It has been a number of years since the Syracuse Orange defeated the Louisville Cardinals. Tonight they'll get yet another crack at it and can stay atop the Big East in the process.
The Orange have only one blemish on their record and are on a five-game win streak. The Cardinals, meanwhile, have won six straight games.
This clash is the first between the two teams in the next six games.
Where: KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY
When: 7:00 PM ET, February 13, 2012
Live Stream: ESPN 3
Betting Line: Syracuse -3 (according to Scores and Odds)
Key Injuries (according to StatFox)
Rakeem Buckles, F, Louisville out for the season due to his knee.
What's At Stake?
Big East power. The country's top basketball conference has five teams in the top 25 as of right now, including this one-loss Syracuse team and five-loss Louisville team.
The Orange currently hold a two-game lead over the rest of the conference and even with a loss they cannot be overtaken.
A loss for Louisville hurts though.
What They're Saying
Donna Ditota of the Syracuse Post-Standard writes:
Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph have won a lot of basketball games at Syracuse University. Ranked opponents, unranked opponents, Big East Tournament thrillers, NCAA Tournament games. The victories stretch into the triple digits.
But as their careers in Syracuse funnel into their final few regular-season opportunities, Jardine and Joseph scan the schedule and seek a few more treasured triumphs.
The two SU seniors savored their win over Pittsburgh last month; Jardine and Joseph had never beaten the Panthers.
So now, they fix their sights on another obvious omission on their SU career resumes.
“I know that it’s just another game and we’ve very capable of winning,” Joseph said. “I’m not going in there pressing, like, ‘I’ve got to beat Louisville.’ But it would be nice to go over to their house and get a win. That would be something that I can finally say I did.”
The Cardinals, at 20-4 and 8-4 in the Big East, have won seven straight meetings with the Orange. SU last defeated Louisville during the 2005-06 season, when the Orange won 79-66.
Most Important Player:
Kyle Kuric, G-F, Louisville
The senior Cardinal is accustomed to beating the Orange. Now, as underdogs, he's one of the key components earning anther win against the Big East powers.
Kuric averages a team-high 13.2 points for Louisville. He's the team's third leading rebounder and fills the stat lines by averaging a little over one assist, one steal and one turnover per game.
His experience against the Cuse zone defense will be huge tonight. The Cardinals and coach Rick Pitino will have to look to their senior to lead the team tonight.
Fab Melo and C.J. Fair vs. Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan
Melo and Fair average about the same amount of rebounds per night as Dieng. With Syracuse's zone defense, the group rebounding scheme will be critical against the Cardinals front line.
The Orange rank 121st in the country in rebounding while the Cardinals are 19th.
If Cuse isn't shooting well tonight they'll have a difficult time getting second chance opportunities. The Cardinals will be counting on exactly that.
Syracuse 82, Louisville 75