Cards face UAB for first C-USA title

The #20 Louisville Cardinals (23-6, 11-5) take on upstart UAB (19-11) for the 2003 C-USA Tournament title Saturday morning in Freedom Hall. Tip off is scheduled for 11:40 AM and the game will be televised nationally on CBS.

Cards play UAB for first C-USA title

Date: Saturday, March 15, 2003
Time: 1:40 am
Site: Freedom Hall - Louisville, KY (18,865)
Television:  CBS
Radio: WHAS (840 AM)
Last Meeting:  Cards won in 2001-02 in Birmingham
National Rankings:
   UAB                     Not Ranked
   LOUISVILLE       20th AP, 16th USA Today/ ESPN
Significant injuries: UAB- None U of L - Ellis Myles (Out)

Cards Road to the Final            UAB's Road to the Final

                                                defeated #8 Charlotte, 85-61         defeated Tulane, 82-66

                                                defeated #1 Marquette, 83-76       defeated #2 Memphis, 78-75

                                                defeated #4 Saint Louis, 63-62

 

The Louisville Cardinals will play for their first C-USA Tournament title Saturday morning after defeating Memphis 78-75 in  Friday evenings semifinal.

 

 The Cards got clutch play from Luke Whitehead, Taquan Dean and the recently freed Marvin Stone down the stretch to pull out a hotly contested game.  Stone nailed a key baseline jumper late in the game to give the Cards a one point lead and Dean sank the game winning three pointer from the right wing with 11.1 seconds left in the game. Luke Whitehead's rebound and two free throws with 4.3 seconds left provided the final margin. 

 

"I hit that shot for Coach," said Dean. "He gives me the confidence. Even though I was 1-for-8, I knew I still had one in me. If it was an open shot, he told me to shoot it. So, I shot it."

 

Stone, in his first game back scored 15 points, pulled down 6 rebounds and held star forward Chris Massie

scoreless for the game.

 

"We played great low-post defense. It was a team effort defensively," Pitino said. "All five guys were part of a string moving together."

 

UAB continued their improbable run to the final by defeating 4th seeded Saint Louis, 63-62 in the night cap Friday night.  The Blazers are on a roll in Freedom Hall this week having defeated Charlotte, Marquette and the Bilikins on consecutive nights.

 

"Today was a gut check for our guys," UAB head coach Mike Anderson said. "The last half of that game when SLU made that run, our guys played off of sheer guts. You've got to find a way to win. You talk about getting to the championship game in conference tournament you got to dig down deeper than you ever have.

 

The Blazers built a 24 point second half lead before wilting down the stretch against Saint Louis' zone defense.  Fatique could factor heavily for the Blazers who will be playing their fourth game in as many days. 

 

Besides the weariness of the grueling C-USA Tournament schedule, the Blazers face major disadvantages against the Cards. 

 

While UAB favors an up tempo pace they haven't proven to be a great defensive or rebounding team this season.  The Blazers have allowed its opponents to shoot 44% from the floor and 40% from three point range.  They also have been out rebounded by more than five boards per game this season.

 

Those stats don't bode well for the Blazers who will face the top offensive team in C-USA and a team that just out rebounded an excellent rebounding Memphis team in the semifinals.

 

Playing at home with Marvin Stone in line up, expect the Cards to win their first C-USA title in convincing fashion, 90-70 over the UAB Blazers and earn C-USA's automatic NCAA tournament bid.

STATISTICAL COMPARISON

Louisville
Statistical Category

UAB

81.2
Points
77.6
68.3
Opponent Points
72.1
+12.9
Scoring Margin
+ 5.5
.460
FG %
.448
.403
Opponent FG %
.443
.363
3PT FG %
.344
.298
Opponent 3PT FG %
.398
.692
Free Throw %
.676
38.0
Rebounds
34.4
36.5
Opponent Rebounds
39.8
+1.5
Rebounding Margin
- 5.4
16.7
Assists
15.2
13.0
Turnovers
14.7
4.8
Blocks
2.7

7.1

Steals

11.9

PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS

#20 Louisville Cardinals (23-6, 11-5)
Pos No. Name
Ht
Wt
Yr
PPG
RPG
APG
F 52 Otis George 6-9 220 So.
2.4
1.8
.5
F 32 Fancisco Garcia 6-7 185 Fr.
11.2
2.7
1.9
C 21 Marvin Stone  6-10 240 Sr.
10.6
7.4
1.5
G 5 Taquan Dean 6-3 175 Fr.
8.9
3.2
1.6
G 22 Reece Gaines 6-6 205 Sr.
18.6
2.7
5.2
UAB Blazers (19-11, 8-8)
Pos No . Name
Ht
Wt
Yr
PPG
RPG
APG
G 03 Eric Bush 5-10 180 Sr.
9.0
2.8
3.7
G 10 Morris Finley 5-11 170 Jr.
18.3
2.9
3.0
F 02 Gabe Kennedy 6-9 240 Jr.
9.9
4.7
.6
F 23 Demario Eddins 6-6 190 Fr.   9.8
4.0
2
F 32 Sidney Ball 6-6 220 Jr.
5.0
5.2
1.0

 

Notes

  • UAB and first year Head Coach Mike Anderson are making their first appearance in the C-USA Tournament final
  • UAB guard Morris Finley was named to the second team C-USA team
  • UAB forward Demario Eddins was named to the C-USA All Freshman team
  • The Cards are making their second appearance in the C-USA tournament final, last playing Charlotte in 1999 in Birmingham
  • Luke Whitehead recorded his third straight double-double in the semifinals against Memphis
  • Reece Gaines was named first team All C-USA
  • Francisco Garcia was named Freshman of the Year in C-USA
  • Taquan Dean was named to C-USA's All Freshman team

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