After an impressive 18-point whooping of Syracuse in the Carrier Dome on Tuesday, the Seminoles return home today for a top-25 matchup with Louisville at 4pm. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2. Coming off a big road win over No. 11 Virginia Tech on Monday, the Cardinals claim a 17-6 overall record and are currently 4th in the ACC at 8-2. FSU opened as a 2-point favorite, while KenPom has Louisville winning by one.
FSU has recent experience facing first-year head coach Chris Mack, who led Xavier in matchups against FSU in both the 2017 and 2018 NCAA tournaments. Mack has now brought his pack line defense to Louisville and has had more success in his first season than many expected with a job that had so much baggage. He has guided UL to a balanced attack with their offense coming in at 15th in the country and their defense close behind at 22nd (KenPom).
The Cardinals offense primarily runs through forward Jordan Nwora, who not only leads the team in scoring at 17.8 points a game but also in rebounding with 7.7 a game. Fellow forward Dwayne Sutton averages 10.9 points per game while shooting 39.5% from three and grabbing 7.0 rebounds. Senior guard Christen Cunningham is the team’s top distributor at 4.6 assists a game and adds 10.2 points a game with the ability to score in bunches. Mack’s pack line defense is effective at holding opponents to lower than average shooting percentages but does not tend to force turnovers at a high rate. The Cardinals are 42nd in the country in holding opponents to 47.4% shooting from the floor but come in at 200th in takeaways.
This has all the makings of a fantastic ACC basketball game between two evenly matched teams. Both get to the line and shoot free throws at above average rates, so the more aggressive team will likely have a significant advantage. The Seminoles will need to take the shots that are there, which has been a problem for them at times this season, and not shoot themselves in the foot with silly, self-imposed turnovers.
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