Read through the rest of the Cheat Sheets here
Conference: Big East
Coach: Rick Pitino
Rankings and Ratings:
– Kenpom: 2
– RPI: 3
– AP/USA Today: 4/4
Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen had Louisville as a No. 1 seed playing in Lexington in Saturday’s bracket projection. Man, that has gotta hurt in Big Blue Nation.
Names you need to know: Russ Smith (18.3 ppg, 2.0 spg), Peyton Siva (10.0 ppg, 5.8 apg, 2.2 spg), Gorgui Dieng (10.1 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 2.6 bpg), Chane Behanan (10.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg)
Stats you need to know: 80.9 is the Cards’ adjusted defensive number. Per Kenpom, that makes them the nation’s top defensive team.
How’d they get here?: Louisville came back from a 35-22 halftime deficit against Syracuse in the Big East final, locating their offensive mojo when 6’8″, 235-lb. freshman Montrezl Harrell broke out for 20 points. The final tally was 78-61 in favor of Louisville. Formidable? I think so.
Outlook: Louisville has always had the requisite parts to win a title this season. It’s finally starting to look like those parts are meshing into the unit that can get it done.
How do I know you?: Luke Hancock, the designated gunner for offensively-challenged Louisville, is a transfer from mid-major darling George Mason.
Eric is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.
This post will be updated throughout the night.
Butler (KenPom: 41, RPI; 67) at Seton Hall (KenPom: 31, RPI: 37), 6:30 p.m.
LSU (KenPom: 53, RPI: 76) at South Carolina (KenPom: 45, RPI: 28), 7:00 p.m.
Nebraska at Wisconsin (KenPom: 51, RPI: 62), 7:00 p.m.
Saint Joseph’s (KenPom: 48, RPI: 30) at George Washington (KenPom: 71, RPI: 34), 7:00 p.m.
Missouri at Vanderbilt (KenPom: 35, RPI: 58), 9:00 p.m.
No. 14 Iowa State at Texas Tech (KenPom: 59, RPI: 51), 9:00 p.m.
Michigan (KenPom: 46, RPI: 56) at Minnesota, 9:00 p.m.
Washington (KenPom: 80, RPI: 57) at Utah (KenPom: 44, RPI: 16), 9:00 p.m.
San Diego State (KenPom: 65, RPI: 47) at Fresno State, 11:00 p.m.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: LSU at South Carolina, 7:00 p.m.
LSU attempts to stay atop the SEC standings when they travel on the road to face South Carolina. The Gamecocks have been very tough at home this season and they’re trying to form a potential four-way tie in the conference standings if they’re able to win this one (and Texas A&M wins tonight). It will be intriguing to see how Ben Simmons fares against South Carolina’s stingy defense.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: Saint Joseph’s at George Washington, 7:00 p.m.
An important game in the Atlantic 10 as Saint Joseph’s heads to the Smith Center to play surging George Washington. The Colonels have won three straight games as they try to stay with VCU and Dayton and make a move to tie the Hawks in the league standings. CBT’s Rob Dauster will be in the building for this one, so make sure to follow him on Twitter for updates.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- No. 21 Baylor will have a tough one in the Big 12 when they go on the road at Kansas State. The Wildcats just knocked off Oklahoma and the Octagon of Doom is a very tough place to play, even if Kansas State is struggling in the standings.
- No. 16 SMU will try to stay in the lead in the American as they host Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane could really use a road win like this for its postseason chances.
- An intriguing Pac-12 contest tips as Washington heads to Utah. The Pac-12 standings are a mess right now, but these two teams still have a chance to make one final move for the regular season title if they start building momentum now.
- In the SEC, Alabama hosts No. 15 Texas A&M, a team that has lost three of its last four games. The Aggies will be favored in this road contest, but this one could be interesting because of Avery Johnson’s unique connection to Texas A&M. Avery Johnson Jr., a transfer guard sitting out this season at Alabama, played for the Aggies last season, so he could have some useful tips for his dad on slowing down Texas A&M’s potent offense.
- No. 20 Providence will be looking for revenge when they head to Milwaukee to face Marquette. The Golden Eagles currently sit eighth in the Big East standings, but they did win on the road by a point over the Friars earlier this season.