USF welcomes in the 23rd ranked Louisville Cardinals to the Sun Dome for a Sunday nooner. Game is on Bright House Sports Network and SNY for those watching on satellite. Jim Lighthall will be calling the game on 1250 WHNZ for those forced to listen via radio.
The Cardinals come into the game 12-2 on the season and won their Big East opener against Seton Hall on Wednesday. The Cards have played a bit smaller than in years past, but started off insanely small against the Pirates after Rakeem Buckles broke his finger, and according to Pitino, it will continue against the Bulls.
If Wednesday's starting lineup is the same, expect to see the following out on the opening tip:
- 5'11 So. Peyton Siva 11.3 Points/3.0 Rebounds/4.7 Assists/2.3 Steals
- 6'1 Sr. Preston Knowles 15.1 Points/3.9 Rebounds/2.4 Assists/1.9 Steals
- 6'2 Jr. Chris Smith 9.1 Points/4.0 Rebounds/2 Assists
- 6'4 Jr. Kyle Kuric 7.8 Points/2.8 Rebounds
- 6'8 Jr. George Goode 2.5 Points/1.3 Rebounds
Even though Goode got the start, he only played 10 minutes against the Pirates. Expect to see a lot of 6'9 Soph. Stephan Van Treese (2.3 PTS/3.4 REB) and 6'10 Fr. Gorgui Dieng (5.9 PTS/4.8 REB/2.5 BLK) out there to battle Ron Anderson Jr., Augustus Gilchrist, and Jarrid Famous. In the backcourt, the only other player you should expect to see is 6'5 Soph. Mike Marra (8.9 PTS/2.6 REB/2.6 AST).
You guys should know by know what we should expect from Pitino and the Cards. We are going to be pressed for 40 minutes, and Coach Pitino has upped the pressure even more this year with Siva and Knowles in the backcourt. If you want to read up on Pitino's match-up press, read up on it here. Louisville is forcing an insane 18 turnovers a game, and our guards need to do an exceptional job handling the press if we have any chance to win.
On offense, the Cards will run, run, and run. If not in transition, the offense runs around Peyton Siva. Siva isn't a great shooter, but he can drive the lane at will, and if his shot isn't there, he will kick it out to Knowles, Marra, Kuric, and Smith who all shoot over 40% from three. With Buckles hurt and Terrence Jennings in Pitino's doghouse, the posts shouldn't see too many looks except for offensive putbacks.
So what does USF need to do to win? Pretty much the same thing as we did against Villanova, UConn, and everyone else on the schedule this season. Gus did a great job against UConn getting their bigs in trouble, and I expect him to do the exact same thing. Anthony Crater must continue his strong play, and if Shaun Noriega wants to continue his 2nd half performance, that would be fine with me.
Ultimately I see this game going the exact same as the Nova game. We will keep it close, but Louisville goes on a little run and we can't recover.
Cards win 76-67