Game four: U of L vs. Savannah State

The University of Louisville basketball team will play Savannah State on Monday night at 7 p.m. in the KFC Yum Center. Cardinal Authority takes a look at five things to watch in this game from the Cardinals (3-0) and the Tigers (2-2).

It's game four on the season and a third in a row at home for the University of Louisville basketball team on Monday night.

The Cardinals (3-0) will play Savannah State (2-2) at 7 o'clock in another Global Sports Showcase contest at the KFC Yum! Center.

U of L has won its first three games by an average of 26.7 points a game.

Here's what to watch for on Monday:

1. Continued effort and focus: U of L coach Rick Pitino has been excited about his team's effort level through three games and said he wants to see the Cards stay focused for games like this one. U of L has won games by 26.7 points a game and should be able to take down the Tigers, but any lack of focus will get Pitino upset. With so many young guys on this team, Pitino said the focus is key. The Hall of Fame coach said the focus and effort will also help in games like Friday where against Marshall the shots were not falling and the Cardinals "had to win the game with defense."

2. Learning to play without Harrell: The Marshall win was a huge step for the Cardinals, playing a long time without All-American Montrezl Harrell. He was in foul trouble and only played 24 minutes. It's likely going to happen again this season and now the team has at least one game under its belt where they had to get minutes from others. It was a big step up for Mangok Mathiang and Chinanu Onuaku, who both logged key minutes in the game. Watch for Pitino to use Onuaku at the four a little tonight, just in case they need him to step in there for Harrell, should he get in foul trouble again.

3. Onuaku the beast: It didn't take long for the 6-foot-10 freshman Onuaku to make an impact for the Cardinals. After fouling out in eight minutes of the first game, the Lanham, Md., native has back-to-back double-doubles. He had 12 points and 10 rebounds against Jacksonville State and 10 points and 11 rebounds against Marshall. Onuaku is strong and physical and was ready to play as a freshman, but I can't imagine even the coaching staff felt like he could compete at the level he's at so early in his career. At this point, Onuaku is playing as well as any big-man newcomer in the ACC.

4. A milestone victory? The Cardinals are getting close to a milestone - No. 700 for Rick Pitino. A win tonight would be No. 699, while the milestone could come on Wednesday night against Cleveland State. The Cardinals are 24-2 in the month of November over the past five seasons and are trying to go 4-0 for the sixth straight season.

5. Savannah State update: The Tigers have won two in a row, knocking off Cleveland State on Saturday in overtime. Two players average double figures for the Tigers, including Saadiq Muhammad (10.0) and Javaris Jenkins (12.8), but only nine players have scored for Savannah State this season. The Tigers lost 76-53 to Eastern Kentucky in the opener, but rallied from 13 down against Cleveland State. Savannah State is the alma mater of former NFL star and three-time Super Bowl champion Shannon Sharpe.


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