We are not used to being on the bubble. this feeling sucks. I know though if we had taken care of business then we aren’t worried about that right now. It also was much easier to figure out B.Q. (Before Quadrant) but in the end all we really want is to be selected tomorrow for the tournament. I have spent all morning talking to my expert bracketologist Mr. S and we have come up with who CardNation needs root for to help improve our resume. You won’t like them all. I will explain the who’s, what’s & where you can watch them today. First up…
The No. 11 Louisville Cardinals host the Salukis of Southern Illinois tonight in the Yum! Center at 7pm. The game can be seen on Fox Sports South for local viewers and ACC Networks for viewers outside the area.
The Cardinals will be out without Anas Mahmoud (concussion) for the second straight game but the Salukis only have one player above 6’8 on the roster so height should not be an issue. The Salukis are 5-3 entering tonight and are currently riding a 2 game win streak. Look for some lineup changes, Pitino has talked about a “quick” lineup with Deng Adel and VJ King playing 2 guard spots and Ray Spalding in the post. Personally, I’m hoping Matz Stockman gets some clock tonight after the first half he had against Grand Canyon. Either way, expect some shuffling around as this is the time for Pitino to find his go to lineup for the rigorous schedule ahead.
As of now, the Cards are 21 point favorites over the Salukis. I can’t see Louisville having much trouble tonight and should win handily. My prediction is a score of 85-57 with all around solid performances and a breakout 20 and 10 game from sophomore Ray Spalding.
The atmosphere was electric, the players were hyped, and the Antelopes of Grand Canyon gave the No. 14 team all they could handle inside their home arena. Grand Canyon even had the lead at halftime by 1 point off a buzzer-beater NBA-range 3.
It wasn’t enough as the Cards eventually pulled away by the 12 minute TV Timeout and never trailed the rest of the way. Eventually the Cards would seal the deal by a score of 79-70. DeWayne Russell led the comeback attempt with 42 points, the Antelopes’ next highest scorer had 8. Deng Adel led the way for the Cards with 15 points, VJ King showcased his ability with 14 points, Ray Spalding chipping in 14, and Matz Stockman had a career-high 10 points but didn’t play in the second half.
In a game where the upset seemed not only plausible but probable for much of the game, the Cards found a way to win. Do not downplay anything about it, the crowd was nuts, their point guard was unconscious, and they played with a lot more energy in the first half than the Cards did. The important thing is, the Cards walked away with a win and improve to 7-1.
Next the Cards will be at home to take on Southern Illinois on December 7 at 7pm. I’m sure this game will serve as a wake up call that this team cannot start flat and must defend and attack for the entire 40 minutes if they’re going to achieve their potential. I’m happy with the win last night, resilience regardless of opponent in an environment like that cannot be emphasized enough.
The No. 14 Louisville Cardinals travel to Phoenix Arizona to take on the upset-minded Grand Canyon University Antelopes at 9pm on ESPN3 and WAVE-3 for the Louisville viewing area.
Grand Canyon enters the game with a 3-3 record with losses to Duke, Penn State and SIU Edwardsville. The Antelopes are currently sitting on a 1-game losing streak after their loss to SIU Edwardsville but they’re eager to bounce back with a top-15 opponent in the Louisville Cardinals.
The teams average similar PPG (points per game) totals, Louisville with 74.4 and Grand Canyon with 72.8. The difference in points allowed is much more glaring, Louisville has allowed an impressively low 57.9 while the Antelopes have been outscored by a full point on average thus far by allowing 73.8.
Rick Pitino may consider this a “trap game” but in all seriousness the Cardinals shouldn’t have much trouble tonight. After the win against Purdue on Wednesday night, the Cards should be carrying some confidence into Phoenix tonight.
The next few games should act as mere practice games for Louisville. After tonight they host Southern Illinois, Texas Southern, and Eastern Kentucky before the game against now top-ranked Kentucky (who suffered their first loss today to a very talented UCLA squad). Nonetheless, the Cards MUST take care of business and focus on the opponent in front of them and not the opponent down the road. That won’t be an issue tonight and the Cards will roll by a score of 88-57. December is here, basketball season is now entering full swing, should be a fun ride.