It’s been almost four full years since Louisville has tasted victory against Tony Bennett.
No. 18 Louisville Cardinals (18-9, 9-5) vs. No. 3 Virginia Cavaliers (23-2, 11-2)
Game Time: 12:06 p.m.
Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.
Television: Raycom/WHAS-11 in Louisville
Announcers: Evan Lepler (play-by-play) and Mike Gminski (analyst)
Officials: Jamie Luckie, Pat Driscoll, Jerry Heater
Favorite: Virginia by 5
Series: Virginia leads, 13-4
Last Meeting: Virginia won 75-58 in the ACC tournament quarterfinals on March 8, 2018
Perennially one of the best defensive teams in the country, Virginia in 2018-19 has the added benefit of being one of the nation’s elite offensive teams as well. The Cavaliers are one of just two teams in the country that rank in the nation’s top five in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. Duke, the only team to topple UVA this season, is the other.
You should know all about Virginia’s big three by this point. Kyle Guy, a Third Team All-American last season, leads the team in scoring at 15.4 ppg and is one of college basketball’s most dangerous outside shooters. Ty Jerome (13.1 ppg/5.1 apg) is a stone-cold killer with an affinity for hitting clutch shots near the end of the shot clock. De’Andre Hunter (14.8 ppg) is the team’s most naturally gifted player and a likely lottery pick in the next NBA Draft.
We could dive deeper into what Virginia does, but you already know by now. The numbers speak for themselves. The Cavaliers rank first nationally in scoring defense (54.6 ppg), fewest turnovers (234) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (25.8%), third in turnovers per game (9.4), fourth in scoring margin (17.2), fewest fouls (365), and field goal percentage defense (37.7%), sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (40%), seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.54), 10th in personal fouls per game (14.6), 29th in rebound margin (5.7), 40th in free throw percentage (74.9) and 43rd in field goal percentage (47.4%).
—Louisville has lost seven straight games to Virginia and has been beaten by the Cavaliers in eight of the nine games they’ve played as members of the ACC.
—Louisville is 3-6 against Virginia in games played in Louisville.
—Jordan Nwora is the second-most improved scorer in the nation with his 17.3 scoring average (fifth in the ACC) up 10.6 ppg from his 5.7 average last year.
—Virginia’s Kyle Guy ranks first in the ACC in three-pointers per game (3.1), third in three-point percentage (43.8%), eighth in minutes (34.2) and 11th in scoring (15.4).
—Louisville is 20-5 all-time in games played on Feb. 23, winning 10 of its last 12 on this date.
— In celebration of Black History Month, Louisville will be wearing special red adidas uniforms inspired by the Harlem Renaissance.
—Since 2003, the Cardinals are 4-0 when playing in red uniforms at home.
—Although Virginia averages an ACC low 9.36 turnovers per game, they’ve given the ball away at least 10 times in five of their last six outings.
—Virginia has held nine opponents to fewer than 50 points, 19 opponents to 40 percent or less field goal shooting, and 22 opponents to 33 percent or less three-point shooting.
—Louisville has won 148 consecutive games when scoring at least 85 points in regulation.
—Louisville is one of just four schools which have won 20 or more games on the court in each of the last 16 seasons (also Kansas, Duke and Gonzaga).
Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Virginia 64, Louisville 59