Preview: Louisville Cardinals vs. Virginia Cavaliers

The Cardinals host the Cavaliers in the regular season finale.
Publish date:

(Photo of Mamadi Diakite, Malik Williams: Jamie Rhodes - USA TODAY Sports)

No. 21 Virginia Cavaliers (12-5, 7-4 ACC) at Louisville Cardinals (13-5, 8-4 ACC)

- Tipoff: Saturday, March 6th at 4:00 p.m. EST
- Location: KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.
- How To Watch: ESPN2
- How To Listen: WKRD 790/WHAS 840
- Betting Favorite: To Be Determined
- All-Time Series: Virginia leads 16-5
- Last Meeting: Virginia won 57-54 on Mar. 7, 2020 (John Paul Jones Arena - Charlottesville, Va.)

Projected Starting Lineups


  • 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.)


  • F Sam Hauser (6-8, 218, Sr.)
  • F Jay Huff (7-1, 240, R-Sr.)
  • G Kihei Clark (5-9, 160, So.)
  • G Reece Beekman (6-3, 174, Fr.)
  • G Trey Murphy III (6-9, 206, Jr.)

Main Storylines

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


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

Game Notes


  • Louisville’s game at Virginia Tech on Wednesday was cancelled due to COVID issues with the Hokies. In its last game, Louisville won 80-73 in overtime at Duke last Saturday as the Cardinals became just the second team in the last 12 years to sweep the Blue Devils in the regular season. No. 21/20 Virginia (16-6, 12-4 ACC) beat Miami 62-51 in its last game on March 1.
  • Jae’Lyn Withers was named ACC co-Freshman of the Week for games Feb. 22-28 after averaging 14 points, 11 rebounds and shooting 52.4 percent from the field in two wins. He produced his third double-double of the season with 12 points and a career-high 13 rebounds against Notre Dame last Wednesday. He totaled 16 points and nine rebounds at Duke, his ninth game this season with nine or more rebounds.
  • Carlik Jones, named to The Sporting News Mid-Season All-America team and the Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 Watch List, had his 100th career double-figure scoring effort at Duke, including the last 40 consecutive games (all 17 at UofL). He is the first person in UofL history to reach double figures in his first 17 games at UofL.
  • Carlik Jones is one of just two players in the ACC to rank among the top 10 in each of scoring (17.6 ppg, 4th in the ACC), assists (4.5 apg, 4th), steals (1.5, 6th), assists/turnovers ratio (2.00, 6th) and free throw percentage (.826, 4th).
  • Louisville is among the top defensive teams in the ACC, ranking fourth in the ACC in field goal percentage defense (.416) and scoring defense (66.2 ppg), and first in three-point field goal defense (.307). UofL has held nine opponents below 40 percent accuracy from the field.
  • Samuell Williamson has averaged 12.4 points and 11.6 rebounds over the last five games, grabbing double-digit boards in four of the last five. He is second for the Cardinals in rebounding (7.9 rpg) and ranks seventh in the ACC.
  • Louisville has a 61-17 record in its conference home games over the last nine years (.773). UofL has the fourth-most conference home wins in its seven years in the ACC (45-14).
  • Through its 18 games this season, Louisville has produced 16 runs of 8-0 or better, including runs of 8-0, 8-0 and 10-0 against Georgia Tech four games ago. A 16-0 run at Wake Forest was its best of the season. UofL has forced its opponents into 37 scoring droughts of three minutes or more, including a first-half stretch of 3:18 at Duke in its last game. UofL held Evansville scoreless for a season-best 8:36 stretch on Nov. 25.
  • Louisville has won the rebounding battle in 12 games this year, including nine ACC games (41-33 advantage at Duke in its last game). Louisville is 11-1 in games when out-rebounding its opponent. UofL’s +6.4 rebounding advantage in conference games is second in the ACC, and its +5.7 margin on the season is also second best. Louisville produced double-digit rebounding margins in four ACC games. The Cardinals tied a much taller Florida State team 35-35, and Miami and North Carolina are the only ACC teams to beat UofL on the boards. Louisville has faced three of the nation’s five tallest teams in the KenPom analytics this season, winning two of those three matchups (beat 3 Seton Hall and 5 Kentucky, lost to 2 Florida State).
  • Louisville is among the top defensive teams in the ACC, ranking third the ACC in field goal percentage defense (.416), fourth in scoring defense (66.2 ppg) and first in three-point field goal defense (.305). UofL held Duke, Georgia Tech and Pitt to their season-low scoring total, limited Notre Dame to its second-lowest, and Clemson to its third-lowest. The Cards held Boston College (.333), Wake Forest (.368) and Georgia Tech (.324) to a season-low field goal percentage. UofL has limited its opponent to below 40 percent accuracy from the field on nine occasions this season (five under 35 percent). The Cardinals limited Kentucky to a season-low in scoring (59 points) and field goal percentage (.345). The Cardinals have held 14 ACC opponents under 60 points in Coach Chris Mack’s third season at Louisville (UofL is 12-2 in those games).


  • Virginia has earned a top-2 seed at the 2021 ACC Tournament and can clinch the No. 1 seed with a win over Louisville and Florida State loss at Notre Dame.
  • Virginia is 6-2 all-time at the KFC Yum! Center, including a pair of wins at the 2019 NCAA South Regional. UVA defeated Oregon (53-49) in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen and Purdue (80-75 OT) in the NCAA Elite Eight to advance to its first NCAA Final Four since 1984. Louisville ended the Cavaliers’ six-game winning streak at KFC Yum! Center last season with its 80-73 win.
  • Kihei Clark, who has handed out six or more assists in seven contests, has averaged 9.8 points and team-high 4.6 assists.
  • Sam Hauser leads the team in scoring (15.3 ppg) and 3-pointers (57), and is second in rebounding (6.7 rpg). Hauser is shooting 51 percent from the field, 44.5 percent from 3-point range and 86.1 percent from the foul line.
  • Jay Huff leads the team in blocked shots (2.5 bpg) and rebounding (7.0 rpg), and is second in scoring (13.3 ppg).
  • Trey Murphy III (10.8 ppg) leads UVA in free throw shooting (91.4%) and 3-point shooting (45.8%), and is second with 44 3-pointers.
  • Reece Beekman has a team-high 27 steals.
  • Tomas Woldetensae (43.8 3FG%) provides bench scoring, while Casey Morsell (4.7 ppg) is UVA’s top perimeter defender.
  • Justin McKoy (3.6 ppg and 2.9 rpg) and Kadin Shedrick (2.5 ppg & 2.2 rpg) have added depth.
  • Virginia has scored 70 or more points in 10 games (9-1) and is averaging 68.5 points per game. UVA is shooting 48 percent from the field, best since 49.1 percent in 2015-16.
  • UVA’s 89 points against Towson were its most since scoring 100 against Marshall during the 2018-19 season.
  • UVA ranks third nationally in free throw percentage (80.2%), seventh nationally in 3-point field goal percentage (39.2%) and 30th in field goal percentage (48%). UVA’s 80.2 percent free throw shooting is its best in school history, while its 39.2 percent 3-point shooting ranks third.

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