Preview: Louisville Cardinals vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

The Cardinals kick off the month of December by hosting the in-state Hilltoppers.
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(Photo of Charles Bassey, Steven Enoch: Steve Roberts/USA TODAY Sports)

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (2-1, 0-0 C-USA) at Louisville Cardinals (3-0, 0-0 ACC)

- Tipoff: Tuesday, December 1st at 6:00 p.m. EST
- Location: KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.
- How To Watch: ESPN2
- How To Listen: WKRD 790/WHAS 840
- Betting Favorite: Louisville -4.0
- All-Time Series: Louisville leads 41-39
- Last Meeting: Louisville won 71-54 on Nov. 29, 2019 (Bridgestone Arena - Nashville, Tenn.)

Projected Starting Lineups

Louisville

  • F Quinn Slazinski (6-8, 215, 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.)

Western Kentucky

  • F Carson Williams (6-5, 240, R-Sr.)
  • F Charles Bassey (6-11, 235, Jr.)
  • G Josh Anderson (6-6, 190, Sr.)
  • G Taveion Hollingsworth (6-2, 164, Sr.)
  • G Kenny Cooper (6-0, 190, R-Sr.)

Main Storylines

Here are the more significant storylines to follow ahead of Louisville's matchup with Prairie View A&M: Points of Emphasis: Louisville vs. Western Kentucky

Comparison

See how the Cardinals stack up against the Panthers, and who the statistical models favor: Tale of The Tape & Prediction: Louisville vs. Western Kentucky

Game Notes

Louisville

  • Louisville won its third straight in defeating Prairie View A&M 86-64 on Sunday as the Cardinals shot 60.9 percent from the field (all 16 layups).
  • Redshirt freshman Jae’Lyn Withers totaled career-highs of 20 points and nine rebounds, while David Johnson matched his career scoring high of 19 points with six assists and two blocked shots.
  • Carlik Jones has led the Cardinals in scoring, rebounding and assists in two of the first three games. He produced a double-double against Seton Hall with 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Last season at Radford, Jones was the only player in the nation to average at least 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game, and was one of just 16 players in Division I men’s basketball to do so since the 1996-97 season.
  • Quinn Slazinski’s (9.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg) 27 points and 17 rebounds in three games are nearly twice what he totaled in 15 games as a freshman last year (15 points, 10 rebounds in 2019-20).
  • Louisville has held its first three opponents below 40 percent shooting from the field (Evansville .298, Seton Hall .333, Prairie View .393). Last season, the Cardinals were 13th in the nation in field goals percentage defense (.389).
  • With its 86-64 victory over Prairie View A&M, UofL won its 156th consecutive game when scoring at least 85 points in regulation (since 1997).
  • Samuell Williamson suffered a toe injury in the second half against Seton Hall and missed the Cards’ Nov. 29 game vs. Prairie View. He had produced career-best totals of 17 points and five assists, while matching his career high with six rebounds vs. Evansville in his previous game. Williamson is the fourth key Cardinal player that is out with an injury, joining Malik Williams (foot), Charles Minlend (knee) and Josh Nickelberry (knee). The Cardinals are down to eight scholarship players, seven of them freshmen or sophomores.
  • The Cardinals shot 75.9 percent (22-of-29) on two-point field goals against Prairie View, marking the fifth time a Louisville team has ever made 75 percent or more of its two-point field goal attempts in a game, and the third time under head coach Chris Mack.
  • Louisville is averaging 41 points in the paint in the first three games, 53 percent of its scoring.
  • After redshirting last season as a freshman, Jae’Lyn Withers is averaging 13.0 points and 6.7 rebounds as UofL’s starting center. He totaled career-highs of 20 points and nine rebounds against Prairie View, while David Johnson matched his career scoring total with 19 points and six assists.
  • Dre Davis (8.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg) blocked three shots vs. Evansville, the most by a Louisville freshman in his career debut since George Goode blocked five vs. Morehead State on Nov. 22, 2008.

Western Kentucky

  • WKU led 15th-ranked West Virginia by 10 in the second half Friday, but couldn’t hold off a game-changing Mountaineer run in a 70-64 loss in the championship game of the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic.
  • WKU went up 48-38 with 15:40 left on a fast-break dunk by junior center Charles Bassey and still led by 10 after a three-point play by Bassey a minute later, but West Virginia responded with a 26-7 run to go from down 10 to up nine in about 10 minutes.
  • Since the start of the 2017-18 season, WKU is 8-5 against Power Five teams. The Hilltoppers had seven total wins against Power Five teams from 2007-08 to 2016-17.
  • WKU is 58-62 all-time against the current ACC membership. The Hilltoppers’ last win over an ACC foe was against Boston College in the 2018 NIT. Rick Stansbury is 5-9 in his career against ACC opponents.
  • In the first three games of the season, WKU has made 52 of 63 free throws (82.5%), while its opponents have made just 30 of 41 from the stripe. The Hilltoppers have made 41 of 53 free throws in the second half of their three games.
  • Depth has been a strength for the Hilltoppers early this season. They have nine players averaging double-digit minutes and are averaging 20.7 bench points per game. Last season, WKU averaged 11.8 bench points per game. Its 42 bench points in the season-opening win over Northern Iowa were the program’s most since getting 47 points from the reserves against UAB on Feb. 27, 2016.
  • Charles Bassey’s seven blocks against Memphis on Thursday were the most by a Hilltopper since Teeng Akol blocked seven shots against VCU on Nov. 20, 2011. Bassey became the 19th Division I player since 2010 to have a game with at least 21 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks. As of Sunday, his 11 total blocks were the most of any player in the country.
  • The Hilltoppers have three former Kentucky Mr. Basketball winners on their roster for the second straight year – Carson Williams (2016), Taveion Holling- sworth (2017) and Dayvion McKnight (2020). Four of the last six winners have played for WKU, including 2015 honoree Camron Justice.
  • To start the 2020-21 season, Charles Bassey was the national leader in career rebounding average at 9.8 boards per game. He also ranks in the top 10 in career blocks average at 2.2 per game and in the top 15 in career field goal percentage (60.2 percent).
  • Taveion Hollingsworth has started 105 consecutive games – the most of any active player in the nation. Hollingsworth has started every game of his WKU career and has never missed a game for the Hilltoppers.
  • Hollingsworth played 3,614 total minutes, the most ever by a Hilltopper over his first three years. Hollingsworth is now ranked sixth on WKU’s all-time list for most minutes in a career with 3,712. He needs just 246 minutes played for the most in Hilltopper history.
  • Hollingsworth ranks 16th in WKU history with 1,551 career points. If he reached 2,000 points, he would join Jim McDaniels, Courtney Lee and Ralph Crosthwaite as the only Hilltoppers to accomplish the feat.

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