I know I asked Mike from Card Chronicle earlier today why the rivalry was dying, but to me the rivalry is alive. That's due to a large part that my whole family, except for me, was born in Louisville. We lived in Louisville until the late 80s. Some of my earliest sports memories are watching the Cardinals play at old Cardinal Stadium. I grew up watching 2 things. Cincinnati basketball and the 1986 championship game between Louisville and Duke. Pretty sure I was the only kid in Cincinnati in 1992 pretending to be both Billy Thompson and Herb Jones. Always hated Jeff Scott. Don't know why. I was reverse racist. I also grew up in an era when Louisville was in the Metro and Cincinnati the Great Midwest, so I was allowed to fly both flags. If they played when I was a kid, I don't know who I would have chosen. I do know that every time the teams play, I get a lot of text messages from family members.
Stats are conference numbers only from Stat Sheet
Record: 19-8, 9-5
Coach: Mick Cronin 106-85, 3-4 vs UofL
Vs Louisville: 41-53
In Cincinnati: 23-21
Last Meeting: 63-54 February 16, 2011
G: Sean Kilpatrick - The man known as Killa is playing 34 minutes a game with 14.5 points per. He's using 20.6% of the UC possessions with a 115.9 offensive rating, 10th in the Big East (BE). Kilpatrick ranks in the top 20 in made FGs and attempted FGs, 70-169. He's 33-70, 47% on 2s and 37-99, 37% on 3s. He's 4th in 3s made and attempted, 6th in percentage. Kilpatrick is 4th in the BE by getting 54.6% of his points from 3. He's only 4-15 from 3 the past 2 games. Kilpatrick is 26-37, 70% at the foul line. He does get there a ton, sporting a 21.8 rate. That's 21.8 attempts per 100 FG attempts. He's been a very solid rebounder pulling home 5.3 a game. He's getting 4.3% of all the offensive rebounds and 13.3% of all the defensive rebounds. Kilpatrick has 28 assists to 17 turnovers for a 1.6 assist/turnover ratio. He has 14 steals and has blocked 1 shot. He's one of the most important players in the BE to his team. His +/- is 12th and his Roland, which involves +/- with him on the bench I think, is 7th. He's been playing good game bad game lately. He followed up 14-8 with 7 and 22-8 with 7-4. If the Bearcats are going to win, he's going to have to make shots.
G: Dion Dixon - The senior from Chicago is playing 35 minutes a game with 13.5 points. He's using 21.8% of the Bearcat possessions with a 107.4 offensive rating. He's 44-105, 42% from 2 and 19-70, 27% from 3. By taking less 3s lately, Dixon has hit 4 of his last 9. I keep stressing it, but shot selection is important for Dixon. He's getting to the foul line at a 32 rate, which is ok because he's 16th in the BE by netting 79%. Dixon has been rebounding better lately. Back to back 6 rebound games have him at over 3.1 a game. He's getting 5.3% of the offensive rebounds and 4.2% of the defensive. He has 38 assists to 17 turnovers. His 2.2 A/T ratio ranks 5th in the BE. Dixon has 23 steals, 1.6 a game and gets them on 2.8% of possessions, which ranks him 13, 12 and 16 in the conference. He's good with the pressure. Dion has been very Kenyon Martin like lately. He's 34th in the conference in blocked shots with 8. He's blocked 5 of them the past 2 games. The all around game of my best friend has picked up as the season has picked up. Need it to continue with that FG percentage, 7-22 the last 2, getting better.
G: Cashmere Wright - Cash is playing 30 minutes a game with 10.4 points per. He's using 22.9% of the UC possessions with a 100.9 offensive rating. He's up to 38% from the field, which isn't that much off from his 39.5% last year. Wright is 29-79, 37% on 2s and 22-56, 39% on 3s. He's 19th in 3s made. He's been on fire lately hitting 17-32 from the field. That's 54%. He's only 4-12 from 3. He's gotten to the line 16 times the last 4 games, making 10. Cash hasn't gotten to the line a lot this year though, a 24.4 rate, and has seen his FT percentage drop to 67% from 73%. He continues to rebound very well pulling in 3.9 a game. He's getting 4.3% of the offensive rebounds and 9.8% of the d-rebs. Cash has 57 assists, 4.1 a game and assists on 26.5% of the UC FGs, which ranks 11, 10 and 10 in the BE. He has 32 turnovers and is turning the ball over on 20.6% of possessions, which has risen lately. His 1.8 A/T ratio is good for 14th in the league. Wright is one of the best at getting steals in the league. He's got 32, 2.3 a game and has a steal pct of 4.6. Those rank 29th nationally/3rd in league, 22/3 and 34/6. It seems Cash has had his minutes balanced a little odd lately. I wonder if we see him on the floor more with Siva or if he continues to rest a lot of the first half.
G: JaQuon Parker - The junior guard is playing 24 minutes a game with 8.1 points per. He's using 18.3% of the UC possessions with a 103.8 offensive rating. Parker is 28-69, 40.5% on 2s and 12-33, 36% on 3s. His jumper almost always looks good when he puts it up. Except when you tell he rushed his shot. Parker is 21-33 at the foul line, 64%. Park gets 4.6 rebounds per game. 5.3% of them are offensive, 16% of them are defensive. That's 25th in the league. Not too shabby. I'm sure a lot of us remember the Big East tournament game against Louisville where Parker pulled in 9 boards, 7 offensive in the upset win. One of the best games of his career. He has 13 assists to 12 turnovers. That's gotten out of control lately. Parker has 11 steals. He's played some good ball lately. 11.7 points, 6.7 rebounds the last 3 games. He just needs to keep balling out. He's got his confidence up.
