Jan 19, 2013; Louisville, KY, USA; The Louisville Cardinals cheerleaders perform during the first half against the Syracuse Orange at the KFC Yum! Center. Syracuse defeated Louisville 70-68. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville: True Road Warriors, Villanova Next

Dec 19, 2012; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals forward Chane Behanan (21) looks to pass the ball against the Florida International Golden Panthers during the second half at the KFC Yum! Center. Louisville defeated Florida International 79-55. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

This season, No. 5 Louisville (16-2) has only played 4 true road games on an opponent’s home court. When they have, the Cardinals have dominated and have won by a 20.25 point average margin of victory while going 4-0. While the number is inflated by the 80-38 win over Charleston (12-7), it is still impressive. Louisville won the other 3 games against Memphis (14-3), Seton Hall (12-6), and Connecticut (12-5) by an average of 13.0 points.

No matter how you look at it, UofL has beat quality teams on their home turf fairly easy. Being able to perform on the road in Big East play is critical to success. Starting tonight against Villanova (11-7) in Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, Louisville will play on the road in 4 of their next 6 games.

Chane Behanan has been a big part of Louisville’s perfect road start. Behanan missed the Seton Hall game due to injury, but has been impressive in the other 3 games. He is averaging 16 points per game in true road games which is nearly 5 points better than his season average of 11.2. Villanova who has lost their last 3 games will have to quickly find a way to shutdown Behanan. Last season, the 6’6” forward shredded Nova for 14 points in just 18 minutes of action in an 84-74 Cardinal victory at the KFC Yum! Center.

The Wildcats are 6-3 in home games this season. Villanova plays home games in both The Pavilion and Wells Fargo Center. The Wells Fargo Center is usually the site when hosting opponents expected to bring a big crowd. Their remaining games inside the home of the 76ers are Syracuse this Saturday and Georgetown to end the season.

One of the 3 Nova home losses was a shocker to Ivy League participant Columbia (9-6). The Lions embarrassed Villanova 75-57. It was Columbia’s first win against a Big East school since beating Seton Hall in 1985. The other 2 home losses were to Temple (12-5) and Pittsburgh (15-4). Nova’s only quality home win was a 98-86 overtime victory against St. John’s (11-7).

Louisville enters the game as an 11.5 point Vegas favorite. The line opened at 10.5, climbed to 12.5 and has now settled. Interesting line considering UofL‘s average margin of victory outside of the Charleston win.

Tipoff is at 8:00pm and can be seen on ESPN3 or WHAS-TV in Louisville.

-UofL 80 Villanova 63
-Chane Behanan scores 19 points

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