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Opponent preview: What to know about No. 11 Louisville

first_img Published on February 18, 2020 at 2:02 pm Contact Nick: nialvare@syr.edu | @nick_a_alvarez Syracuse (14-11, 7-7 Atlantic Coast) likely faces its last ranked opponent on Wednesday night when the Orange travel to the KFC Yum! Center to take on No. 11 Louisville (21-5, 12-3). The Orange have dropped two in a row, recently falling to Florida State by three points. The Cardinals have also lost two-straight after being upset by Georgia Tech and Clemson. Here’s what to know about Louisville ahead of tip-off. All-time series: Louisville leads, 18-10Last time they played: Hosting the Cardinals in late-Feb. 2019, SU won, 69-49. Elijah Hughes led with 18 points, six rebounds and a pair of blocks while Oshae Brissett and Buddy Boeheim chipped in 16 and 14 points. Syracuse also forced Louisville into its worst shooting performance of the season (25.9%) and held Jordan Nwora to 11 points. It was one of Syracuse’s last marquee wins ahead of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals report: Led by Nwora, Louisville combines good defense with better offense and features a nine-player rotation. It didn’t lose its first game until a neutral site matchup against Texas Tech on Dec. 10. Then the Cardinals bookended the new year with an overtime loss to rival Kentucky and a 13-point home defeat to Florida State. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThey rank 12th in Division-I adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom, and 44th on defense. Those metrics sit second- and fourth-best, respectively, in the ACC. Their scoring is split among Nwora (the second-best scorer in the ACC with 18.2 ppg, only behind Hughes), 6-foot-10 center Steven Enoch (9.9) and forward Dwayne Sutton (9.2). By normally out-shooting (40.7% team 3-point percentage) and out-rebounding teams, Louisville poses one of the worst on-paper matchups with the Orange this season. In recent games, coach Chris Mack has turned to a lineup of Nwora, Sutton, Enoch and guards Lamarr Kimble and Darius Perry most often, per KenPom. How Syracuse beats the Cardinals: The task is daunting. Syracuse must limit the Cardinals’ 3-point shooting and have another stout rebounding performance. SU must follow the blueprint it used to upset Virginia on the road in mid-January. In Louisville’s last two losses, it’s shot a combined nine-for-51 from deep and averaged 60 points a game. And that’s with Nwora slumping. The junior has seven points in his last two games, and the Orange must keep him struggling to have any shot at an upset. Offensively, look for Syracuse to again rely on Hughes and Joseph Girard III for offense. A reemerging Buddy Boeheim can help crack a Cardinals defense that allows 43.4% of its points from 3. Stat to know: 7.5% — Louisville’s steal-percentage that ranks 287th nationally. SU shouldn’t be forced into many turnovers. KenPom odds: The Orange have a 20% chance of winning the game, per KenPom. The contest’s projected final score is 78-68 Cardinals.Player to watch: Darius Perry, No. 2, Guard Perry is Louisville’s starting point guard and leads the team in assists (73). He’ll be the one trying to feed Enoch or Nwora in the high post of the 2-3 zone. The 6-foot-2 guard is a threat offensively as well, with a 40.6% 3-point percentage. While the Orange are occupied with Louisville’s forwards, it could be Perry who’s an X-factor.  Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more