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Preview: Louisville Cardinals vs. NC State Wolfpack

The Cardinals head to Raleigh for their ACC opener against the Wolfpack

Louisville Cardinals (5-2, 0-0 ACC) at NC State Wolfpack (6-1, 0-0 ACC)

- Tipoff: Saturday, December 4th at 2:00 p.m. EST
- Location: PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.
- How To Watch: ESPN2
- How To Listen: WHAS 840
- Betting Favorite: Louisville -3.5
- All-Time Series: Louisville leads series 13-10
- Last Meeting: Louisville won 77-57 on Feb. 1, 2020 (PNC Arena - Raleigh, N.C.)

Projected Starting Lineups

Louisville

  • F Dre Davis (6-5, 210, So.)
  • F Jae’Lyn Withers (6-8, 225, R-So.)
  • C Malik Williams (6-11, 245, Sr.)
  • G Noah Locke (6-3, 210, Sr.)
  • G Jarrod West (5-11, 185, Gr.).

NC State

  • F 4 Jericole Hellems (6-7, 200, Sr.)
  • F 21 Ebenezer Dowuona (6-11, 225, So.)
  • G 1 Dereon Seabron (6-7, 180, R-So.)
  • G 3 Cam Hayes (6-3, 180, So.)
  • G 14 Casey Morsell (6-3, 200, Jr.)

Main Storylines

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

Comparison

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

Read More

Louisville

  • Louisville will play its first ACC game of the season as the Cardinals face the North Carolina State Wolfpack in Raleigh, N.C. on Saturday.
  • Louisville fell 64-73 at No. 22/22 Michigan State in the Big Ten/ACC Challlenge on Wednesday as the Spartans made 10-of18 three-pointers. El Ellis led the Cardinals with a career-high 22 points off the bench, 18 of which came in the second half as the Cards fought back from a 20-point deficit to close within eight in the final two minutes. The Cardinals matched a season-high with 19 forced turnovers and collected nine steals against Michigan State, the fifth time in seven games with at least nine thefts.
  • Louisville has won its conference opening game in 11 of the last 13 seasons and eight of the last nine entering Saturday’s ACC opener at NC State. Louisville has won its first conference road game in 11 of the last 14 seasons.
  • Louisville’s 32 ACC road wins in its eighth year in the league is the fourth-most in the ACC in that period.
  • Dre Davis, an all-tournament selection in the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship, scored 15 points against Michigan State, marking his third game in double figures in the last four contests. He has averaged 12.8 points and 6.0 rebounds over the last four games, the Cardinals’ top scorer in that stretch. He had scored 11 points in Louisville’s first three games.
  • El Ellis scored a career-high 22 points off the bench, the highest scoring effort for a UofL player this season. He had scored just 27 points through his first six games with the Cardinals. Ellis scored 18 of Louisville’s final 19 points over the last 7:17 of the game. He became the sixth different player in seven games to lead UofL in scoring.
  • Malik Williams, a preseason All-ACC second team selection and the MVP of the 2021 Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship, has grabbed at least eight rebounds in six of the first seven games (10 points, 8 rebounds, two steals at Michigan State). He ranks second in the ACC in rebounding (9.6 rpg) and 13th in the nation in defensive rebounding (7.6 per game).
  • Jarrod West is third in the nation in career steals among active players with 267, including 13 in his first seven games at Louisville.
  • Louisville is No. 18 nationally in adjusted defense in KenPom analytics (third in the ACC).
  • Six different players have led the Cardinals in scoring in Louisville’s seven games.
  • Louisville has produced nine or more steals in five of its seven games. The Cardinals are fifth in the ACC in steals (8.6 per game)
  • Louisville has held six of its first seven opponents under 43 percent from the field this season and four under 40 percent. The Cardinals are second in the ACC and 47th nationally in field goal percentage defense (.385)
  • Noah Locke is eighth in the ACC in three-pointers made per game (2.1). Locke has made at least three threes in four games
  • Jarrod West is fifth in the ACC in assists-turnovers ratio (2.40) and 13th in assists (3.4). West needs two assists for 450 in his career (424 at Marshall, 24 at Louisville).
  • Samuell Williamson has scored in double figures off the bench in three games this season. He is fifth in scoring (7.4) and second in rebounding (5.6 rpg) for the Cardinals this year
  • Jarrod West scored nine points and dished out a season-high six assists against Maryland, with five of his points coming in the last five minutes of the game. In nine early games, including a pair of exhibitions, West has totaled 32 assists and 18 steals with just 10 turnovers
  • Malik Williams grabbed his 500th career rebound against Mississippi State. He has grabbed at least eight rebounds in six of the first seven games, including eight in his last game at Michigan State and matching his career high in rebounding with 13 against Southern on Nov. 9
  • Louisville’s 35.0 percent (21-of-60) field goal accuracy against Maryland marked their lowest shooting percentage in a victory since defeating Old Dominion while shooting 29.7 percent on Nov. 23, 2016
  • Jae’Lyn Withers grabbed a season-best 11 rebounds against Maryland, his fifth career game with double-digit rebounds ... Freshman forward/center Roosevelt Wheeler delighted Louisville fans in his debut against Navy with three points and three rebounds in nine minutes for his first court time this year. He contributed four points and three rebounds in 12 minutes against Mississippi State

