Date: Wednesday, March 5
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Site: Moody Coliseum (7,000)
Television: CBS Sports Network. Dave Ryan, play-by-play; Pete Gillen, analyst; Kristine Leahy, reporter.
Radio: WHAS (840 AM). Paul Rogers, play-by-play; Bob Valvano, analyst. (Sirius 91, XM 91, 105.5 WLVK FM)
Last Meeting: UofL 71, SMU 63 (Jan. 12, 2014 at KFC Yum! Center)
Series Record: UofL leads 7-2 (4-0 in Louisville, 2-1 in Dallas, 1-1 neutral)
UofL National Ranking: 9th USA Today, 11th Associated Press
Officials: Joe DeRosa, Tom Eades, Mike Sanzere
When the Louisville Cardinals (24-5, 13-3) face off against the SMU Mustangs (23-6, 12-4) Wednesday night, they will try to do something that no other team has done this year: beat SMU on their home floor. Southern Methodist is 15-0 at home this season, and prior to tip, they will be honoring their two seniors, Nick Russell and Shawn Williams. Needless to say, the crowd will be energized for this one.
Moody Coliseum only holds 7,000 people and that place will be packed for sure. Right now, the cheapest tickets on stubhub.com are $167 and they are upper level. The most expensive are $1,210.90 and those are also in the upper level. Keep in mind I said this place holds 7,000 people. So when you hear “upper level” you can’t imagine the top row at the KFC Yum! Center. This place is small, which means when it is full (like it will be) it will feel like the fans are right on top of you, and it will be loud, very loud.
“Moody Magic” has become a popular term regarding SMU’s play at the Coliseum. From 1956 through 2013, SMU men’s basketball was 510-261 (.661) in Moody Coliseum as the Mustangs captured nine conference titles. – SMUMustangs.com
SMU has won 7 of their last 8 and 12 of their last 14. Included in that stretch are wins over Memphis (87-72), Cincinnati (76-55), and on the road against UConn (64-55). They are 1 game behind Louisville and Cincinnati in the AAC standings.
2013-14 AMERICAN STANDINGS
|#18 Southern Methodist||12-4||1||23-6|
Louisville enters this game coming off a tough road loss to Memphis. Prior to that game, the Cards had won 7 in a row. Despite the loss, they have still been playing good basketball. They have lost 5 games this season by an average of 6.2 points, and have not lost one game by double digits.
The last time these two teams played was January 12, 2014 at the KFC Yum! Center. Ironically, Louisville was coming off a loss to…Memphis. Louisville won that game against SMU 71-63 but needed late free throws by Luke Hancock to put the game way. With 49 seconds left, the lead was just 67-63. At that time, SMU was 1-1 in the conference and we didn’t know how good they really were. They also had a 3 point loss earlier in the season to Virginia, who we also did not know how good they were. Now we know Virginia is a legit team, and we also know the same about SMU.
Players to Watch
5’9 170 lbs
Season averages: 32 minutes, 14.1 points, 4.7 assists, 1.4 steals.
He has made 60 3-pointers this season, which is more than anyone on Louisville’s team (Russ Smith has made 55). He is 60-133 from 3, which is 45.1%.
6’9 245 lbs
Season averages: 24.4 minutes, 11.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.4 blocks.
He has 5 double-doubles on the season, including a 21 point and 15 rebound performance against Memphis where he also shot 10-10 from the field. His weakness is at the free throw line, where he shoots 56.7% (76-134).
6’4 200 lbs
Season averages: 31.4 minutes, 9.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists.
Has scored in double figures in 8 of the last 10 games. He will also grab a few rebounds and dish out a few assists to fill up the stat sheet.
Here is Rick Pitino’s press conference previewing the game and discussing other topics.
Here is SMU coach Larry Brown discussing the game, SMU fans, and how they have improved since the last meeting.
This will be a very tough test for the Cards on the road in a hostile environment. Checking around on SMU message boards, their fans are very fired up for this game. That is also obvious by how tough it is to get a ticket. After the way that the Memphis game ended, a win in Dallas would be great for this team heading into senior day against UConn. Reminder: that is Russ Smith’s last home game. Try to prepare yourselves emotionally for that.
I think Louisville gets the job done against SMU and I will go with a score of 75-70. Russ Smith will be the leading scorer and Montrezl Harrell will be the leading rebounder. After all the “lack of leadership” talk since the Memphis game, those two will take it in their hands to lead this team to victory.