our games against UConn last season. Done by VillenHD