Utah Valley St.-Louisville Preview
Short-handed Louisville has just one more chance to prepare before the real meat of its schedule begins this weekend.
The 16th-ranked Cardinals will try to close out their Billy Minardi Classic with a victory over Utah Valley on Wednesday night.
Louisville (10-1) will try to end its string of six consecutive home games with a perfect mark following a 75-47 victory over Missouri-Kansas City in its Classic opener Tuesday. Trey Lewis had 17 points and led five players in double figures in the team's first game without post player Mangok Mathiang, who is out six to eight weeks because of a broken bone in his left foot.
Sophomore 7-footer Anas Mahmoud missed his third straight game because of an ankle injury and coach Rick Pitino said he could return during ACC play, which begins Jan. 3 against Wake Forest. Freshman forward Deng Adel returned after missing eight games due to a sprained knee and is expected to wear a brace for the next two weeks.
"A lot of people just have to step up, especially our bigs. Having Mangok out, he's one of our best bigs and we lose him vocally," said Adel, who started his first two collegiate games. "I think we can definitely fill those roles and learn to communicate. That's one of our biggest weaknesses. Once we figure that out, we should be fine. We should be able to continue to grow until Mangok comes back."
Even with their missing players, the Cardinals have won their past five games by an average of 33.6 points, but that's likely to change beginning this weekend. Louisville will travel to No. 12 Kentucky on Saturday in its final nonconference game.
Utah Valley (5-7) had a three-game win streak snapped with a 102-77 drubbing to North Carolina-Wilmington on Tuesday in Louisville. The Wolverines shot 41.7 percent - 5 of 20 from 3-point range - and were outrebounded 50-32, including an 18-8 disadvantage on the offensive glass.
Leading scorer Konner Frey, averaging 15.3 points, was held to six versus the Seahawks after totaling 53 in his previous three games. Senior guard Jaden Jackson had 17 points and is averaging 17.5 on 55.1 percent shooting in his last four contests.
Utah Valley has lost its five games against Top 25 teams by an average of 27.0 points since joining Division I in 2003-04. The Wolverines fell 87-56 at No. 3 Arizona in their only such matchup last season on Dec. 9, 2014, and are facing Louisville for the first time.
The Cardinals are 17-1 all-time in the Classic.