DE Brandon Cox commits to U of L
  • DT Devin Shivers commits to U of L"> DE Brandon Cox commits to U of L
  • DT Devin Shivers commits to U of L">

    "It's going to be war!"

    #5 Louisville (13-1, 4-0) is set for tonight's clash with #6 Cincinnati (13-0, 4-0) in a titanic ESPN showdown in Freedom Hall. <p> <B>COMPLETE RECRUITING COVERAGE:</b><br><li><a href=""><b>DE Brandon Cox commits to U of L</b></a><li><a href=""><b>DT Devin Shivers commits to U of L</b></a>

    Date Wednesday, January 21, 2004
    Time/Location 7:00p.m./ Freedom Hall (18,865)
    Television ESPN
    Radio WHAS (840 AM)
    Series History Louisville leads 35-6
    U of L Ranking 5th AP/ 6th ESPN/USA Today
    Satellite Coord. SBS 6, Transponder 6 (KU Band)
    Officials Tim Higgins, Ed Hightower, Scott Thornley

    Rick Pitino vs. Bob Huggins. No. 5 Louisville (13-1, 4-0) vs. No. 6 Cincinnati (13-0, 4-0). ESPN will be in the house with first place in Conference USA at stake.

    You get the picture, though. Simply put, this game is big! It's bigger than big. It's war!

    "It's always going to be a war when we play Cincinnati," Louisville star Francisco Garcia said. "We know they're coming over here to go to war. We're going to come out and play as hard as we can, focus in and take it step by step."

    "I love it," Garcia continued. "I love challenges. I always love competition. That's what brings out the best in everybody. We've got warriors on this team. We're going to go hard."

    Both teams enter tonight's game riding thirteen game winning streaks and both have been dominating its opponents. Cincinnati leads the nation in scoring margin at 25.2 per game, while Louisville is right behind, winning by an average of nearly 22 per contest.

    "We've played two number one ranked teams but this will probably be our toughest test of the season," Pitino said.

    "This is the deepest, most talented defensive team we've faced," Pitino continued. "Last year they had some offensive deficiencies, but this year they do not. It'll be a great challenge for our team."

    The similarities don't stop with scoring margins and winning streaks, either. Both teams are supremely deep and neither coach will be afraid to go to his bench tonight. Both Pitino and Huggins routinely go ten deep and both benches have been productive to this point in the season.

    "We're not going to fatigue them and they're not going to fatigue us," Pitino said. "It's going to come down to old fashioned fundamentals. They're one of the more physical teams in the country...that's there philospophy. But we'll be ready."

    The Bearcats, who struggled slightly in the first half last Saturday against TCU before waking up to rout the Horned Frogs, are led by 6'7 forward Jason Maxiell, and sharp shooters Field Williams and Tony Bobbitt, the ladder Cincinnati's valuable sixth man.

    As one of three undefeated teams remaining in college basketball, Huggins squad hasn't really been tested to this point but knows that will change against Louisville.

    "It's a big game not just in the conference, but it's a big game nationally," said Huggins. "I'd rather win than lose, but I'm not convinced that it will decide the championship. They have to come to our place (on Feb. 21) and we both have a lot of tough conference games to play."

    Always known as a team whose played tough, physical defensive team, Cincinnati has started so well this season because they're offense is just as good as their defense. Besides leading Conference USA in scoring, the Bearcats get balanced scoring with three players averaging about 14 points, and five other who average more than six.

    Louisville's Taquan Dean, who played the Cats twice last season, knows how tough they are on defense but says whichever team does a better job stopping the other teams offense will win the game.

    "Whoever stops each other in this game will win," Dean predicted.

    And if their shots find the mark tonight, Louisville's defense might just be good enough to slow down the potent Bearcats attack and win round one in this season's matchup.

    Probable Starting Lineups

    Louisville (13-1, 4-0) Ht Wt Yr PPG RPG Hometown
    F Luke Whitehead 6-6 220 Sr 14.1 8.7 San Francisco
    F Francisco Garcia 6-7 185 So 14.6 4.9 Bronx, NY
    C Kendall Dartez 6-10 225 Sr 5.0 4.4 Houston, TX
    G Taquan Dean 6-3 185 So 13.0 4.0 Neptune, NJ
    G Larry O'Bannon 6-4 195 Jr 10.2 2.9 Louisville

    Reserves: 6'9 Nouha Diakite 2.1, 2.7, 6'9 Otis George  5.2, 4.6, 6'3 Alhaji Mohammad 4.6, 1.5, 6'7 Nate Daniels 6.7, 2.0, 6'3 Brandon Jenkins 2.1, 1.7

    Cincinnati (13-0,  4-0) Ht Wt Yr PPG RPG Hometown
    F James White 6-7 185 So 8.8 3.3 Kensington, MD
    F Jason Maxiell 6-7 250 Jr 14.6 7.7 Carrollton, TX
    C Kareem Johnson 6-7 250 Sr 4.7 4.6 Eufaula, AL
    G Field Williams 6-3 190 Sr 13.5 2.4 Houston, TX
    G Nick Williams 6-4 185 Jr 8.5 1.9 Arlington, TX

    Reserves:  6'6 Eric Hicks  6.7, 6.0, 6'9 Robert Whaley, 6.6, 2.4, 6'7 Armein Kirkland, 6.8, 2.2, 6'1 Chadd Moore, 3.8, 2.2, 6'4 Tony Bobbitt, 14.5, 3.2


  • Both teams enter tonight's game riding 13 game winning streaks.
  • Cincinnati was No. 1 and Louisville was No. 2 nationally in average scoring margin in last week's NCAA statistics. The Bearcats are winning their games by an average of 25.2 points while the Cardinals sport an average scoring margin of 21.9 points.
  • The teams have played one common opponent to date—Tulane. Cincinnati defeated the Green Wave, 71-44, on Jan. 7. Louisville downed Tulane, 79-58, on Saturday.
  • The Bearcats rank first in Conference USA in turnover margin (+10.5), first in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.40:1) and second in assists per game (17.4).
  • UC is getting 35.7 points per game from its bench.
  • Louisville has won 14 straight games at home and are 40-5 in Head Coach Rick Pitino's three seasons
  • The Cards are outrebounding their opponents by nearly eight (7.9) per contest over the last seven games.
  • U of L ranks second nationally in scoring margin (21.9), and third in blocked shots (6.8).
  • Luke Whitehead needs just 46 points to reach the 1,000 career point mark.
  • Louisville is ranked No. 4 in this week's RPI.

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