Marquette (19-9, 10-6) has won eight of its last nine games, including its last three straight in overtime. The Golden Eagles won 84-83 in OT at Seton Hall as Lazar Haywood totaled 23 points and eight rebounds to lead Marquette. All five MU starters scored in double figures in the game.
Marquette is fifth in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (.409) and is seventh nationally in fewest turnovers per game (10.4). Senior forward Lazar Hayward, who leads the Golden Eagles averaging 18.4 points and 8.1 rebounds, is the only player in MU history to produce 1,700 points and 800 rebounds. Junior forward Jimmy Butler's 15.5 points per game is nearly triple what he averaged last season. Marquette is No. 49 in the ratings percentage index (RPI) and is No. 26 in the Sagarin Ratings through games of Feb. 28.
Louisville has a 38-24 series record against Marquette and the Cardinals have won the last four straight. Andre McGee scored 16 points to lead four Cardinals in double figures as U of L beat Marquette 62-58 last season in Freedom Hall (3/1/09).
Louisville senior guard Jerry Smith hails from Wauwatosa, Wisc., just a few miles from Milwaukee. The schools were both charter members of Conference USA before joining the BIG EAST in 2005-06. Marquette Coach Buzz Williams served as an assistant under former Marquette coach Tom Crean, who was an assistant coach at Western Kentucky (1990-94) and Pittsburgh (1994-95) under current U of L associate coach Ralph Willard.
Series vs. Marquette
? Louisville holds a 38-24 series advantage over Marquette since the teams first met in 1951, including 17-12 in Milwaukee. The Cardinals have won four straight and seven of the last eight matchups.
? Last season in Louisville's Freedom Hall, Andre McGee scored 16 points to lead four Cardinals in double figures as U of L beat Marquette 62-58 (3/1/09). Louisville, which led by as many as nine points in the second half, held the Golden Eagles to 33.9 percent shooting from the field. Wesley Matthews led Marquette with 19 points.
? In the last meeting played in Milwaukee, Edgar Sosa scored 18 points, hitting three-of-four three-point goals, to lead Louisville to a 71-57 victory at the Bradley Center (2/4/08), including 14 in the first half. Jerry Smith, who hails from Wauwatosa, Wis. just a few miles from Milwaukee, added 12 points for the Cardinals. Wesley Matthews scored 15 and Jerel McNeal added 11 points for the Eagles, which shot just 32 percent from the field.
? Louisville won 11 of 13 games in the series from 1964 through 1983. Louisville has a 13-12 edge since the teams began playing regularly with the formation of Conference USA in 1996 and the move to the BIG EAST. In Sports Illustrated's 2007 preseason college basketball issue, Louisville-Marquette was noted as one of the nation's most heated rivalries ("... a rivalry of the highest order").
? Jerry Smith's three-pointer as time expired gave U of L a 61-59 victory at No. 13 Marquette on Feb. 17, 2007, ranking second among ESPNU's top ten buzzer beaters.
? Since the teams began playing regularly in Conference USA and subsequently in the BIG EAST, 15 of the 26 games in the series have been decided by five points or less or in overtime. Five of those games were decided in overtime. The Cardinals won 77-74 in triple overtime in Milwaukee in 2001, the first three OT game in C-USA and the fifth ever at U of L.
Louisville has an 8-2 record in regular season games in March over the last six years (since 2005). Add in another closing month of February and the Cardinals are 40-12 in those two months in the last six years during the regular season. Over the past six years (since 2005), Louisville has a collective 29-10 record during the month of March (.744; 9-1 last season). U of L coach Rick Pitino has a collective 97-32 collegiate record in the month of March (.752), including a 40-17 record at Louisville (.702). Louisville has won nearly 70 percent of its games in the month of March over the past 36 years — a collective 148-64 record — with nearly half of those losses coming in the NCAA Tournament. U of L has won 24 of its last 28 games during the month of February dating back to the 2006-07 season (6-2 this year).