Miami-Ohio (1-1) at (2) Louisville (2-0)|
Sunday, November 18, 4 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: KFC Yum! Center (22,000) -- Louisville, Kentucky.
Television: BEN. Home Record: Miami 1-0, Louisville 2-0. Away Record: Miami
0-1, Louisville 0-0. Neutral Record: Miami 0-0, Louisville 0-0. Conference
Record: Miami 0-0, Louisville 0-0. Series Record: Louisville leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The second-ranked Louisville Cardinals close out a three-game
homestand to begin the 2012-13 season when they welcome the Miami-Ohio
RedHawks to the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday.
Rick Pitino's Cardinals are viewed as a real national title contender this
season and with good reason. Louisville returns the core of a team that made
it to the Final Four a year ago. The Cardinals have certainly looked the part
of a national power in the first two games of the season, making light work of
both Manhattan (79-51) and most recently, Samford (80-54).
John Cooper is in his first season at the helm at Miami-Ohio and the team has
begun his tenure with a road loss at nationally-ranked NC State (97-59),
followed by a home win against Grambling State (80-54).
This marks the fourth meeting all-time between these two teams. Louisville has
won all three prior matchups, including a hard-fought defensive battle
(47-44) in the last meeting in 2007.
The RedHawks were simply out-manned at NC State, but turned things around at
home against Grambling State last time out. The team did so with superior
defense, setting a program record with 22 steals, while 32 total turnovers.
Reggie Johnson led the way at the offensive end, coming off the bench to pour
in 20 points in 26 minutes of work. Will Felder, Jon Harris and Allen Roberts
added 12 points apiece, while Bill Edwards chipped in 11.
The numbers are a little out of whack for Miami after two games, as the team
has experienced both sides of a blowout. Currently, the team is averaging 69.5
ppg, while giving up 75.5. It may take some time before those number settle
out, although it doesn't look good staring down the barrel of Louisville's
Louisville has a trio of players that can be found on the John R. Wooden Award
watchlist to begin the season in Peyton Siva, Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan.
However, it is Russ Smith who has been the most impressive Cardinal in the
early going, scoring 23 points in the opener against Manhattan and following
that up with a team-high 18 against Samford. Behanan is netting 10.0 ppg thus
far, while grabbing a team-high 13.5 rpg, powered by his 18-rebound effort
against Samford. Dieng (9.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg) is a force inside as well. Siva
hasn't filled up the basket yet (8.5 ppg), but is absolutely the orchestrator
of the Louisville symphony, doling out 17 assists over the first two games.
Usually two games are not a fair barometer of a team, but Louisville has
excelled defensively, limiting its first two foes to just 52.5 ppg on a mere
.375 shooting. In addition, Louisville holds a +10.5 rebounding margin and has
already forced 48 turnovers.
The Cardinals should win this one with relative ease. Louisville is just
starting to heat up and with weapons galore, should overwhelm the RedHawks.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisville 85, Miami-Ohio 58
11/18 10:47:36 ET