Date:Thursday, March 12th
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST
Site: Madison Square Garden (19,786) in New York, N.Y.
Series History:UofL leads 8-4 (5-0 in L'ville, 3-2 @Providence, 0-2 neutral)
Last Meeting:UofL 94, Providence 76 (Feb. 18, 2009 in Louisville, KY)
National Rankings: UL No. 5 AP, ESPN/USA Today (Mar. 9)
With the regular season trophy secured, the Cardinals set their sights on a BIG EAST Tournament Title and a No. 1 seed.
The first hurdle will be Keno Davis and his Providence Friars, who are, even with their win over DePaul just 2-9 in its last 11 BIG EAST Tournament games and are 16-27 all-time in the Tourney.
Louisville won their eighth strait over the Friars just three weeks ago in Freedom Hall. Six Louisville players scored in double figures to lead a balanced offensive attack that included 24 assists on 35 made field goals.
Rick Pitino is now 4-0 all-time against the squad he guided to the 1987 Final Four. Slick Rick is looking to return to the Final Four for the sixth time in his coaching career and second with the Cardinals.
Terrence Williams needs just four points to tie Jim Price for 19th on the all-time scoring list at Louisville. Twill is now the only player in Louisville history with 1,400 points, 800 rebounds and 500 assists.
He and junior Earl Clark, who needs just 12 points to become the 60th Cardinal with 1,000 points for his career, will be looking to step it up not only to guide their team to a BIG EAST Championship, but to boost their NBA stock.
U of L is second in the nation to North Carolina (62) in career 1,000 point scorers. Two additional Cardinals—Edgar Sosa (885 career points) and Jerry Smith (878)—are also both closing in on that milestone.
Providence carries eight seniors on its roster and has likely earned its ticket to the Big Dance with an 18-12 regular season (10-8 in BIG EAST play) and an expected win Wednesday over DePaul.
This team is going to be dangerous as a win over the regular season Champs would all but guarantee them a spot in the Tourney.
Forward Randall Hanke (1,058) and guard Sharaud Curry (1,113) join Geoff McDermott (1,106), Weyinmi Efejuku (WAY-ME F-A-Juke-Oo) (1,467) and Jeff Xavier (1,418) to make Providence the only team in the country with five 1,000-point scorers (North Carolina and Marquette each have four).
Providence has 42 players all-time with 1,000 points in their career.
Providence has seven players averaging eight points or better, led by Weyinmi Efejuku's 15.4 a contest. The Friars can also shoot the long ball, as three players shoot at least 33% or better from three point land.
Providence is among the national leaders in scoring offense (79.1 ppg). Geoff McDermott is just the sixth Friar all-time to register 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
Marvin Barnes, Jim Hadnot, John Thompson, Michael Smith and Ryan Gomes are the other Friars to score 1,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds. He is also the only Friar ever to register 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 450 assists in a career.
Coach Rick Pitino returns to his hometown and to Madison Square Garden. Slick Rick roamed the sidelines as head coach of the NewYork Knicks for two seasons (1987-89) and also was an assistant coach there (1983-85).
Four Cardinal players have ties to the New York and New Jersey area. Two played their high school basketball in New York in Edgar Sosa (Rice HS) and Will Scott (Collegiate School in N.Y. and prep school at Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J.).
Earl Clark (Rahway, N.J., HS) and Samardo Samuels (St Benedict’s in Newark, N.J. ) played high school basketball in New Jersey.
Scott’s father Norman was the team physician for the NBA New York Knicks and his mother Susan was the team physician for the WNBA New York Liberty.
U of L assistant coach Steve Masiello (born in New York) also hails from New York. U of L trainer Fred Hina was the head trainer for the New York Mets for seven years prior to joining the Cardinal staff in 2001.
Director of Basketball Operations Eric Scott, a New York native, played at Lawrenceville (N.J.) Prep School and spent two years in New York working in International Basketball Operations with the NBA.
Bobby E’s Gamebreaker: SHOT SELECTION!!!
Providence doesn't often have trouble scoring. If Louisville comes out rusty from a near week layoff and starts chuckin' up shots ill-advised, Providence could get a lead and build some confidence.
Louisville needs to bear down on 'D' and take good shots at the other end of the court from the opening tip.
The game will be televised on ESPN.