After suffering first loss of season, Louisville basketball coming home to take on a familiar foe in the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on Saturday afternoon.
It’s fair to say that the Big Apple was not very kind to top-ranked Louisville basketball on Tuesday night. Playing at the most iconic basketball venue in history, Madison Square Garden, the Cards expected to put on a show on the big stage. Instead, Chris Mack’s team folded and suffered their first loss of the season because of it.
In the 70-57 loss, Louisville was outplayed by Texas Tech in nearly all facets of the game. The Red Raiders’ physically imposing defensive style wore the Cards down and forced them into their worst offensive game of the season. Louisville gets to play one more game at the KFC! Yum Center with the number one ranking next to their name, and they’re hoping to make it an enjoyable one.
There’s no telling where the Cards will fall in the next set of rankings, but that’s not what the team needs to be worried about. They have two games to prepare for what should be their biggest game of the regular season, against the rival down in Lexington. They’ll start with a home game against another in-state foe, as the Eastern Kentucky Colonels will come to town on Saturday afternoon.
As they spend the next few days preparing for this tenacious opponent, the Cards should be looking to use this game as a massive bounce-back opportunity. It might not be against the highest quality of competition, but it’s always good to get dominating wins over opponents to build your confidence back up.
After starting the season 3-2, the Colonels are on a tough stretch as of late, dropping four games in a row and really struggling to play fundamentally sound basketball. Sitting at 3-6, EKU does not have a win that jumps off the table when you look at their schedule. They’ve beaten only one Division I school, Chattanooga, and they’ve gotten their other two victories at the hands of under matched Division II programs.
Some of their losses are not very good, and they help you understand why this team had lower expectations coming into the year. They lost to Western Kentucky by 8 at home and suffered two losses in the D.C. Invitational. A road loss to the SC Upstate Spartans by 12 points is by far the Colonels’ worst loss of the season. Yes, that’s the same SC Upstate team that the Cards beat by 26 in the Global Sports Shootout. Louisville also beat WKU by 17 on a neutral floor. The common opponent metric tells is that Louisville should be expected to dominate EKU on Saturday, but anything can happen in college basketball.
The Colonels only have two players who are scoring in double-figures so far this season, as guards Jomaru Brown and Ty Taylor II lead the team in scoring. They have other quality scorers, however, in guys like Tre King, Darius Hicks, Michael Moreno, Lachlan Anderson, Houston King, and Russhard Cruikshank.
The Colonels give significant minutes to about ten players per game, but it really depends on the game flow. They are capable of going ten deep though, and you may see them do this against Louisville. According to KenPom, Eastern Kentucky is the 310th best team in the nation, which is just not good at all. He ranks them as the 326th best team in terms of adjusted offensive efficiency, as well as being the 233rd best in adjusted defensive efficiency. They have a very small shot at making the NCAA Tournament this season, especially in a conference with Belmont and Murray State among others.
The Cardinals were at the top of the KenPom rankings a few days ago, but they’ve fallen a few spots after their loss. They are now ranked third in the KenPom rankings, possessing the 11th-best adjusted offensive efficiency and third-best adjusted defensive efficiency in the nation. Louisville should not harp on the loss to Texas Tech and they’ll certainly be looking forward to getting back on the court. This game provides a perfect bounce-back opportunity for the Cards. With that in mind, let’s take a look at everything you need to know ahead of the game.
Who: #1 Louisville Cardinals vs. Eastern Kentucky Colonels
Where: KFC! Yum Center (Louisville, Kentucky)
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 14th
Tickets: As low as $6 per StubHub.com.
Previous Meeting and Series: In the last meeting between the two in-state programs, Louisville routed Eastern Kentucky 87-56 on December 17th, 2016. The Cardinals have an all-time 52-22 record against the Colonels, and they’ve won 14 games in a row in the series.
How To Watch: ACC Network.
- Spectrum: 524 and 937
- DirecTV: 612
- YoutubeTV, Hulu Live, SlingTV
How To Listen: WHAS 840 AM.
G, Darius Perry, #2, Jr.
6-2, 195 Pounds
5.6 points, 1.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists
G, Ryan McMahon, #30, Sr.
6-0, 180 Pounds
10.0 points, 1.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists
F, Jordan Nwora, #33, Jr.
6-7, 225 Pounds
20.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists
F, Dwayne Sutton, #24, Sr.
6-5, 215 Pounds
8.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists
C, Steven Enoch, #23, Sr.
6-10, 260 Pounds
10.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 0.3 assists
G, Jacquess Hobbs, #1, Jr.
6-2, 180 Pounds
3.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists
G, Jomaru Brown, #11, So.
6-2, 185 Pounds
17.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists
G, Ty Taylor II, #12, Sr.
6-3, 170 Pounds
12.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists
F, Tre King, #2, So.
6-8, 225 Pounds
9.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 0.5 assists
F, Darius Hicks, #5, Jr.
6-8, 235 Pounds
8.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, 0.9 assists