Time: 8:05 p.m. ET
TV: ACC Network
Vegas Line: Louisville -3
The Louisville men’s basketball team is back on the road for a matchup with the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday night in Coral Gables. Louisville is 9-1 and off to its best ever start in the ACC at 4-0. Miami was picked 7th in the preseason ACC poll, but they currently hold a 5-6 overall record and a 1-5 mark in conference play.
Louisville @ Miami tonight at 8pm. Let’s get it Card Nation! Here’s your #GameDayGIF pic.twitter.com/izyk7enAXM
— Chris Mack (@CoachChrisMack) January 16, 2021
As of right now, Miami guards Chris Lykes and Kameron McGusty are game time decisions according to their coach Jim Larranaga.
Miami's Chris Lykes (ankle) and Kameron McGusty (hamstring) are both game-time decisions for today's game against Louisville, per Jim Larranaga. Canes' starting backcourt has struggled to be healthy this season.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) January 16, 2021
Lykes (15.4 ppg in ’19-20) and McGusty (12.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg.) were two of the Canes best three players last season. Lykes was a first team All-ACC preseason selection, but has only played in two games so far this year. McGusty is averaging double figures this season but has only played once since Dec. 12. Lykes scored 18 points in both games against Louisville last season and McGusty averaged 15.0 points.
Miami is 2-4 in the six games it has played without those two, and one of those wins was a 9-point victory over a sub-300 Jacksonville team. Isaiah Wong (16.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg) has been the player who has stepped up for Miami in their absence, nearly doubling all of his per-game stats in every major category.
Despite losing 5 of its 6 ACC games, three of Miami’s losses are within two points or fewer. Their deep frontcourt has probably been the reason for that. They rarely foul and protect the rim at an elite rate. Where they have been beaten is at the three point line. Opponents are scoring nearly 45 percent of their points from long range on 37.5 percent against the Canes.
This Miami team is probably good enough to make the NCAA tournament at full strength. Regardless of who plays, though, Louisville will look to win this game in the backcourt. If Lykes and McGusty end up playing, this game gets much more interesting.
When Carlik Jones and David Johnson are playing like they have been over the past month, Louisville’s floor is as high as anyone in the ACC. This is a Miami team that has lost a lot of games this season, but they are more than capable of beating Louisville.
The Cards have struggled against long, physical frontcourts this season. Miami is great defensively inside, but offensively it is a different story. It’s hard to see a scenario where the Louisville bigs get totally handled on Saturday. If this game is going to be won in the backcourt, you have to favor the Cards.
Louisville 66 Miami 60