Louisville, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - The seventh-ranked Louisville Cardinals
continue a five-game homestand on Saturday with a non-conference contest with
the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns at the KFC Yum! Center.
The Ragin' Cajuns are riding a bit of momentum into this matchup after winning
their last four games. The winning streak included a 89-80 victory over
Louisiana Tech and has elevated Louisiana to 6-2 on the year. However, the
Ragin' Cajuns are just 2-2 in road games. Louisiana will host Houston next.
Louisville had no trouble last time on the floor as it easily ran past UMKC,
90-62, on Wednesday night. The win was the second-straight for the Cardinals
after they were upset by North CArolina during the Hall of Fame Tip-Off.
Louisville is 7-1 overall and a sparkling 6-0 at home. Louisville finishes the
current homestand with battles against Western Kentucky and Missouri State.
In eight all-time meetings between these two teams, Louisville has come out on
top each time. The most recent edition occurred during the 2009-10 season
when the Cardinals claimed an 84-69 triumph.
Led by double-doubles from Shawn Long (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Elfrid
Payton (17 points, 10 rebounds) and 22 points off the bench from Kasey
Shepherd, the Ragin' Cajuns were able to slip by Louisiana Tech. Louisiana had
advantages from the free-throw line (22-12) and on second-chance points
(23-12) that proved to be the difference.
The Ragin' Cajuns can score as well as just about any team in the country as
they net 84.4 points per game and connect on 47.5 percent of their attempts
from the floor. Louisiana also does great work on the boards, averaging 40.6
rebounds per game. Payton (19.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 5 apg, 2.5 spg) certainly helps
on the glass, but his ability to stuff the stat sheet makes him much more than
a one-dimensional contributor. Payton bounced back from a season-low seven
point outing in the previous game with his double-double against Louisiana
Tech. Shawn Long (20.1 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 3.1 bpg) leads the team in scoring and
rebounding and can also protect the rim.
The Cardinals made up for a rather week shooting night against UMKC by playing
with their normal defensive intensity. Louisville forced 20 turnovers and
turned those in for 29 points, while netting just 42.9 percent of their shots
from the field. The Cardinals also had 20 more points in the paint (44-24) and
20 more rebounds (49-29) than the Kangaroos.
Rick Pitino's squad is always strong defensively. The Cardinals are fourth in
the nation in steals (11.1 pg) and ninth in opponent scoring average (58.6
ppg). The Cardinals don't make many mistakes themselves as they own the 15th-
best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.58) in the country. The Cardinals have an
extremely deep roster led by Russ Smith (17.8 ppg, 4.8 apg), who has grown as
a passer this season, while still managing to be the most dangerous scoring
threat. Chris Jones (14.4 ppg, 2.2 spg) plays well on both ends, while
Montrezl Harrell (12.5 ppg, 9.4 rpg) has been living up to the immense
potential he showed during the Cardinals' run to the national title a year
The Sports Network