Louisville vs. UCF
Tuesday, Dec. 31
5:05 p.m. ET
CFE Arena (10,000)
Radio: WHAS (840 AM)
Louisville will play its first conference game of the season and its first game in the new American Athletic Conference when the Cardinals play at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla. on Tuesday. It will be the first conference game played in the new league, with two others following that evening. Louisville lost for the first time in its last seven games in falling 73-66 at Kentucky last Saturday. The Knights (8-3) have been off for nine days following two games in the Jackson Hewitt UCF Holiday Classic. UCF has won its last five games -- all at home -- including a 90-62 victory over Valparaiso on Dec. 22 as Tristan Spurlock led UCF with 22 points.
University of Louisville (11-2)
RESERVES: Stephan Van Treese, C, 6-9, Sr.; Chris Jones, G, 5-10, Jr.; Anton Gill, G, 6-3, Fr.; Dillon Avare, G, 6-0, Fr.; Kevin Ware, G, 6-2, Jr.; Luke Hancock, G/F, 6-6, Sr.; Tim Henderson, G, 6-2, Sr.; Chane Behanan, F, 6-6, Jr.; Akoy Agau, F, 6-8, Fr.; David Levitch, G, 6-3, Fr.
HEAD COACH: Rick Pitino (Massachusetts '74) 320-113 in 13th season at UofL and 673-241 in 29th season as collegiate coach.
RESERVES: Daiquan Walker, 6-2, G, SO; Eugene McCrory, 6-8, F, JR; Tyler Coons, 6-2, G, SO; Matt Williams, 6-5, G, SO; Isaac Lang, 6-1, G, SR; Brandon Goodwin, 6-0, G, FR; Steven Haney, 6-6, G/F, FR; Justin McBride, 6-10, C, FR; Staphon Blair, 6-9, F, SO
HEAD COACH: Donnie Jones (Pikeville '88) 74-48 in 4th yr at UCF; 126-78 in 7th yr. overall.
Louisville will play its first conference game of the season and embark on its first game in the new American Athletic Conference when the Cardinals play at UCF in Orlando, Fla. On New Year's Eve. It will be the first conference game played in the new league, with two others following that evening. A ceremony will precede the game commemorating the inaugural season for the AAC.
The Knights (8-3) have been off for nine days following two games in the Jackson Hewitt UCF Holiday Classic. UCF has won its last five games -- all at home -- including a 90-62 victory over Valparaiso on Dec. 22 as Tristan Spurlock led UCF with 22 points. Four Knights are averaging double digits in scoring, led by senior guards Calvin Newell (14.8 ppg) and Isaiah Sykes (13.9 ppg). UCF is 7-1 in home games this season.
UCF is shooting well from long range, leading the American in three-point field goals per game (8.6, 23rd in the nation) and three-point field goal percentage (.401, 30th in the nation). Four different players have made at least 14 treys this season.
The Cardinals' football team spent time recently in Orlando, as UofL (12-1, 16th USA Today/18th AP) defeated Miami (9-4, 25th USA Today) by a 36-9 score in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 28.
UCF won the AAC football championship and is representing the league in the Fiesta Bowl against Baylor on Jan. 1.
With an enrollment of 59,785, UCF has four NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament appearances in its history, last participating in 2005 when it fell to Connecticut in the first round.
UCF was a member of Conference USA for eight seasons before joining the AAC. UCF will play at Louisville later this season on Feb. 1.
Louisville won its only previous meeting against UCF 78-58 in Louisville's Freedom Hall (12/15/99) as Tony Williams led the Cards with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Williams participated in the UofL 2013 Fall Commencement ceremony after recently returning to complete his collegiate degree after 11 years of professional basketball in Turkey, Italy, France and Lebanon.
Cards Chosen First in American Preseason Poll
U of L was the unanimous choice to win the inaugural 2013-14 American Athletic Conference championship in a preseason poll of league coaches.
UofL guard Russ Smith was honored as the preseason Player of the Year while teammate Chane Behanan was selected to the preseason all-conference first team and Montrezl Harrell was a second-team pick. SMU freshman guard Keith Frazier was named The American's preseason Rookie of the Year.
The league championship will be staged March 12-15 at Memphis' FedEx Forum.
Behanan Dismissed from Men's Basketball Team
University of Louisville junior forward Chane Behanan has been dismissed from the Cardinals' basketball team for a violation of university policy.
"We are all really, really disappointed that Chane will no longer be a part of our basketball team," said UofL Coach Rick Pitino. "We love the young man and want nothing but the best for him."
Behanan has averaged 8.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and shot 67.3 percent from the field in 11 games this season. He had two double-doubles this season, including season highs of 13 points and 12 rebounds against Cornell on Nov. 15. Behanan was suspended from the team in mid-October for a month
Cards Have Won 4 of Last 5 League Openers
U of L has won its conference opening game in four of the last five years. The Cards won their Big East Conference opener last season, beating Providence 80-62 on Jan. 2, 2013 in last season's initial league game. Whatever the start, the Cards went on to win or finish second in the BIG EAST in four of the past seven seasons. Louisville has won its first conference road game each of the last six seasons.
Louisville is 24-5 in the month of December over the last four years (since 2010).
Eight Louisville players are averaging at least seven points over the last six games.
Albeit only through 13 games, the Cards' team scoring average of 84.6 points per game is just under the school record of 86.0 points per game, accomplished by the Cardinals' 1956 NIT Championship team. UofL has scored 90 or more points on five occasions this year, three more than during the entire 2012-13 season.
Louisville has won five games by a 30-point margin this season and nine of its 13 by at least 22 points. Louisville leads the nation in scoring margin (+23.5).
With 19 points against Kentucky in its last game, Russ Smith moved up to No. 21 in career scoring at Louisville with 1,455 points, 35 behind Jim Price (1,490, 1969-72).
With three steals vs. Louisiana Lafayette, Russ Smith passed the career 200 steals mark. He is currently tied for seventh in career steals at UofL with 204, 50 behind the career record of 254 set by Peyton Siva.
Against Western Kentucky, Luke Hancock passed 400 points in his second season with the Cardinals. Hancock has reached 1,022 career points between both George Mason and Louisville.
Montrezl Harrell needs 18 points for 400 in his career. Harrell's next rebound will be the 250th of his career.
Rutgers Awaits Next
Louisville will play its first game of the New Year as the Cardinals play at American Athletic Conference foe Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J. on Jan. 4 (6 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network). The Scarlet Knights (6-7) have won their last two games, including a 75-72 victory over Army in its last outing on Dec. 22 as junior guard Myles Mack totaled 18 points and seven assists to pace Rutgers.
Rutgers will play Temple at home on Jan. 1 prior to facing the Cardinals. Mack is Rutgers' top scorer, averaging 16.5 points per game. He has 10 double digit scoring efforts this season and 48 for his career. Kadeem Jack is the Scarlet Knights' top rebounder, averaging 7.1 rebounds and 14.0 points with 20 blocked shots on the season.
Head coach Eddie Jordan, who helped Rutgers reach the 1976 Final Four as a player, is in his first year guiding the Scarlet Knights. Louisville and Rutgers are short-time members of the American as the Cardinals will leave for the Atlantic Coast Conference and Rutgers to the Big Ten next season.
Rutgers will play at Louisville later this year on Feb. 16. Louisville has an 11-1 series record against Rutgers, winning the last seven straight. The Cardinals prevailed 68-48 in last year's matchup at Rutgers (2-6-13) as Wayne Blackshear led UofL with 19 points in 14 minutes off the bench.