Battle 4 Atlantis: Louisville vs. Missouri Game Preview and Predictions

Jon HancockSenior Analyst INovember 23, 2012

Russ Smith
Russ SmithKevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Louisville will have its toughest battle of the season Friday night when it takes on the the 13th-ranked Missouri Tigers in the second round of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

The Cardinals come into the game after barely holding on to beat Northern Iowa in the first round, 51-46.

Louisville struggled shooting the ball the entire game, making only 30.6 percent of its shots.

Junior guard Russ Smith led the Cardinals with 16 points, five steals and four assists.

"Our main staple is our defense,” UofL point guard Peyton Siva told C.L. Brown of the Courier Journal. “Shots are going to fall or shots aren’t going to fall. We have to continue to play consistent defense and continue to hold teams to a low shooting percentage.”

Missouri had a close game with Stanford on Thursday afternoon, beating them 78-70. The Tigers' power forward, Laurence Bowers, had a big game with 19 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.

Missouri's point guard, Phil Pressey, added 18 points and eight assists.

"Rebounding and defense is a big part of who this team is," Missouri coach Frank Haith said after the game via "I thought we did that much better in the second half and were able to come out with a win."

The winner will play the winner of the Duke vs. VCU game on Saturday night at 9:30 p.m. ET.


Location: Imperial Arena at Atlantis Resort in Paradise Island, Bahamas. 

When: Friday, Nov. 23 at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Watch: NBC Sports Network

Listen: WHAS Radio (840 AM) in Louisville, Ky.

            Tiger Radio Network in Columbia, Mo.


Starting Lineups


C Gorgui Dieng, 6'11”, 245 pounds

PF Chane Behanan, 6'6”, 250 pounds

F Wayne Blackshear, 6'5”, 230 pounds

G Russ Smith, 6'0”, 165 pounds

PG Peyton Siva, 6'0”, 185 pounds




F Alex Oriakhi, 6'9", 255 pounds

F Laurence Bowers, 6'8", 227 pounds

G Earnest Ross, 6'5", 222 pounds

G Keion Bell, 6'4", 200

PG Phil Pressey, 5'11", 175 pounds


Matchup to Watch: Peyton Siva vs. Phil Pressey

This could one of the best point guard battles of the 2012-13 season. Both are very smart basketball players who do a lot of little things to help their teams win.

Pressey comes into the game averaging 15.3, 4.7 assists and three rebounds a game this season.

Siva averages 7.7 points, nine assists and 2.7 steals a game this season.

Many believe Pressey is the best point guard in college basketball. Siva's skills are a little bit underrated, mostly because of his inconstant play last season.

"We'll be playing against a great point guard, one of the premier guards in the country," Pitino told Howie Lindsey of after the Northern Iowa win. "Peyton Siva didn't play well tonight, he'll play well tomorrow."


Game Notes

-Coming into the tournament, Missouri averaged 49 rebounds a game.

-Louisville has won one game in the three games against Missouri in school history.

-Rick Pitino has never coached against a Missouri team.

-The Tigers average 81.5 points a game this season and have allowed 61.8.

-Louisville came into the tournament averaging 19.3 assists a a game. 

-The Cardinals average 11.3 steals a game.


Keys to a Louisville Victory

1. Get a shooting rhythm early. Louisville struggled shooting against Northern Iowa in the first half, which caused them to make bad decisions on both sides of the court.

2. Keep turnovers down. The Cardinals must make smart passes and have good offensive possessions.

3. Be strong underneath. Louisville is very long and talented underneath and must get them active on offense.


Game Predictions

This will be a battle from start to finish.

The Cardinals will play strong pressure defense throughout the game, but are playing a lot more experienced team than they have played all season.

Expect Gorgui Dieng to have a big game; he always played well when Oriakhi played at Connecticut. Dieng will have a couple of big blocks and a double-double.

Russ Smith is very difficult to guard, even for the best teams in the country. He will once again lead the Cardinals in scoring with 22.


Louisville will win 69-65.