After a week off from the court, the No. 3 Louisville Cardinals will go on the road to play the Seton Hall Pirates. These two teams are perfect examples of how much talent is in the Big East Conference this season, which is why this should be a very entertaining game to watch.
Louisville leads the all-time series 11-5 and has a record of 5-4 at Seton Hall.
The Cardinals come into the game after beating Providence in their first Big East matchup of the season, 80-62. Junior guard Russ Smith led all scorers with 23 points and added three assists.
We’re continuing to win with offense, protecting the ball and not turning it over and scoring the ball well. Our defense is nowhere near where we want it to be. I think our guys realize that and they will continue to work on it.
Seton Hall comes into the game after an embarrassing loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on the road, 93-74. Guards Fuquan Edwin and Aaron Cosby both scored 21 points in a losing effort.
Seton Hall's coach Kevin Willard was the assistant coach at Louisville for seven years before coaching the Pirates. He said during his press conference Tuesday of Louisville, via Jerry Carino of MyCentralJersey.com, "Their defense is as good as any defense I’ve seen. Handling their half-court pressure is a big worry for me. They can really turn it up when they want to."
When: Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 7:02 p.m. ET
Where: Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Listen: WKRD Radio (790 AM) in Louisville, Ky.
WMTR Radio (1250 AM) in Newark, N.J.
C Gorgui Dieng, 6'11”, 245 lbs.
PF Montrezl Harrell, 6'8”, 235 lbs.
F Wayne Blackshear, 6'5”, 230 lbs.
G Russ Smith, 6'0”, 165 lbs.
PG Peyton Siva, 6'0”, 185 lbs.
C Eugene Teague Jr., 6'9", 290 lbs.
F Brandon Moblet, 6'9", 215 lbs.
G Fuquan Edwin, 6'6", 205 lbs.
G Kyle Smyth, 6'4", 185 lbs.
G Aaron Cosby, 6'2", 190 lbs.
Injury Report via USA Today
- Mike Marra is out for the season with an ACL tear in his left knee.
- Chane Behanan will be out a week to 10 days with a high ankle sprain, per Eric Crawford of WDRB.
Who will win?
- Brian Oliver is questionable for the game with an undisclosed illness.
- Aaron Geramipoor is out for three weeks with a stress fracture in his foot.
- Kevin Johnson is out for two-to-three weeks after he had surgery for a torn meniscus.
- Patrik Auda is out for the season with a fracture foot.
Matchup to Watch: Wayne Blackshear vs. Fuquan Edwin
Both wings are very athletic and have the ability to make an impact on both sides of the floor. The biggest difference is that the Pirates' success is dependent on how Edwin plays and Louisville can still succeed if Blackshear struggles.
Edwin is Seton Hall's leading scorer with 17.9 points per game while shooting 52 percent. He also grabs 5.8 rebounds and gets 2.1 assists per game.
Blackshear is averaging 9.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game while playing 21.1 minutes per game. Statistically the talented sophomore has not been exceptional, but he is getting better each game and has the ability to put up big numbers quickly.
I expect Edwin to show up big for the home crowd and lead his team in scoring. Although Blackshear will still make an impact and make some big hustle play.
- Louisville averages 78.4 points a game, Seton Hall averages 73.1.
- Louisville allows just 57.5 points a game, Seton Hall allows 63.8.
- Both teams have a 46 percent shooting percentage.
- Louisville averages 11.4 steal per game.
- Senior point guard Peyton needs 20 points to reach 1,000 for his four-year career at Louisville.
- Seton Hall averages 16 assists per game, Louisville averages 15.5.
Louisville has proven it can play without its star players, after losing center Gorgui Dieng for more than a month with a broken wrist. Although not having Chane Behanan is a big blow, Louisville has enough depth that it shouldn't be an issue.
I expect Russ Smith to continue to show that he cannot be controlled. He will score more than 20 points and have a handful of steals.
Eugene Teague will have a big game underneath for the Pirates on the defensive end, but will have issues keeping up with a much more athletic Gorgui Dieng.
Kevin Ware will be the spark off the bench for Louisville with 12 points and five assists.
Louisville will win 77-69.
All stats used came from StatSheets.com unless otherwise noted.
You can follow Jon on Twitter @JonKYSportsCo.