The University of Louisville Cardinals will play the Samford Bulldogs in their second game of the season Thursday night at home. The Cardinals come into the game ranked second in the AP Poll.
This is the first time in school history that Louisville will play Samford.
Louisville comes into the game after winning their first game of the season Sunday against the Manhattan Jaspers, 79-51. The Cardinals struggled shooting from the outside against the Jaspers, but had a huge game by junior guard Russ Smith who had 23 points and five steals.
The most noticeable thing about Louisville is how effective their defense was.
U of L coach Rick Pitino said of his team's defense after their first game, “We are a low percentage defensive team and we hold people to low percentages. We are playing exclusively man and we haven't worked on zone much. We will need it though someday. Right now I am pleased with the man, but our guards have to help rebound.”
Samford comes after losing their first game against Austin Peay State University on the road last Friday. The Bulldogs then beat their second opponent, Martin Methodist, Monday night, 59-40. Samford is a very young team with no seniors on their roster.
After Samford plays Louisville on Thursday, they will then take on Memphis Saturday night.
“Playing against the likes of Louisville and Memphis are what it's all about for our players,” Samford coach Bennie Seltzer said after the game Monday via SamfordSports.com. “They are going to have a chance to play against two of the top teams in the country. Obviously, Louisville is coached by Rick Pitino who is one of the legends in our game and I have tremendous respect for him and his program.”
Location: KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY.
When: Thursday, November 15 at 7:07 p.m. ET
Watch: WHAS in Louisville, KY.
Listen: WHAS Radio (840 AM) in Louisville, KY.
F Tyler Hood, 6'6”, 210 pounds
PF Tim Williams, 6'8”, 210 pounds
G Will Cook, 6'4” ,185 pounds
G Raijon Kelly, 6'4”, 175 pounds
G Conner Miller, 6'3”, 170 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: Gorgui Dieng vs. Tim Williams
Tim Williams is very talented and athletic for a freshman. He is averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds in Samford's first two games. He had 23 points and 10 rebounds in his first collegiate game against Austin Peay.
Williams is only 6'8”, which could cause some issues against Louisville's size. Junior Levi Barnes is the Bulldogs tallest player at 6'10”, although he doesn't play a lot of minutes.
Gorgui Dieng has developed into an all-around basketball player in his three years at U of L. Dieng is one of the best shot-blockers in the nation. He racked up 128 blocks last year as a sophomore.
Dieng had two quick fouls and barely played in the first half against Manhattan. He ended up with nine points, three rebounds and one block.
This will be a tough game for Williams as he will take on a much longer and physical player in Dieng. Samford will likely try to spread Dieng to the outside to open up the lane.
-Peyton Siva needs 166 points to reach 1,000 for his career.
-Louisville returns 61-percent of the scoring and 63-percent of their assists from last year.
-Louisville forced 27 turnovers in Sunday's game against Manhattan.
-Samford has made nine of the 47 three-point attempts in their two games.
-Louisville made eight of their 30 three-point shots in their game against Manhattan.
-The Cardinals played 11 different players against Manhattan, sophomore Angel Nunez did not play due to illness.
-Louisville was out-rebounded by Manhattan 37-34.
This shouldn't be a difficult challenge for the Cardinals, but it will be another great opportunity to give the younger players on the team confidence before playing in the Battle of Atlantis tournament.
I expect Peyton Siva and Russ Smith to force a lot of turnovers as they put pressure on the Samford guards.
Gorgui Dieng will be ready to play a complete game after missing a lot of time against Manhattan due foul trouble. I expect him to have a double-double and a big day underneath blocking shots.
Chane Behanan will be Louisville's spark off the bench. He played a decent game against Manhattan, but still has a lot to prove before regaining his starting position.
Louisville will win 80-59.
Jon Hancock is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
You can follow Jon on Twitter @JonKYSportsCo