Preview: at No. 18/17 Louisville Cardinals

Marquette is set to make their first appearance in the brand-new KFC YUM! Center on Saturday morning.

Marquette Golden Eagles (12-5, 3-1 Big East) vs. No. 18/17 Louisville Cardinals (13-3, 2-1 Big East)

KFC YUM! Center– Louisville, Kentucky

Time: Saturday, 10 am CST

Coverage: ESPN2 (Dave O'Brien play-by-play, Bill Raftery color-analyst)


Marquette will try and ride the momentum of their ‘Big Monday' win over Notre Dame when they take on Louisville on Saturday morning.

The Golden Eagles (12-5, 3-1) travel to the all-new KFC YUM! Center to face a ranked but injury-depleted Louisville Cardinal team. The Cardinals (13-3, 2-1) are currently ranked 17th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and 18th in the AP Top 25.

Louisville is looking to turn things around at home after falling at Villanova on Wednesday. The injury bug has bitten the Cardinals of late, as senior Jared Swopshire, and sophomores Rakeem Buckles and Mike Marra have all sustained injuries that should keep them out of Saturday's contest.

Luckily for the Cardinals, depth is not much of an issue. Sophomore forward Stephan Van Treese has been the biggest recipient of an increase in minutes and he responded well, putting up a double double (14 points, 12 rebounds) against South Florida.

Van Treese is joined in the frontcourt by former Marqeuette target Gorgui Dieng. The 6-foot-10 freshman has put up impressive numbers (6 points, 5 rebounds) in a limited amount of minutes (15). Dieng has been an imposing presence on the defensive end, blocking 2.5 shots per game while altering many more.

Terrence Jennings and George Goode rounds out a physically imposing Cardinal front line. Jennings' play has been erratic this year but has shown an ability to impact a game offensively and defensively. Goode, meanwhile, fills a smaller role for Louisville, playing just spot minutes.

Senior guard Preston Knowles leads the Louisville backcourt. Knowles, known in past years for being a hard-nosed defender, has doubled his scoring average this year to 15.5 points per game, while continuing to ‘bring it' on the defensive end. Sophomore guard Peyton Siva runs the point for the Cardinals and uses his quickness to attack the basket in transition.

Rounding out the three guard attack is junior walk-on Chris Smith. Smith, the younger brother of Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith, transferred to Louisville after playing two seasons at Manhattan College. Smith has been a marksman from beyond the arc this season (52 percent) after struggling from distance in his two seasons at Manhattan (28 and 29 percent).

Kyle Kuric and Elisha Justice provide relief off the bench at the guard positions. Kuric provides a little more size (6-feet-4) and shooting ability (41 percent from three-point range) while Justice brings ball-handling skills off the bench.

As seen in years' past, Marquette can expect to face a Louisville team that will want to get out and run. With their depth (10 players average between 13 and 27 minutes per game) the Cardinals have the bodies to press and get up and down the floor.

What the Cardinals try and do and what they are successful at are exactly the same, and that is what makes them so dangerous. A large percentage of their shots are three-pointers (41 percent of field goal attempts) and they make a high percentage of them (38 percent). Defensively, they want to cause havoc, and so far they have been able to. They rank third in the country in steal percentage.

While the final score has yet to be settled, one thing is for probable. Based on the history between these two teams, the close clashes in the past, the buzzer beaters and coach's antics, Saturday's matchup should provide an exciting and memorable game.

Probable Starters:

G –#3–Peyton SIva (5'11" 180 lbs, Sophomore) --- (13.4 ppg, 4.1 rbg, 6.2 apg)

G –#2–Preston Knowles (6'1" 190 lbs, Senior) --- (19.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.9 apg)

G–#5–Chris Smith (6'2" 200 lbs, Junior) --- (16.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 42% 3PT)

F –#44–Stephan Van Treese (691" 220 lbs, Sophomore) --- (2.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.4 bpg)

C –#10–Gorgui Dieng (6'10" 215 lbs, Freshman) --- (5.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.1 bpg)

Key Reserves:

F –#23–Terrence Jennings (6'9" 220 lbs, Junior) --- (10.8 ppg, 6.2 rbg, 2.6 bpg)

G –#14– Kyle Kuric (6'4" 195 lbs, Junior) --- (3.5 ppg, 1.4 rbg)

G –#22–Elisha Justice (5'10" 180 lbs, Freshman) --- (1.3 ppg, 1.5 abg)

F –#0–George Goode (6'8" 230 lbs, Junior) --- (1.4 ppg, 1.3 rbg)

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