The No. 6-ranked Louisville Cardinals take on their longtime rivals, the Memphis Tigers in a nonconference matchup that, at this time next year, will be a conference game.
Memphis (6-2) is joining the Big East in 2013, marking the fourth time that the Tigers and Cardinals will be conference foes. Previously, the two schools have battled in the Missouri Valley Conference, the Metro Conference and Conference USA.
After losing two of their first four games, Memphis has rattled off four wins in a row, most recently an 83-65 win against Austin Peay on December 8.
Louisville was the No. 2-ranked team in the country before losing to Duke, 76-71 in the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis on November 24.
The Cardinals have won three in a row since then, including a 99-47 thumping of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos on December 8.
When last these two met, Louisville blew a 10-point lead at halftime, holding off a second-half charge from Memphis for a 95-87 victory at the Yum! Center in Louisville.
Here's everything you need to know heading into Saturday afternoon's showdown.
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee
When: Saturday, December 15 at 2:30 p.m. ET
Watch: Fox Sports Net National
Listen: WHAS 840 AM (Louisville), WREC 600 AM (Memphis)
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Line: TBA
With Louisville ranked in the Top 10 and Memphis failing to receive any votes in either the AP or USA Today Coaches Polls (via ESPN), expect the oddsmakers to heavily favor the Cardinals when the line is revealed.
Louisville Injury Report (via USA Today)
F Angel Nunez (Concussion): Out indefinitely
C Gorgui Dieng (Wrist): Out indefinitely
G Mike Marra (Knee): Out for season.
Memphis Injury Report (via USA Today)
No injuries to report
Louisville Starting Five (based on last game)
G Peyton Siva
G Russ Smith
G-F Wayne Blackshear
F Chane Behanan
C Zach Price
Memphis Starting Five (based on last game)
G Chris Crawford
G Joe Jackson
G-F Adonis Thomas
F Shaq Goodwin
F Stan Simpson
What They're Saying
The Stat Sheet Network's Cardinals Basketball Twitter account couldn't help but take a few shots at Louisville's opponent on Saturday afternoon:
MEM StatSmack: Even computers respect Louisville more. We had a better RPI last season than Memphis (RPI: #10 vs #20). thevilledaily.com/louisville-bas…— Cardinals Basketball (@TheVilleDailyBB) December 13, 2012
MEM StatSmack: Keep filling up on cupcakes. Louisville had a stronger schedule than Memphis last season (SOS Rank... thevilledaily.com/louisville-bas…— Cardinals Basketball (@TheVilleDailyBB) December 13, 2012
But while they are living in the past, ESPN's Andy Katz made a bold statement about the present, as one of the official Twitter accounts of the Memphis Tigers' Athletic Department was more than happy to share with us:
Will history repeat itself or will Memphis prove Katz right and prove that sometimes, the numbers don't tell the entire story?
Louisville Player to Watch: Peyton Siva
One of 50 players named to the Naismith Award Watch List entering the season (per Naismithawards.com), Peyton Siva is the unquestioned leader of this Louisville team.
As the team's second-leading scorer, posting 10.9 points per game, Siva runs the offense and averages 5.7 assists per game.
When these two teams last met, Siva scored 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting (1-of-3 from behind the arc), dishing out nine assists and turning the ball over only three times.
Memphis Player to Watch: Shaq Goodwin
The reigning Conference USA Freshman of the Week, 6'9" Shaq Goodwin, continues to acclimate himself to the college game, and it's showing in the results.
Over his past two games, Goodwin is averaging 12.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game. shooting nearly 67 percent from the field and 73 percent from the charity stripe.
On the season, Goodwin is averaging 8.6 points and leading the Tigers with 6.8 rebounds per game.
Key Matchup: Memphis' Perimeter Defense vs. Louisville's Shooting and Athleticism
Memphis struggles with teams that are quick, athletic and can shoot from outside, and Louisville presents similar issues for the Tigers on Saturday.
Louisville junior guard Russ Smith, the team's leading scorer, averaging 20.3 points per game, is an excellent shooter from virtually everywhere on the floor.
If Peyton Siva is able to break down the Tigers' defense and get penetration, he'll simply kick it out to Smith for easy looks and quick points.
However, if the Tigers can stand their ground and get a hand in Smith's face for much of the game, it could be a long afternoon for the Cardinals.
Both teams have their sights set on taking part in the madness that comes every March in the form of the NCAA Tournament, and while a loss in this game wouldn't crush either team's hopes of making it to the big dance, a win would certainly look good on their respective resumes.
While Memphis fell the last time these two teams met, the Tigers hold a 22-15 advantage in the all-time series between the two schools when the game is played in Tigers country.
That being said, there's a reason that Louisville is a Top 10 team and Memphis isn't.
It's going to be a close game, but the combination of Smith and Siva will prove to be too much for the Tigers to handle.
Louisville 82, Memphis 79
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