Syracuse vs. Louisville
Saturday, Jan. 19
4:00 p.m. ET
KFC Yum! Center/Crum Court
Louisville, Ky. (22,000)
Radio: WKRD (790 AM) & WHAS (840)
Louisville returns home to the KFC Yum! Center for its lone home game over a four-game stretch to face its fourth ranked foe of the season as the Cardinals play No. 6/6 Syracuse on Saturday. Louisville won its 11th straight in winning 73-58 at Connecticut on Monday as the Cardinals used a 21-3 second half run to take a commanding lead. The Orange (16-1, 4-0 BIG EAST Conference) have won their last six and have been off for a week since beating Villanova 72-61 at home on Jan. 12 in its last game.
RESERVES: Michael Gbinije, F, 6-7, So.; Jerami Grant, F, 6-8, Fr.; Nolan Hart, G, 5-10, Jr.; Trevor Cooney, G, 6-4, So.; Baye Moussa Keita, C, 6-10, Jr.; Griffin Hoffmann, G, 6-1, Sr.; Matt Lyde-Cajuste, F, 6-5, Sr.; Noel Jones, F, 6-6, Jr.; Russ DeRemer, G, 6-5, Jr.; Albert Nassar, F, 6-6, So.; James Southerland, F, 6-8, Sr.
HEAD COACH: Jim Boeheim (Syracuse '66) 906-305 in 37th year at Syracuse and overall.
University of Louisville (16-1, 4-0)
RESERVES: Montrezl Harrell, F, 6-9, Fr.; Zach Price, C, 6-10, So.; Kevin Ware, G, 6-5, So.; Tim Henderson, G, 6-2, Jr.; Luke Hancock, G/F, 6-4, Jr.; Michael Baffour, G, 6-2, Fr.; Stephan Van Treese, C, 6-8, Sr.
HEAD COACH: Rick Pitino (Massachusetts '74) 290-107 in 12th season at UofL and 644-235 in 28th season as collegiate coach.
Louisville returns home to the KFC Yum! Center for its lone home game over a four-game stretch to face its fourth ranked foe of the season as the Cardinals play Syracuse on Saturday.
The Orange (16-1, 4-0 BIG EAST Conference), ranked sixth in both the AP and USA Today polls, have won their last six and have been off a week since beating Villanova 72-61 at home on Jan. 12 in its last game as C.J. Fair -- the reigning BIG EAST Player of the Week -- led Syracuse with 22 points.
Syracuse is among the national leaders in scoring margin (+21.2, third in the nation), field goal percentage defense (.354, fourth), blocked shots (7.5, fifth) and steals (10.7, fifth). Michael Carter-Williams leads the nation in assists (9.4 per game) and is fourth in steals (3.2). Syracuse is No. 11 in the ratings percentage index and No. 8 in the Sagarin Ratings through games of Jan. 17.
Louisville has a 13-6 series advantage over Syracuse. UofL has won seven of the last nine, but lost both meetings last season when Syracuse was ranked second nationally on both occasions: 52-51 in Louisville (2/13/12) and 58-49 in Syracuse (3/3/12)
Cards By Numbers
2 - Louisville is second nationally in turnover margin (+7.5). The Cards have forced an average of 19.9 turnovers a game, scoring 428 of their 1307 points off turnovers (33%).
2 - School with each of its football and men's and women's basketball teams in the top 25 in the AP poll. Louisville (MBB 1, FB 13, WBB 15) and Notre Dame are the only two.
3 - National rank for UofL in steals, averaging 11.4 per game. UofL has collected double digit steals in 13 of its 16 games. Two Cards rank among the national leaders: Russ Smith (2.4/game, 16th nationally) and Peyton Siva (2.4, 27th).
3.41- Collective grade point average for the men's basketball team for the 2012 fall semester, a school record. A total of 15 of 17 student-athletes achieved a 3.0 or better GPA and a dozen are above a 3.25 cumulative GPA. UofL has earned the last two BIG EAST Conference Team Academic Excellence Awards.
1- Ranking for UofL in both major polls. It is only the second AP No. 1 ranking ever for the Cards also March 15, 2009 in the final AP poll) and the third time in the coaches poll (also #1 on 3/15/09 & the 1986-87 preseason UPI coaches poll).
