Cards look to sweep Marquette

The #11 Louisville Cardinals (19-4, 9-3) take on #10 Marquette Thursday night in Freedom Hall. The game will be televised at 8:00 on ESPN2.

Cards look to sweep Marquette

Date: Thursday, February 27, 2003
Time: 8:00 pm
Site: Freedom Hall - Louisville, KY (18,865)
Television: ESPN2
Radio: WHAS (840 AM)
Last Meeting:  Louisville won 73-70, February 15 at Marquette
National Rankings:
   MARQUETTE     10th AP, 11th USA Today/ ESPN
   LOUISVILLE       11th AP, 9thUSA Today/ ESPN
Significant injuries: Marquette -  U of L - None

Three days after a mistake plagued loss to Saint Louis on the road that ended the nation's longest winning streak this season, the Cards rebounded with authority in a highlight filled battle against Marquette in Milwaukee on February 15. The Golden Eagles and Cards fought back and forth for 40 minutes but in the end, the record setting crowd and national TV audience knew it would come down to the last possession.  And it did with Reece Gaines nailing the game winning three with seconds to play for a 73-70 win. 

Reece Gaines was clearly the man that day and was named C-USA Player of the Week for his effort and perhaps gained a slight lead over Marquette's Dwayne Wade for C-USA Player of Year honors. However, Wade, the pre-season favorite for the award, still has his sights fixed on the prize and if his Golden Eagles pull off some magic in Freedom Hall tomorrow night it will likely take the entire C-USA tournament to declare for certain who the league's best player is.  

The games that followed the Louisville and Marquette instant classic were far less kind to the once 18-1 Cards. Louisville fans watched the Cards drop back-to-back games to Memphis and Cincinnati. A national TV audience saw uninspired play by the twice-favored Cards and uneven officiating that has created concern for the inhabitants on Planet Red heading into the all-important March. If that weren't enough, the current NCAA probe of UK transfer Marvin Stone have done nothing but aggravate the stresses of an all ready rough February schedule. 

After multiple film sessions, the coaching staff and players maturely took responsibly for the fouls called in the last two games but remain upbeat. ''Right now we're going through some adversity, and we've got to use it to make us tougher,'' senior guard Reece Gaines said. ''Being in Sports Illustrated and all over the media doesn't make you better. Working hard and being hungry and getting after it in practice is what makes you better. ''So we've just got to keep working hard and keep believing in ourselves and our coaches and we'll get where we want to be.'' Well said from the Senior Gaines who has seen more than his share of adversity in his career in Louisville.

After hours of film, Pitino's conclusions ended with favorable reviews of John Calipari's surging Memphis team and Bob Huggins Cincinnati Bearctas. ''I really studied the film to see if we're any different today than we were then, but we're exactly the same." Said Pitino. We're doing the same things now we were doing then. It's nothing we're doing wrong, It's just that the opponents are very, very good."

The losses to Memphis and Cincinnati have placed Marquette squarely in the lead for the C-USA regular season title and the Cards need a victory tomorrow  to have an opportunity to displace the Golden Eagles and Memphis for the crown. A Marquette victory over the Cards leaves only Memphis to challenge for the crown with the Cards at both teams mercy. 

However, the Cards remain the master of their own destiny and a win against Marquette would put  them back into contention for the #1 seed in the upcoming C-USA tournament.  It will be a tough task against the veteran, #10 Golden Eagles but the Cards have the benefit of the home crowd and a week of intense practice in its favor.

STATISTICAL COMPARISON

Louisville
Statistical Category

Marquette

81.8
Points
78.0
67.1
Opponent Points
66.3
+14.7
Scoring Margin
+11.7
.467
FG %
.482
.39.4
Opponent FG %
.39.7
.367
3PT FG %
.379
.280
Opponent 3PT FG %
.318
.700
Free Throw %
.759
38.6
Rebounds
37.1
35.6
Opponent Rebounds
32.1
+3
Rebounding Margin
+5
17.0
Assists
16.4
13.7
Turnovers
12.5
4.9
Blocks
3.5

6.9

Steals

6.4

PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS

#11 Louisville Cardinals (19-4, 9-3)
Pos No. Name
Ht
Wt
Yr
PPG
RPG
APG
F 2 Ellis Myles 6-8 235 Jr.
7.6
7.7
2.0
F 32 Fancisco Garcia 6-7 185 Fr.
10.1
2.7
1.9
C 21 Marvin Stone 6-10 240 Sr.
11.2
7.6
1.5
G 5 Taquan Dean 6-3 175 Fr.
8.4
2.9
1.6
G 22 Reece Gaines 6-6 205 Sr.
18.6
2.7
5.2
#10 Marquette (20-4, 11-2)
Pos No . Name
Ht
Wt
Yr
PPG
RPG
APG
G 03 Dwayne Wade 6-5 210 Jr.
21.3
6.2
3.9
G 34 Travis Diener 6-1 165 So.
10.9
3.3
5.7
F 05 Scott Merritt 6-10 245 Sr.
9.3
6.9
1.5
F 01 Todd Townsend 6-7 215 Jr.   7.2
2.8
2.1
C 55 Robert Jackson 6-10 260 Sr.
15.9
7.5
.8

Cardinal Authority Top Stories