The University of Louisville Cardinals will take on the Manhattan Jaspers at the KFC Yum! Center in their first game of the 2012-13 regular season. Louisville comes into the game ranked second in the nation in the AP preseason poll.
UofL leads the all-time series against Manhattan. The last time the two teams played, Louisville beat Manhattan 89-62 in 2002.
Louisville is coming off an exhibition game against the Bellarmine Knights Wednesday night. The Cards beat the Knights 65-46. Louisville was able to show off their strong defense, but struggled shooting the ball.
The Cardinals made just one three-point shot in 19 attempts.
“We are going to have to handle the pressure from Manhattan,” Rick Pitino said after the Bellarmine game via GoCards.com. “They are going to play exactly how we will in terms of pressure and changing defenses. It will be a much better test of how we play.”
Manhattan was supposed to play an exhibition game against CW Post last week, the game was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy.
Location: KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY.
When: Sunday, November 11 at 4:07 p.m. ET
Watch: WHAS in Louisville, KY. and SNY in New York, NY.
Game will also play on ESPN3.
Listen: WHAS Radio (840 AM) in Louisville, KY.
F-Emmy Andujar, 6'6” 205-pounds
PF-Roborto Colonette, 6'7 210-pounds
G/F-George Beamon, 6'4” 175-pounds
G-Michael Alvardo, 6'2” 180-pounds
G-Mohamed Koita, 6'4” 195-pounds
C-Gorgui Dieng, 6'11” 245-pounds
PF-Montrezl Harrell, 6'8” 235-pounds
F-Luke Hancock, 6'6” 200-pounds
G-Russ Smith, 6'0” 165-pounds
PG-Peyton Siva, 6'0” 185-pounds
Matchup to watch: Luke Hancock vs. George Beamon
Manhattan guard George Beamon is the key to the Jaspers success. The 6'4” senior is used both as a guard and a forward.
Beamon averaged 19 points, 5.6 rebounds and two assists a game last season. He led the team with 35 three-pointers with a percentage of 42.2. He was named to this year's preseason All-MAAC first team.
Luke Hancock sat out last year after transferring from George Mason University. The 6'6” junior has a great basketball IQ and work ethic. He will do the small things for the Cardinals to help them win.
Hancock averaged 10.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists two years ago at George Mason. He also shot 81 percent from the free-throw line.
When Hancock transferred, Rick Pitino said that he called Jim Larranaga—who was Hancock's coach at George Mason and is now the head coach at Miami—to ask him what kind of player he was getting.
Pitino said Larranga told him, "With five seconds to go in the game, if you have to get the ball inbounds against a press, have him inbound it. If you need somebody to take a shot, have him take the shot. If you need somebody to make the play, have him make the play. If you need a steal or rebound, he'll make it."
This will be an interesting test for Hancock as he guards Beamon. Both players are very smart basketball players on both sides of the floor. Although Hancock is two-inches taller, Beamon is quicker.
-Manhattan coach Steve Masiello was an assistant coach under Rick Pitino at UofLfrom 2005 to 2011.
-Louisville has won the last eight straight season openers. Manhattan guard Mark Jackson Jr. played for Louisville for a year-and-a-half as a walk-on. He left UofL mid-season last year.
-Louisville junior Gorgui Dieng set a school season record with 128 blocks last season. He is fourth in school history with184 blocks.
-Chane Behanan missed both of Louisville's exhibition games, the sophomore power forward will be available to play, although he will not start in this game.
Louisville will be known this year for their ferocious defense. With plenty of depth look for the Cardinals to put a lot of pressure on the Jaspers throughout the game.
The Cardinals are still trying to figure out which roles they play on the team. Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng's roles are clear, but a scorer is yet to emerge. Look for Russ Smith and Wayne Blackshear to be the keys for Louisville's success on the offensive side of the court.
Montrezl Harrell has played sensationally during Louisville's two exhibitions. The freshman will explode against Manhattan with his first college career double-double.
Louisville will win 75-60.
Jon Hancock is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
You can follow Jon on Twitter @JonKYSportsCo