Louisville basketball: Three bold predictions vs Texas Tech

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 04: Terrence Shannon Jr. #1 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders reacts after being fouled while shooting in the second half against the DePaul Blue Demons at Wintrust Arena on December 04, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 04: Terrence Shannon Jr. #1 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders reacts after being fouled while shooting in the second half against the DePaul Blue Demons at Wintrust Arena on December 04, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Louisville basketball faces another tough test on Tuesday against a formidable Texas Tech squad. Here are three bold predictions for the Cards vs the Red Raiders.

A number of headlines surround Louisville basketball’s primetime match-up against Texas Tech on Tuesday night.

The opener of the Jimmy V Classic in Madison Square Garden will feature the No.1 Louisville Cardinals and the defending national runners-up Texas Tech.

Though Tech is on a three-game skid, this will be their first chance to play in a national spotlight game since their close loss to Virginia in last year’s national championship game.

The Red Raiders are 81-33 in their fourth year under rising star Chris Beard, and they should be more than ready to go for the Cardinals.

Let’s take a look at three bold predictions for Tuesday’s contest.

Texas Tech’s Jahmi’us Ramsey will play

We start with perhaps the biggest storyline of this game- the health of Texas Tech’s star guard Jahmi’us Ramsey.

Once considered to be a Louisville lean, Ramsey and the Cards know each other well. Ultimately, the Red Raiders wound up winning his services, and he has been a star in the early going, averaging 17.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

However, Ramsey suffered a leg injury in the Raiders’ loss to Iowa, and Tech has not been the same since his departure.

As big of an opportunity as this game is for Louisville basketball, the defending national runners up have a huge opportunity to play No. 1 in primetime. It’s hard to fathom that if Ramsey is a game-time decision that he wouldn’t give it a go.

Louisville tries to win from the outside once again

Tech will be among the best defensive teams that the Cardinals have faced thus far in 2019. The Red Raiders do a really good job of keeping teams out of the lane and forcing you to beat them from the outside.

Unfortunately for the Red Raiders, Louisville is deadly from the outside. The Cards are 28th in the country in three-point field goal percentage, and 20th in the nation in three-point field goals made.

Louisville can beat you in a number of ways. For instance, Louisville is third in the KenPom rankings in adjusted defense and 17th in the nation in field goal percentage. They can get stops on defense, they can beat you in transition or going to the basket in the halfcourt, but they are perhaps the most dangerous from the outside.

The Cardinals beat Pitt by 18 on Friday while only hitting three more shots than the Panthers from the field. Pitt kept Louisville out of the lane, but in doing so allowed the Cards too much space from the perimeter, where every player on the team can knock down shots.

Louisville had eight different players, including both of their centers, knock down a three-point shot.

The Cardinals can’t rely on the long ball to be their bread and butter, but they are among the best in the nation when teams force them to do so.

The Cardinals get out to a big lead early but have to hang on late

Everything in this game points towards Louisville getting out to a big lead.

The Cards have all of the momenta in the world as the No. 1 team in the country coming off of a sensational week.

Meanwhile, the Raiders limp into this game on a three-game losing streak. Given that Tech has some returning experience from a squad that played in the national title game in April and one of the biggest rising stars in the game in Beard, it is not expected for TTU to lay down.

However, even with Ramsey, its doubtful he will be playing at full speed and could be relegated to a limited capacity. That would mean continued minutes for a name the Cardinals know well- Virginia Tech graduate transfer Chris Clarke.

Clarke has done a fine job against in replacement of Ramsey, but in his last two games against Louisville, he has only averaged 5.5 points and 3.5 assists in extended minutes.

Meanwhile, the Cards draw beneficial match-ups against Tech point guard Davide Moretti and against their bigs upfront.

Moretti is the heart and soul of this Texas Tech team. He is the only returning starter from a year ago, and he and backcourt mate Kyler Edwards are the only contributors that return from their final four run.

Everyone outside of Moretti is adjusting on the fly, and when Tech has gone up against the Creightons, Iowa’s, and DePaul’s they have looked like they are still learning to play together and win at the highest level.

For Moretti, getting into the lane and distributing is what makes Tech go. He is a willing scorer, but he has to share the ball and get movement within the offense or they become stagnant- especially without Ramsey. The Cardinals did a masterful job against Michigan’s Zavier Simpson, and they will aim to do the same with Moretti.

Louisville also has a distinct size advantage. Tech’s tallest contributing player is Stephen F. Austin grad transfer TJ Holyfield, who measures at 6’8,” 227 pounds. Clarke and true freshman Terrance Shannon Jr. are their next largest players, both at 6’6″.

dark. Next. How to watch and listen, predictions vs Texas Tech

Look for Louisville to place an emphasis on getting the ball inside to their bigs Stephen Enoch and Malik Williams early on in order to set up shots from the outside.

Tech is still way too good for Louisville to expect to blow the doors off this one, and that’s why I think it will still stay competitive late into the game.