Pregame Breakdown: Louisville at Florida State

The Louisville Cardinals head on the road for a Big Monday matchup with the Florida State Seminoles. Louisville has won two straight for an overall record of 23-5; the Cards are atop the ACC standing by a half game at 14-3. Florida State comes into Monday night at 23-4 and 13-3. FSU has won six of its past seven games and has only lost twice since the first week of December.

Louisville leads the all time series 34-13. The Cards are 13-9 on the road in Tallahassee. Since Louisville joined the ACC in 2014-2015, the series is tied 4-4. Most recently, Florida State won at the KFC Yum! Center 78-65 on January 4th of this year (box score).

Louisville held a lead with three minutes left in the first half of that game before Florida State turned it to another level and really handled the Cards in comfortable fashion. It seemed like FSU could not miss, but Louisville struggled equally on both ends of the floor. The Noles shot 55.2 percent from the field and connected on 11 of 23 three point attempts. MJ Walker was the star with 23 points and 3 assists with 5 made threes off the bench.

Offensively for Louisville, Jordan Nwora went off for 32 points and 10 rebounds. Only one other Card scored more than 6 points. Louisville shot 42.1 percent from three but only made 37.2 percent of its two point attempts. Florida State only finished with 6 blocks, but it felt like 60 with the way FSU was protecting the rim. Louisville was aggressive, but they had no success attacking inside in the second half of that game.

Florida State is a team that has given Louisville trouble for years now. They are the tallest team in Division-1 with an average height 6-foot-7. Leonard Hamilton does not roster a player under 6-foot-4 on his team.

In the loss last month, David Johnson and Malik Williams each played sparingly off the bench and were not 100-percent. Since Johnson and Williams entered the starting lineup last week we’ve seen some added intensity that was not present earlier this season. Malik Williams specifically has seemed to embrace his role as captain and has been a tone-setter for this team. Malik is averaging 13.8 points and 8.0 rebounds over the past five games. Much has been made about the emergence of David Johnson over the past month, and rightfully so, but it is hard to deny the boost that Malik Williams has given this Louisville team in recent weeks. Given the size of FSU, you can expect to see both of those guys playing key roles in the game on Monday night.

Louisville’s record is severely lacking quad-1 wins compared to some similarly ranked teams in the country. The ACC has not give Louisville the opportunities its needs to bolster the resume. On Monday, Louisville has a prime chance to knock off a top-10 team on the road less than three weeks before Selection Sunday.

The game tips at 7:00 p.m. ET and will be televised live on ESPN.

Prediction:

Louisville 74  Florida State 72

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