Preview: Louisville Cardinals vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

The Cardinals head back on the road for for the first stop of a two-game road trip
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(Photo of Jordan Nwora, Andrien White: Jamie Rhodes/USA TODAY Sports)

No. 16 Louisville Cardinals (8-1, 3-0 ACC) at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-3, 0-3 ACC)

- Tipoff: Wednesday, January 13th at 8:30 p.m. EST
- Location: LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C.
- How To Watch: ACC Network
- How To Listen: WKRD 790/WHAS 840
- Betting Favorite: To Be Determed
- All-Time Series: Louisville leads 7-2
- Last Meeting: Louisville won 86-76 on Feb. 5, 2020 (KFC Yum! Center - Louisville, Ky.)

Projected Starting Lineups

Louisville

  • F Samuell Williamson (6-7, 210, So.)
  • F Dre Davis (6-5, 220, Fr.)
  • C Jae'Lyn Withers (6-8, 215, R-Fr.)
  • G Carlik Jones (6-2, 185, Gr.)
  • G David Johnson (6-5, 210, So.)

Wake Forest

  • F Isaiah Mucius (6-8, 200, Jr.)
  • F Ody Oguama (6-9, 205, Fr.)
  • G Daivian Williamson (6-2, 170, Jr.)
  • G Jonah Antonio (6-5, 195, Gr.)
  • G Carter Whitt (6-4, 180, Fr.)

Main Storylines

Here are the more significant storylines to follow ahead of Louisville's matchup with Wake Forest: Points of Emphasis: Louisville vs. Virginia Tech

Comparison

See how the Cardinals stack up against the Demon Deacons, and who the statistical models favor: Tale of The Tape & Prediction: Louisville vs. Wake Forest

Game Notes

Louisville

  • Louisville won its fourth straight on Jan. 6 to open the season at 3-0 in the ACC for the first time in its seven years in the league as the Cardinals beat then No. 19/20 Virginia Tech 73-71, UofL’s first home ACC game of the season. It was Louisville’s 17th straight victory over the Hokies.
  • Louisville outrebounded Virginia Tech 37-30, its sixth rebounding battle won this year, including all three ACC games. Louisville produced double-digit rebounding margins in its first two ACC games vs. Pitt and Boston College. UofL’s +13.0 rebounding advantage in conference games leads the ACC and its +7.2 margin on the season is 43rd nationally and fourth in the ACC.
  • The Cardinals trailed Virginia Tech 11-0 less than three minutes into its game, the largest deficit UofL has overcome to win this season. Louisville overcame deficits of at least nine points and won on four occasions last season and have now done it 36 times in the last nine seasons
  • Wednesday will be Louisville’s third ACC road contest in four conference games this season due to two home postponements; and the first of three games in six days for the Cardinals. Wake Forest (3-3, 0-3 ACC) has dropped its first three ACC games, including falling 79-68 at Duke on Jan. 9 in their last outing.
  • Louisville is off to its best conference start in its seven years in the ACC and its first 3-0 conference start since 2012-13. The Cardinals have not won their first four conference games since the 2008-09 season (8-0 Big East start).
  • Louisville has started with at least an 8-1 record through nine games for the 10th time in the last 13 years. UofL has won at least nine of its first 10 games on nine occasions over the past 12 years entering Wednesday’s game.
  • Louisville’s 30 ACC road wins in its seventh year in the league is the fourth-most in the ACC in that period.
  • Jae’Lyn Withers’ 16 points and 12 rebounds against Virginia Tech marked his first career double-double. He is the first UofL freshman to have at least 12 rebounds and at least 15 points against a conference opponent in 35 years -- since Pervis Ellison had 21 points and 13 rebounds vs. Memphis in 1986.
  • Carlik Jones and David Johnson are the only two players in the ACC to rank among the top 20 in scoring, rebounding, and assists -- Jones (16.5 ppg/7th in the ACC, 6.1 rpg/19th, 4.9 apg/2nd), Johnson (14.7 ppg/14th in the ACC, 6.1 rpg/20th, 3.7 apg/10th). Jones has 91 career double-figure scoring efforts, including the last 31 consecutive games (all nine this year).
  • David Johnson has scored 17 or more points in six of the last seven games. He has made 9-of14 threes in his last three games and has more than tripled his three-point production from a year ago, burying 16-of-35 threes this season (.457; 5-of-23 threes in 2019-20). In ACC games, Johnson is fifth in the ACC in scoring (18.0 ppg) and sixth in rebounding (8.0 rpg).
  • Quinn Slazinski has averaged nine points and five rebounds off the bench in the last two games, reaching double figures for the fourth time this season with 10 points and four rebounds against Virginia Tech in the Cardinals’ last game.
  • Louisville is No. 7 in the RPI, No. 18 in the Sagarin Ratings, No. 26 by KenPom, No. 27 in the NCAA NET and No. 42 in ESPN’s College BPI through Jan. 10.
  • Louisville has been successful with only one upperclassman among its currently 10 active scholarship players. Graduate transfer Carlik Jones joins nine Cardinals who are freshmen or sophomores in that group. Graduate transfer Charles Minlend, who started 82 games and scored 1,271 points in three seasons at San Francisco, is nearing a return and will double the number of Cardinal upperclassmen when he is active.
  • Carlik Jones’ 36.6 minutes per game is 21st in the nation. He is 12th in the nation in career assists among active players with 508 (39 at Louisville, 469 at Radford) and is 16th nationally among active career scorers with 1,684 points (132 at UofL, 1,552 at Radford).
  • Louisville’s defense continues to improve, currently second the ACC in field goal percentage defense (.391, 29th in the nation) and ranking 31st nationally in scoring defense (62.8 ppg). The Cardinals held Boston College to a season-low 33.3 percent shooting from the field, marking the fifth time this season UofL has limited its opponent to below 40 percent accuracy from the field (four under 35 percent). The Eagles did not make a field goal over the final 7:04 of the first half.
  • The Cardinals limited Kentucky to a season-low in scoring (59 points) and field goal percentage (.345). Louisville limited Pitt to a season-low 54 points, marking the 11th time the Cardinals have held an ACC opponent under 60 points in Coach Chris Mack’s third season (UofL is 10-1 in those games).

