Louisville plays its third of five straight home games on Sunday as it hosts North Carolina Central at 5:00 p.m. in the KFC Yum! Center. The Eagles come in at 1-2 after a 10 point loss at Akron on Thursday. NC Central’s only win came against USC Upstate, who Louisville plays this upcoming Wednesday at the Yum Center.
Louisville enters Sunday’s game at 3-0 after three double digit victories to start the season. The Cards dispatched Indiana State on Wednesday night 91-62 at home. The team has five scorers averaging double figures. Jordan Nwora leads the Cards with 21.7 points per game (7.7 reb, 1.3 ast). Steven Enoch comes in at 10.7 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per contest. Ryan McMahon (13.7), Samuell Williamson (11.7), and Dwayne Sutton (10.7) join those two in averaging double figure points per game.
NC Central, led by 11th year head coach Levelle Moton, come into 2019-2020 off of three straight NCAA Tournament berths out of the MEAC. The Eagles dominated the MEAC tournament in recent years, having won the auto-bid in four of the last six seasons. Moton is one of the most respected low-major coaches in the country and he has remained at his alma mater despite rumored opportunities to move elsewhere.
The Eagles return a few pieces off of last year’s team, highlighted by senior guard Randy Miller, who averaged 13.3 points last season. The returners are joined by 5 eligible transfers and three JUCO recruits. Through three games, Miller leads the team with 15.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. Redshirt senior forward Jibri Blount is averaging 11.7 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists. Former Boston College and Saint Louis player Ty Graves is averaging 11.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. As a team, they are shooting 38.9 percent from three-point range.
North Carolina Central typically plays a tough non-conference schedule and focuses on trying to win its conference once the business end of the season commences. Louisville would be favored by a ton, but there is not even a betting line most places you look. This will be one of the easier games all season, but there is still plenty that can be accomplished on Sunday.
Louisville has played three games and the previous two against mid/low major opponents have not been as convincing as they could have been. The games have not been in doubt, but they have failed to put it away for good until later on in the second half. We have not seen as much of the freshmen as we’ve probably wanted, partly due to the scoring margin midway through these games. Williamson and Fresh Kimble are the only two newcomers to see significant playing time so far. I believe Coach Mack wants to get his freshmen more time while the schedule is softer, but that will require a larger lead into the second half. Today, the opportunity is there to do just that.
This will be the first meeting between Louisville and North Carolina Central. The game tips at 5:00 p.m EST and will be televised on the ACC Network.
Prediction: Louisville 93 NC Central 61