Time: 7:16 p.m. ET
Vegas Line: Michigan State -4.0, o/u 136.5
Louisville faces its first true road test of the season on Wednesday night at Michigan State in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. The Cards record is up to 5-1 after its big weekend in the Bahamas. Michigan State currently sits at 5-2, with both of its losses coming to top-10 opponents.
Time to rise to the #B1GACC challenge.
— Louisville Basketball (@LouisvilleMBB) December 1, 2021
Louisville is 4-3 all time in the Challenge, splitting its two matchups with MSU. The Cards most recently defeated Sparty in 2018 at home. Louisville leads the all time series 6-5, but is 0-3 in its trips to East Lansing.
After serving a six-game suspension to begin the season, Head Coach Chris Mack will be back on the sidelines Wednesday. He met with the press on Tuesday to preview the matchup and discuss his team’s performance without him.
This is easily the toughest test of the season for Louisville so far. Two wins over power conference opponents in the Bahamas is no small deal, but Maryland and Mississippi State are simply not on the same level as Michigan State. Granted, no one knows how much time it will take this team to adjust to the head coaching situation. Chris Mack has been in town for nearly four years now. You should not be worrying about whether he will have his team prepared on Wednesday.
The most pressing concern for Louisville continues to be the offense. It has been six games and the new system has left much to be desired. It really comes down to the three-point shooting. Louisville is shooting from deep at a much higher clip than in previous seasons while among the worst team’s in the nation at converting their attempts.
Coincidentally, the Cards are off to an impressive start on the defensive end of the floor. They have showed some serious improvement rebounding and protecting the rim. The three-point line is where they can be exposed defensively, but Michigan State has not been the greatest in that department either.
This game is going to be won and lost in the half court. As much as Louisville would like to push the tempo, Michigan State will ensure that the game is played at their own pace. It is a style of play that has troubled Louisville historically. The 2021-2022 team is one that has not shown a particular ability to consistently convert in the half court. It is hard to see either team running away with it. With a win on Wednesday, Louisville would have itself the type of win that was missing from the resume last season.
Michigan State 67 Louisville 61