Previewing Louisville

No. 13 North Carolina rallied to upset No. 5 Louisville on a last-second Marcus Paige layup three weeks ago in Chapel Hill. The Cardinals will be looking for revenge on Saturday. Tip off at the KFC Yum! Center is set for 4 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN.

North Carolina (17-4, 7-1 ACC) vs. Louisville (17-3, 5-2 ACC)
Louisville, Ky. -- KFC Yum! Center
Saturday, 4:00 p.m.
ESPN (Dave O’Brien, Dick Vitale)

Quotables

"I can't find a flaw in his game because he plays the one and the two for us, he's a good defender, and he rebounds. I always try to find a flaw with him, and I haven't found one yet. I don't know. I try to yell at him every now and then in practice so it doesn't look like I'm babying him, but I can't find a reason to yell." - Louisville head coach Rick Pitino on guard Terry Rozier

"They've had good years all season, but I think, since conference play, they've been spectacular -- in a class by themselves. Every bucket you need, where they come back in the game, they come back and make a layup or make a 3. Tremendous tandem." - Pitino on Rozier and guard Chris Jones

PREGAME NOTES

Since the Last Time: It’s been three weeks since these two teams got together in Chapel Hill, and the Cardinals have lost just once since – a 63-52 home loss to No. 4 Duke. Rick Pitino’s squad has handled three of the ACC’s lower-tier opponents – Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and Boston College – by an average margin of 12 points per game.

Backcourt Producing: The backcourt duo of Terry Rozier and Chris Jones has only gotten more lethal in ACC play. Rozier is currently Louisville’s leading scorer (17.8 ppg) and is averaging 20.8 points on 47.5 percent shooting, 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals over his last 13 games. Jones, on the other hand, is averaging 17.1 points on 51.2 percent shooting, 6.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds over his last seven games. The duo combined for 54 points in the victory over Boston College on Wednesday.

Board Work: Louisville has been solid on the glass for much of the season due to guards that rebound well and a trio of sizable bigs - Chinanu Onuaku (6-10, 230), Mangok Mathiang (6-10, 220) and Montrezl Harrell (6-8, 240). The Cardinals rank 34th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage (36.2), according to kenpom.com. Of note, however, is that Louisville ranks 10th in ACC play in rebounding margin (minus-1.2), well behind conference leader UNC (plus 10.3).

Still Strong on D: The Cardinals rank sixth in ACC play in field goal percentage defense (41.3) and second in 3-point field goal percentage defense (30.8). Pitino’s squad is fifth nationally in opponents’ effective field goal percentage (42.1) and sixth in adjusted defensive efficiency (88.7), according to kenpom.com.

Steals Galore: No team in the conference has stolen the ball from opponents more than Louisville. In total, Louisville has 186 steals as a team for the year. That’s an average of 9.3 steals per game. Does Louisville’s long back line frustrate opposing offenses? Without a doubt. The biggest reason for the Cardinals’ success in forcing turnovers, however, comes from Rozier and Jones. The two are tied for second in steals per game in the ACC and have combined to average 4.1 steals per game.

Tough Road Ahead: Louisville has already faced four ranked (Ohio State, No. 1 Kentucky, No. 13 North Carolina and No. 4 Duke). Starting with UNC on Saturday, the Cardinals will play three ranked teams over the next eight days. After the home matchup with the Tar Heels, Louisville will travel down south to face 23rd-ranked Miami on Tuesday, and then its on to Charlottesville for another tough matchup with No. 2 Virginia on Saturday.

Last Matchup: The Tar Heels overcame a 13-point deficit with 8:43 to play to upset the fifth-ranked Cardinals, 72-71, on Jan. 10 in Chapel Hill. Kennedy Meeks led UNC with 13 points, while Brice Johnson posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Rozier paced Louisville with 25 points.

Series History: The Tar Heels lead the all-time series with the Cardinals, 10-3. UNC is 3-0 against Louisville during the Roy Williams era. Rick Pitino is 0-6 in his coaching career against UNC.

Projected Starters:
3 Chris Jones (5-10, 175, Sr.) - 13.4 ppg, 3.9 apg
0 Terry Rozier (6-1, 190, So.) - 18.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg
25 Wayne Blackshear (6-5, 215, Sr.) - 11.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg
24 Montrezl Harrell (6-8, 240, Jr.) - 14.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg
32 Chinanu Onuaku (6-10, 230, Fr.) - 3.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg

Top Reserves:
1 Anton Gill (6-3, 190, So.) - 3.1 ppg, 1.3 rpg
21 Shaqquan Aaron (6-7, 170, Fr.) - 2.2 ppg, 1.0 rpg
12 Mangok Mathiang (6-10, 220, So.) - 3.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg

Louisville Info
Schedule/Results
Stats
Roster & Bios


(Photo by USA Today Sports)

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