47.9 - Collective field goal percentage for UofL over the last eight games (251-of-524), including 35.6 percent from three-point range. The Cards' 76.9 scoring average this season is its highest in seven years, just behind its 2005 NCAA Final Four team which averaged 80.7 points.
Series vs. Syracuse
Louisville has a 13-6 advantage over Syracuse in the series which began in 1964. The Cardinals have won seven of the last nine meetings.
Syracuse won both meetings last season. In the KFC Yum! Center, C.J. Fair came off the bench to score 13 points, including a layup that provided the final margin, to lead No. 2/2 Syracuse to a 52-51 victory over Louisville (2/13/12). Chane Behanan scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead UofL, which limited the Orange to 34.4 percent accuracy from the field, including just 1-of-15 from the three-point line. Behanan's tip-in with 3:38 left gave the Cards a five-point lead, but UofL would not score the remainder of the game.
In Syracuse last season, Brandon Triche scored 18 points to lead No. 2/2 ranked Syracuse to a 58-49 victory over Louisville in the Carrier Dome (3/3/12). Russ Smith and Chane Behanan scored 10 points each to lead Louisville, which trailed by as many as 19 points in the game.
The Cardinals beat the Orange 76-66 in the title game of the BIG EAST Tournament championship four years ago in Madison Square Garden (3/14/09) as Samardo Samuels' 15 points led six Cards in double figures.
Louisville beat Syracuse 96-88 in the consolation game of the 1975 NCAA Final Four in San Diego (3-31-75). The Cardinals had lost to eventual champion UCLA 75-74 in overtime in the national semifinals.
U of L Coach Rick Pitino has a 10-9 record against Syracuse, including 7-3 while at Louisville. He was 0-5 against the Orange while at Providence, including falling 77-63 in the 1987 NCAA national semifinals in New Orleans, La. (3/28/87). Pitino's Kentucky teams were 3-1 vs. Syracuse, including a 76-67 victory over the Orange in the 1996 NCAA Championship game in East Rutherford, N.J. (4/1/96).
U of L played in the Carrier Dome in 1997 when the Cardinals beat Texas 78-63 in the NCAA East Regional to reach the Elite Eight. North Carolina denied the Cardinals' from the Final Four with a 97-74 victory in the regional championship game.
Support for Lieberman Family
As show of support for former UofL assistant coach Mark Lieberman, the Cardinals will wear a patch on their uniforms for their Jan. 19 game against Syracuse. Max, the infant son of Lieberman and his fiancé Paige Dickey, died last Saturday. Lieberman was on the UofL staff from 2010-12 and is currently an assistant coach at FIU under head coach Richard Pitino.
16-1 Start For Cards
Louisville's 16-1 record matches its best since the Cardinals also opened with a 16-1 record in the 2003-04 season. The Cardinals were 13-4 through 17 games last season.
It is the third time the Cards have won 16 of their first 17 games under UofL Coach Rick Pitino, also accomplishing that feat in the 2002-03 season when U of L started 18-1, second best ever at UofL (best: 19-1 in 1955-56 for UofL's NIT Championship team).
This season, UofL began 5-0 for the third consecutive year, the first time it has had three straight 5-0 starts since the 1949-52 seasons when the Cardinals won their first five in each of those years. UofL won its first 11 games last season and its initial eight games in 2010-11.
Louisville's defense picked up where it left off with last season's stellar effort as the Cardinals have forced an average of 19.9 turnovers and have collected double-digit steals in 14 of its 17 games. UofL, which is second in the nation in turnover margin (+7.5) and is third in steals (11.4), is rated as the top defense in the nation in Ken Pomeroy's rankings through Jan. 14.
Louisville forced 17 turnovers and grabbed 10 steals in its last game at Connecticut as Peyton Siva collected three steals. Russ Smith has at least three steals in nine of his 17 games this season and Peyton Siva has three or more in seven games.
UofL had double-digit steals on 16 occasions last season and Smith had three or more steals in 14 games in 2011-12 when he produced a UofL single-season record 87 steals. Manhattan's 27 turnovers were the most for a Louisville opponent since Morehead State had 30 errors on Dec. 27, 2004.
