A matchup of two Top 25 teams will battle inside the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday. No. 12 Louisville (17-4) will host the No. 25 Marquette Golden Eagles (15-4). Marquette has won 8 of their last 9.
After No. 6 Syracuse (18-3) fell 55-65 to Pittsburgh (18-5) on Saturday, the Golden Eagles find themselves atop the Big East standings with a 6-1 record. A win over the Cardinals would give Marquette a huge advantage going into their final 10 games.
Louisville is 5-3 in conference play and a win will help separate them from a slew of teams with 3 losses. The Cardinals are just 1-3 over a rough 4 game span that included road losses to Villanova (13-8) and Georgetown (16-4). UofL is 10-1 at home this season, while Marquette is 1-3 in true road games.
The Golden Eagles are led in scoring by Vander Blue with 14.8 points per game. The only other double-digit scoring threat is Devante Gardner who averages 12.7 and also leads the team in rebounding with 5.5 per game. Gardner is a massive 290 pounds and stands 6’8″. Guard Junior Cadougan dishes 4.3 assists and adds 8.9 points per game.
Louisville’s top scoring threat with 18.4 points per game is Russ Smith. Gorgui Dieng snags a team best 10.0 rebounds, pitches in 9.4 points, and 2.4 blocks per outing. Peyton Siva is dropping 6.0 assists and 10.5 points per game.
The Cardinals will sport new “white-out” uniforms on Sunday. Since 2008, head coach Rick Pitino has shown up on the sideline five times in a white suit; well maybe more like cream color. While Pitino says he likely won’t wear white, he has said similar in the past.
White suit or not, Louisville will need to control the backboards and force turnovers. Marquette ranks 152nd in rebounding (35.6) while the Cardinals are 80th (37.3). However, the Golden Eagles are 50th best in field goal percentage (46.3) and Louisville is 105th (44.8).
Tipoff is at 2:00 pm and can be seen on ESPN. Louisville has won seven of the last nine games against Marquette. The Cardinals are currently a 10.5 point favorite.