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Louisville at Indiana: Game Day Essentials | Tale of the Tape | Keys to Victory

It’s a border war on Saturday afternoon in Bloomington.  With it being only the 20th ever meeting between Louisville and Indiana, it would be difficult to call this a rivalry game.  But maybe it should be?

The schools are only a two-hour drive apart, compete for the same talent, and have geographically overlapping fan bases.  One thing that most Indiana and Louisville fans would agree on is that this is a game that should be on the schedule every year.  Instead, it is Louisville’s first trip to Bloomington since 2002.

This is the final game of a scheduled three game series between the two storied programs.  Perhaps with each team having relatively new coaching staffs on board, Hoosiers vs. Cardinals will become a fixture on the schedule down the road.

No matter what happens down the road — with a much anticipated game, against a high quality opponent, with local bragging rights on the line — this should be a game where the environment inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall is at its best.

GAME DAY ESSENTIALS

Louisville (6-2) at Indiana (7-2)

  • Tip time:  2:30 p.m. Eastern
  • Location: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana
  • Television:  FOX
  • Series:  Indiana leads 10-9
  • Point Spread:  Indiana is a 6.5 point favorite.
  • Tickets (Seat Geek affiliate link)

Chris Mack is in his first season leading Louisville after nine years at Xavier.  Mack was an assistant at Xavier under Archie Miller’s brother Sean prior to assuming the head coaching duties there.  Mack was frequently mentioned as a potential replacement for Tom Crean at Indiana in 2017.

Common Opponent:  Both teams have played Marquette.  Louisville lost to the Golden Eagles 77-74 on a neutral floor, while Indiana defeated Marquette 96-73 in Bloomington.

Projected Starters

Indiana (KenPom No. 23)

  • Juwan Morgan, forward, 6-foot-8, 232 pounds, senior
  • Justin Smith, forward, 6-foot-7, 227 pounds, sophomore
  • Al Durham, guard, 6-foot-4, 181 pounds, sophomore
  • Romeo Langford, guard, 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, freshman
  • Rob Phinisee, guard, 6-foot-1, 182 pounds, freshman

Key reserves:  Zach McRoberts (G), Devonte Green (G), De’Ron Davis (C), Evan Fitzner (F), Clifton Moore (F)

Louisville (KenPom No. 42)

  • Dwayne Sutton, forward, 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, junior
  • Jordan Nwora, forward, 6-foot-8, 215 pounds, sophomore
  • Steven Enoch, center, 6-foot-10, 250 pounds, junior
  • Christen Cunningham, guard, 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, senior
  • Darius Perry, guard, 6-foot-2, 170 pounds, sophomore

Key reserves:  VJ King (F), Akoy Agau (F), Williams (C), Khwan Fore (G), Ryan McMahon (G)

TALE OF THE TAPE

KEYS TO VICTORY

Early Home Cookin’.  The energy inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall can deliver an early knockout blow.  Just ask common opponent Marquette, who was down big before they knew what hit them.  If Louisville gets comfortable and hangs around, they could be difficult to put away.  Indiana needs to get off to a fast start.

De’Ron Needs to Stay a While.  Louisville center and UConn transfer Steven Enoch is a large man.  But so is De’Ron Davis.  Enoch has been averaging close to 20 minutes a game.  The matchup with Davis is a natural, but the question remains whether the Hoosier big man can stay on the floor.  He is still working his way back to full strength, and he committed four fouls in five minutes against Penn State.  Enoch is probably the better athlete here, which could put Davis at risk for more foul trouble.

Jordan Nwora is going to be a challenge.  Indiana did a nice job covering the versatile Lamar Stevens of Penn State on Tuesday with Justin Smith leading the way.  The challenge with Nwora, while similar, could be more difficult.  Nwora has a more complete game, and is more of a threat from the perimeter, which could be a challenge for Smith.  Averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds per game, Nwora will be all over the floor and is effective in transition.  He does commit 2.5 turnovers per game.  Look for Smith to get the first crack again, with Indiana trying to throw him off with a lot of help and flashing doubles.

Take care of the ball.  Needless to say, turnovers have been a problem lately for IU, with 16 more at Penn State on Tuesday.  The good news is that unlike Louisville teams of the past, the Cardinals haven’t been forcing a lot of turnovers.  But Mack is known for his tough-minded teams, and don’t think for a second that he hasn’t been emphasizing turning Indiana over this week.  If IU can keep the turnovers to 13 or fewer, they have a good chance to come out on top.

Who wants it more.  It sounds cliche’, but these teams are pretty evenly matched in a lot of ways.  They have similar length and depth, and both teams need this win to enhance their March resume and take the next step as a program.  Who is going to get offensive rebounds, be first to the floor and play with a higher level of energy?  Ultimately that could be the deciding factor here.

GAME NOTES:

  • This is only Louisville’s 4th ever trip to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall and first since 2002.
  • IU Director of Athletic Performance Clif Marshall is a Louisville alum.

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