Louisville basketball vs. Notre Dame gameday primer

Teammates John Mooney #33 and Dane Goodwin #23 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish defend Malik Williams #5 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Teammates John Mooney #33 and Dane Goodwin #23 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish defend Malik Williams #5 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Louisville basketball is in major need of an uplifting performance after they were beat down by North Carolina on Saturday.

The Cardinals need to make a big move with just four games remaining on the regular season schedule. At least two to three wins may be in order to prevent themselves from sitting on the NCAA bubble heading into Selection Sunday.

In what is projected to be Louisville’s weakest opponent to finish up the rest of the season, this feels like a must-win matchup to prevent any doubt of this being a tournament team.

The Cardinals are currently listed as a 10-seed by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi which would allow them to avoid a “First Four” play-in game.

A loss on Tuesday against the Irish would undoubtedly bump them down another peg that would endanger their NCAA hopes.

Notre Dame most recently blew a 20-point second half lead against Syracuse to lose by eight. As a team, losses like those can be demoralizing. The Irish have had a multitude of such games this season where they fail to close in the final frame.

Louisville needs a big bounce back from a demoralizing loss of their own where they were hounded for a full 40 minutes.

Let’s preview the matchup between Louisville and Notre Dame

Who: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-11) at Louisville Cardinals (11-5)

Where: KFC Yum! Center; Louisville, Kentucky

When: Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 7 pm eastern time

Spread: Louisville -4.5

TV: ACC Network

Projected starting lineups (via gocards.com)

Louisville Cardinals (11-5, 6-4)

F 10 Samuell Williamson 6-7 210 So. Rockwall, Texas

F 14 Dre Davis 6-5 220 Fr. 7.9 3.4 Indianapolis, Ind.

C 24 Jae’Lyn Withers 6-8 215 R-Fr. Charlotte, N.C.

G 1 Carlik Jones 6-1 185 Gr. Cincinnati, Ohio

G 13 David Johnson 6-5 210 So. Louisville, Ky.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-11, 6-8)

F 11 Juwan Durham 6-11 231 Gr. 10.2 5.2 Tampa, Fla.

F 14 Nate Laszewski 6-10 227 Jr. 15.0 7.8 Jupiter, Fla.

G 3 Prentiss Hubb 6-3 175 Jr. 13.7 3.2 Upper Marlboro, Md.

G 5 Cormac Ryan 6-5 195 Jr. 10.1 3.8 New York, N.Y.

G 23 Dane Goodwin 6-6 200 Jr. 12.5 5.3 Upper Arlington, Ohio

Players to watch for Notre Dame

F Nate Laszewski – He’s a 6’10” forward that plays more like a guard than a true big man. Laszewski can step out and hit the three at a high level shooting over 50 percent this season. He’s shooting 65 percent from the field this year and has separated himself as the Irish’s best player.

F Juwan Durham – He’s another dangerous player as an athlete. The former UCONN transfer is one of the better shot blockers in the ACC averaging almost two per game in less than 24 minutes of action on average. He’s a valuable counterpart to Laszewski who wants to live above the rim as a big man.

G Prentiss Hubb – Hubb is the leading assist man in the ACC averaging 6.2 per game. He’s not an efficient scorer (38 percent) from the floor, but he can affect the game in a lot of ways due to his playmaking ability. Hubb already has four games with 10 or more assists this season.

Players to watch for Louisville

F Malik Williams – Before long, Williams will be back in the starting lineup for the Cardinals. In his first game of the 2020-21 season, he logged 17 minutes of action. There were times when fatigue started to show for him, but there were obvious flashes of brilliance on both ends of the floor against the Tar Heels Saturday.

G Carlik Jones – Jones to emphasize his efficiency and keep the team under control in this game. Coming off a significant loss, Louisville needs a bounce back performance. That doesn’t happen if Jones isn’t commanding the team.

F Sam Williamson – Williamson put up another double digit rebounding performance in his most recent performance but struggled from the field (4-of-14). He continues to work hard for his buckets and attack the offensive glass which raises his floor significantly even if shots aren’t going down for him.

Final thoughts

If Louisville loses this game, they are in a bit of trouble from an NCAA tournament standpoint.  With upcoming dates with a streaking Duke team and two matchups against ranked Virginia and Virginia Tech, the Cardinals need this one.

There are some unconfirmed rumblings that the team could be shorthanded this evening. But that’s not something we wish to speculate too much on until we know the complete details of the situation.

Score prediction

Louisville 71, Notre Dame 68

A close game, but it’s one that Louisville is desperate for. Last time Louisville was blasted after a Covid pause, they rattled off five straight wins. This is a very winnable game. There should be no one player that causes the Cardinals consistent problems unlike the North Carolina matchup.

Maybe this is a bit of an optimistic approach for the team, but they’ve proven to have already succeed with their backs against the wall this season.

Next. One enters, another exits for Louisville football. dark