Wake Forest

  • The Deacs’ win over Catawba was career win No. 299 for head coach Steve Forbes. He will have a chance to get his 300th career win and first ACC conference win at home against Louisville on Wednesday. The last time the Deacs played the Cardinals at home, the Cardinals took the win 82-54 on Jan. 30, 2019.
  • Wake continues to be one of the toughest teams defensively, ranking 15th in the country in steals per game (9.5) and 15th in defensive turnover percentage (24.2).
  • Wake Forest boasts the No. 2 rebounding defense in the ACC heading into Wednesday, at 30.7 • Wake also holds the fourth spot in the ACC in steals per game (9.5).
  • Wake Forest had its best day at the free throw line this season, going 18-of-21 (.857 pct.) from the charity stripe 
    • First half: 9-of-10
    • Second half: 9-of-11
  • Wake Forest remains inside the top 20 in multiple statistical categories, according to KenPom -
    • 3rd in Def. Steal % (14.6)
    • 15th in 2pt FG % (58.3)
    • 16th in Turnover % (24.2)
    • 19th in Effective Off. FG % (56.1)
  • The Deacs welcomed mid-year freshman Carter Whitt to the team in December. Whitt graduated high school on Dec. 18 and played his first college basktball game Dec. 31.
    • Whitt tallied 11 points, four assists in 25 minutes in his Demon Deacons debut.
    • He nearly became the first Wake Forest player since Ish Smith to record 10-plus points and 5-plus assists in a freshman debut vs James Madison on November 11, 2006.
    • Recorded a team high-tying five rebounds, four points and two assists in his league-play debut. at Georgia Tech.
    • Recorded his first career start at Virginia, playing 21 minutes 
    • Whitt was the top-ranked point guard in the state of North Carolina according to 247Sports.
    • Whitt is the highest rated recruit in the Steve Forbes Era.
  • Sophomore forward Ismael Massoud recorded career highs in points (17) and rebounds (8) against Duke, averaging 15 ppg over the past two games. He also tallied a career-high in made 3-pointers at Virginia, recording four from beyond the arc and scoring 14 points on the night.
  • Sophomore forward Isaiah Mucius leads the team in points scored this season, with 68 across six games and recorded a career-high 21 against Georgia Tech.
    • His previous career-high was 19 points against Pittsburgh in the opening round of the 2020 ACC Tournament (March 10. 2020).
    • Wednesday marked the 21st time in his career he has scored double-digit points and the third game in a row on the season.
  • Ismael Massoud matched his previous career-high with 14 points off the bench against Virginia (Jan. 19, 2020 vs. Boston College). After making a trio of 3-pointers in the first half, he would record his fourth make from distance, a new career-best.
    • Recorded career highs in points (17) and rebounds (8) against Duke, averaging 15 ppg over the past two games.
  • Sophomore Ody Oguama returned to the court against Catawba after missing the first two games of the season and has earned himself a spot in the starting lineup. 
    • Recorded seven points and five rebounds in 19 minutes against Catawba
    • Posted his third double-digit scoring game of his collegiate career against Georgia Tech. 
    • His 12 points are the second most in his career, four shy of his career- high 16 against Boston College (Jan. 19, 2020).
    • Averaging 9.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in 21.6 minutes per game.
  • Sophomore guard Jahcobi Neath leads the team at the FT line, going 12-12 through five games.
    • One of only eight players in the country with a perfect free throw percentage (with a minimum of eight attempts) 
    • As a team, Wake Forest is fourth in the ACC in free throw percentage (75.4)

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