Gameday Preview: Louisville Vs. Florida State

Time: 7:01 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Vegas Line: Louisville -2.5

Probable Lineups:

Uniforms:

The Louisville Men’s Basketball team is at home on Monday night for a matchup with the Florida State Seminoles. Louisville dropped to 9-2 overall and 4-1 in the ACC after Saturday night’s loss at Miami. Florida State comes in at 7-2 and 3-1. Louisville is 4-4 against the Noles since joining the ACC, but the Cards have lost three straight in the series. Louisville has lost four of its past five games against FSU, with the last win coming in the 2018 ACC Tournament.

This has been a terrible matchup for Louisville in recent seasons, and 2021 will be no different. Florida State is routinely among the tallest teams in the nation. The Seminoles rank 2nd nationally in average height this season, trailing USC by only .1 inches according to KenPom.

This is a classic Leonard Hamilton Florida State squad. No player on the roster is under 6-foot-4, and as many as 10 players will get significant minutes on a given night. This is actually a similar matchup to the one this past weekend in Miami. FSU protects the rim at an elite rate and forces a lot of turnovers. Where they can be beaten is beyond the three-point line.

On Saturday, Louisville was able to execute inside against a long Miami frontcourt, but the Cards made just three total attempts from beyond the arc. That being said, it was only a 6-point loss in spite of a 30-point performance from Isaiah Wong.

The Cards will be facing a much more capable team offensively on Monday, though. Senior MJ Walker and 5-star freshman Scottie Barnes were both preseason All-ACC selections. As a team, Florida State scores efficiently at every level. They lead the ACC at 82.0 points per game. This will easily be Louisville’s toughest opponent since losing at Wisconsin a month ago.

Florida State has an ability to force turnovers and go on runs unlike most teams in college basketball. Their length and athleticism will keep them in just about every game. A clear example of this was last February, when Louisville led by 11 with 15 minutes to play before the Seminoles closed on a 42-16 run and won by 15 points. Malik Williams got injured just two minutes into the game, but Louisville was completely overmatched by Florida State in the second half that night.

For Louisville, someone other than Carlik Jones needs to step up. At this point, Carlik’s production feels like a given. Jones is averaging 18 points per game and has scored in double figures in all 10 of his appearances. In his past five games, he’s averaging 20.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.0 steals.

Jae’Lyn Withers has emerged as a clear third option for the Cards. He’s recorded a double-double in two of the past three games and has really stepped up defensively. David Johnson, though, has taken a bit of a step back recently with the emergence of Withers. Johnson scored just five points in both of Louisville’s games last week. With Carlik Jones acting as the primary point guard, DJ has been forced to play off the ball much more lately. He has still been able to keep up his assist numbers, but this Louisville team is better when David Johnson is scoring.

It is nice to have someone as reliable as Carlik Jones, but Louisville needs to find some consistency elsewhere in the lineup. If you look at the box scores, there have been plenty of guys contributing on any given night. That being said, the ball has been in Carlik’s hands when it gets down to crunch time. It will have to be a team effort on both ends Monday night.

Aside from Virginia, Florida State has arguably been Louisville’s toughest opponent since joining the ACC. It is a nightmare matchup for the Cards that seemingly gets worse every season. It has been almost three whole years since they have beaten this Florida State program. Will things be any different in 2021?

Prediction:

Florida State 77ย  Louisville 75

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