Rutgers (12-20) vs. (5) Louisville (26-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 13, 3 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: FedExForum (18,119) -- Memphis, Tennessee.
Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Rutgers 10-10, Louisville 16-2. Away Record:
Rutgers 1-10, Louisville 9-2. Neutral Record: Rutgers 1-0, Louisville 1-1.
Conference Record: Rutgers 5-13, Louisville 15-3. Series Record: Louisville
GAME NOTES: In the second quarterfinal matchup of the American Athletic
Conference Tournament, the second-seeded Louisville Cardinals will receive a
challenge from the seventh-seeded Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Louisville is the No. 2 seed because of a coin flip, as it tied with top-seed
Cincinnati for the regular-season title in the AAC with a 15-3 league ledger.
The Cardinals were just as dominant outside of the conference, going 26-5
overall in their follow-up to last season's national title run. They won the
Big East Tournament in back-to-back years before helping to form the AAC for
the 2013-14 campaign.
Rutgers pulled out a 72-68 victory over South Florida in Wednesday's first
round. The Scarlet Knights didn't pick up many victories in the regular season
and are just 12-20 overall in their first season under head coach Eddie
Louisville crushed Rutgers, 102-54, on Feb. 16 to notch a sweep of the season
series and earn its 13th win in 14 all-time meetings with the Scarlet Knights.
The winner this time will clash with either Houston and SMU in the semifinals.
The Scarlet Knights are a not a particularly formidable offensive squad,
netting 72.4 ppg, despite having a field goal percentage of just(.431). Myles
Mack (15.2 ppg, 4.4 apg) and Kadeem Jack (14.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg) are the
ringleaders for Jordan's squad, with each providing plenty of scoring. Jack
tallied a game-high 18 points to go with six rebounds against USF, while Mack
finished with 16 points. J.J. Moore (11.2 ppg) is another decent scorer, and
he tallied 13 points in the first round.
The Cardinals really put an exclamation point on the end of the regular
season, running over Connecticut, 81-48. Louisville forced 22 turnovers, which
it traded in for 34 points. Montrezl Harrell (20 pints, 11 rebounds) was
sensational in the game, while Russ Smith dished out 13 assists.
Normally Smith (17.5 ppg, 4.8 apg) is more dangerous as a scorer, finding ways
to get shots off from all over the court. He was an important piece of last
year's national title run and has excelled this season, ranking fourth in the
AAC in scoring and third in assists, showing great strides in sharing the
ball. Montrezl Harrell (14 ppg, 8.3 rpg) has been dominating opposing teams in
the paint all season, hitting a league-best 61.2 percent of his shots from the
floor. The talent-rich squad, which leads the AAC in scoring (81.8 ppg), also
gets plenty of help from Luke Hancock (11.9 pg) and Chris Jones (10.3 ppg).
The Cardinals are much more than an offensive juggernaut, however, limiting
teams to 61.8 ppg on just 39.7 percent field goal efficiency.
Louisville is too hot right now and too talented overall for Rutgers to pose
more than a minor threat.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisville 81, Rutgers 62
03/13 10:36:23 ET
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