NC State

  • NC State outlasted Nebraska in a four overtime marathon, 104-100, Wednesday night. The game ties for the longest in program history and ties for the longest in ACC history. It was the third four overtime game in program history and the fifth in ACC history. It’s NC State’s first 4OT game since March 14, 1989 when NC State beat Wake Forest, 110-103.
  • Redshirt sophomore guard Dereon Seabron was terrific in leading the Pack to a win. The Norfolk, Va., native posted career-highs in points (39) and rebounds (19) to lead NC State to the win. Both totals are the highest for any player in the Kevin Keatts era and the best performances in points and rebounds for any ACC player this season. Seabron scored 33 of his 39 points in the second half and overtimes.
  • The 39 points are the most-ever by a player in the 23-year history of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. It’s the most points scored by an NC State player since TJ Warren had 42 against Boston College on March 9, 2014.
  • Seabron was 17-of-20 from the foul line in the win. The 17 free throws tie for the third-most in a single game in program history.
  • Sophomore forward Ebenezer Dowuona reset his career-high just three days after posting it with eight blocks against Nebraska. The eight blocks are tied for the third-most in program history. He now has 14 blocks in the last two games and ranks third in the ACC in blocks at 2.71 per game.
  • Saturday will mark senior forward Jericole Hellems 100th career game in an NC State uniform. With redshirt junior forward Manny Bates out for the season with a right shoulder dislocation, Hellems has by far the most experience in an NC State uniform on the current Pack team. Redshirt sophomore guard Dereon Seabron has the second-most appearances in an NC State uniform with 31. Hellems has played in 99 career games for NC State, the rest of NC State’s roster that is available to play Saturday combines for 172 games played.
  • The two teams enter Saturday with nearly identical offensive numbers through seven games. Unfortunately, that’s not great news for either. NC State ranks 14th in the ACC in field goal percentage at 42.5 percent while Louisville is 15th at 42.3 percent. NC State is 12th in the ACC in three-point field goal percentage at 29.6 percent and Louisville is again one spot behind the Pack in 13th at 29.2 percent.
  • NC State has made a living at the free throw line this season. The Pack is averaging 27.1 free throw attempts per game which ranks as the most in the ACC. For the season, NC State has made 17 more free throws (139) than its opponents have attempted (122). In seven games this season, Louisville's 123 free throw attempts ranks as the third-fewest in the ACC.
  • NC State is averaging 16.7 points a game off opponent turnovers and has outscored its opponents by 45 points this season in points off turnovers. The Pack has won 13 straight games when it outscores its opponents in points off turnovers. Louisville is 14th in the ACC in turnovers per game at 15.0 per contest. In the Kevin Keatts era, NC State is 49-15 (76.6%) when it forces an opponent into 15 or more turnovers.
  • Block Party: After losing two-time defending ACC block shot champion Manny Bates in the opening minute of the season, it would be understandable to expect NC State to take a step back in shot blocking. And thru the first three games of the season this held true. The Pack only blocked seven shots total in the first three games of the season. But NC State has begun swatting shots with regularity over the last three games, blocking 26 in the last three games and now leads the ACC in blocks with an average of 5.43 per game. Sophomore forward Ebenezer Dowuona has had back-to-back monster games. He set a then career-high with six against Louisiana Tech and then came back Wednesday to block eight in the 4OT win over Nebraska.
  • Find bench scoring: Under Kevin Keatts, NC State has routinely outscored its opponent’s bench. Entering this season, NC State had outscored the opponent’s bench by 850 points in the Keatts era. Terquavion Smith is averaging 9.7 points per game off the bench, but the rest of the bench combines to average just 7.7 points per game. Entering Saturday, NC State has been outscored by 69 points in bench points this season. Louisville enters the game averaging 28 bench points per contest.

(Photo of Steven Enoch, D.J. Funderburk: Jamie Rhodes - USA TODAY Sports)

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