The Cardinals matched those 27 forced turnovers at College of Charleston.
Louisville limited Samford to just 13 points in the first half, the lowest since Arkansas St. scored 12 in the first half of a 54-27 victory last season on Nov. 22, 2011. USF scored just 15 points in the first half against Louisville
Siva Reaches 1,000 Points
Peyton Siva scored 17 points vs. USF on0 Jan. 12 to become the Cardinals' 64th career 1,000 point scorer (1,015 now). Louisville's total is second-most in the nation to North Carolina (67). Russ Smith is the next closest Cardinal with 809 points.
Cards Lead in BIG EAST Wins
Louisville has the most BIG EAST Conference victories over the last six years during the regular season (since 2006-07), posting a league-best 79-31 record.
Since the 2005-06 season when the Cardinals first joined the BIG EAST, Louisville and Syracuse lead in league victories with an 85-41 mark during the regular season, both ahead of next-in-line Pittsburgh (81-44).
Louisville has won or finished second in the BIG EAST on three occasions.
Special "Color" Events Set For Upcoming Home Games
University of Louisville men's basketball fans can participate in two "color" events later this season. A "White Out" is scheduled for the Feb. 3 game against Marquette in the KFC Yum! Center on Super Bowl Sunday.
The annual "Wear Red for the Seniors" game is set for March 9 when the Cardinals face Notre Dame in the final home game of the season. Cardinal fans are encouraged to wear white and red attire on those respective days
Over the last nine games, Louisville has made 47.9 percent of its field goals, including 53-of-189 from three-point range (.356). The Cardinals' 76.9 scoring average this season is its highest in seven years.
While UofL's defense is highly regarded, the Cards' scoring is just behind its 2005 NCAA Final Four team which averaged 80.7 points. Louisville has scored exactly 80 points five times this season and has been within two points of that figure on three other occasions
Peyton Siva moved up to a tie for second in career assists at UofL with four at Connecticut (545 total now) and is 168 behind all-time leader LaBradford Smith (1987-91, 713 assists). Siva is just the fourth player in Uof L history with 500 career assists. Siva's 211 assists in 2011-12 were the second most ever in a UofL single season, 15 behind LaBradford Smith's 226 record assists total in 1989-90.
With three steals at UConn, Siva moved up to sixth in career steals and passed 200 for his career vs. USF (204 now). Siva's 17 points vs. USF made him the 64th 1,000 point scorer for UofL.
Russ Smith has 140 steals for his career (40 in 17 games this year, 2.4 average). His 87 steals last season set a new UofL record. Smith passed 800 career points at UConn.
Gorgui Dieng needs five rebounds for 600 in his career. He passed 600 career points with 16 at Seton Hall. Dieng blocked his 200th career shot against Providence when he had four rejections.
Chane Behanan needs 38 points for 500 in his career.
Stephan Van Treese needs nine rebounds for 200 in his career.
Russ Smith's 18.9 scoring average is the highest for a Cardinal since Reece Gaines averaged 21.0 points during the 2001-02 season. It would rank as the 14th highest at UofL.
Dieng Swats in Record Numbers
Gorgui Dieng's 128 blocks last season set a new Louisville record, 26 more than Pervis Ellison's previous record of 102 swats in 1987-88. That will be tough to accomplish this season, since Dieng missed seven games with a broken wrist. Dieng's 204 career blocks are the third most all-time at UofL, four short of second place Charles Jones' 208 career swats (1980-84).
Dieng has blocked a shot in 71 of 80 career games, including 51 with multiple blocks (6 of 10 this year, 32 of 40 in 2011-12). He swatted at least five shots on 11 occasions as a sophomore. Dieng led the BIG EAST and ranked eighth nationally in blocked shots last year, averaging 3.2 per game.
He matched a career-high with seven blocked shots against Michigan State in the West Region semifinals, tying Pervis Ellison (7 vs. Illinois, 1989) for the most by a UofL player in an NCAA Tournament game.
He also was productive on the boards last year, grabbing at least eight rebounds in 25 games last season -- including pulling down 12 boards against Kentucky in the national semifinals -- and was third in the BIG EAST in rebounding (9.1)