C: Yancy Gates - Gates is playing 30 minutes a game with 11.7 points. He's using 20.2% of the Bearcat possessions with a 114.2 offensive rating, 14th in the BE. Gates is 62-123, 50.4%. That's the 9th best percentage in the conference. He has not attempted a 3. Gates is getting to the line at a solid but inconsistent clip where he's made a solid but inconsistent 60%. I think I mentioned this last game, but it's disappointing he's never gotten better as a foul shooter. Gates has gotten better as a rebounder. He's pulled hom 118, 9.1 a game. Those rank 10 and 4 in the BE. He's one of the best offensive rebounders around. He has 47, 3.6 a game and gets 12.4% of them, ranking 6th, 3rd and 9th. He's 15th in d-rebs with 71, but his per game of 5.5 is 8th and his getting 21.4% is 4th. He's pulled in fewer than 8 rebounds just 3 times since his return. In those 3 he had 7 twice and 6. In fact, 6 is his low for the season. He had under 6 11 times last year. Gates has 7 assists to 10 turnovers. The ball doesn't go anywhere when he gets it. He has 7 steals. Gates has blocked 11 shots. He's getting called for 2.7 fouls a game, which isn't that bad. He's gonna have to wear his battle gear tonight against the Card front line.
Bench: Justin Jackson - I wouldn't be surprised if Jackson started tonight. He's playing 21 minutes a game with 5.5 points per. He's using 17.5% of the UC possessions with a 101.9 offensive rating. Jackson is 32-65, 49% from the field. He's over 50% from 2 if you take away his 4 three point attempts. JJ is 15-24 the last 5 games. He's 13-22 at the foul line, which is 59%. He's 7 for his last 12, but 7 for his last 14. Let's look at the good numbers in that. The good numbers aren't there in rebounding. He's pulling down just 3.5 a game. He's getting 9.4% of the off-rebs but just 8.8% of the d-rebs. That's less than Cashmere Wright. Magic Jackson has 21 assists, 1.5 a game but 17 turnovers, 1.3 a game. For every great pass he will make, there is 1 horrible pass. He has 13 steals and 13 blocks to make up for that somewhat. He's been less mobile lately. He has 0 steals and 0 blocks the last 30 minutes. He hadn't had back to back games with 0 blocks or steals this season. He's 17th in the BE with 43 fouls. He's getting called for over 3 a game. Could be important tonight.
Ge'Lawn Guyn - Guyn is playing 10 minutes a game with 2.1 points per. He's using 13.9% of the Cat possessions with an 84.2 offensive rating. Guyn is 10-25 from the field, 2-13 from 3. He's 7-13 the last 4 games as his minutes have risen. 1-6 from 3. That will come. Maybe tonight. Gotta keep shooting. Guyn has 4 assists to 6 turnovers. He has 6 steals. He's played solid minutes lately, which have helped the team out a lot. I'm just waiting for the game he drops a couple of triples on someone and turns a game around. It's coming.
Cheikh Mbodj - The big man is playing 9 minutes a game with 1.6 points. He's just 9-24 from the field. That's 37.5%. That's not good from someone who takes mainly layups. 13 gets 2.7 boards a game, which is good. 15 of his 35 rebounds have been offensive. He's blocked 14 shots. That's great. He has 2 assists to 4 turnovers.
Jeremiah Davis - The freshman is playing 8 minutes a game, but hasn't gotten more than 5 the past 3. That's what happens when Dion Dixon doesn't go to the bench. Davis is 14-39, 6-17 from 3. He will come in and take shots. He took 3 against Marquette and 3 against Providence. You can count on him for a rebound. Maybe an assist.
Jermaine Sanders - Yes Sanders is playing 5 minutes a game and yes he is just 1-6. But I'm calling that he's going to make a shot tonight. Book it.
Record: 21-6, 9-5
Coach: Rick Pitino 266-102, 9-8 vs Cincinnati
G: Kyle Kuric - The senior from Evansville is playing 38 minutes a game with 14.25 points per. Kuric gets the 9th most minutes of anyone in the league. Kyle uses 15.9% of the Cardinal possessions with a 122.1 offensive rating, 6th in the BE. He is 17-39, 43.5% on 2s and 35-90, 39% from 3s. He's 5th in makes, 9th in attempts and 4th in percentage. Kuric gets 61.4% of his points from 3, which is the 2nd highest percentage in the league. He loves shooting from the corner so much that it's refered to as Kyle's Korner. He has a step in jumper game, but doesn't use it that much. Kuric gets to the line at an ok 28.6 rate. He should get there more because he's 32-37, 86.5%. That's 3rd in the BE. Kuric is 24th in the league with 5.4 boards a game. He's getting 1.2% of the offensive boards and 11.6% of the defensive. His 4.2 d-rebs a game ranks him 18th in the league. He has just 16 assists to 13 turnovers. Very careful with the ball. Kuric has 12 steals. He's blocked 5 shots. He won't really get in foul trouble. Kuric is a very solid player and a very deadly shooter. He dropped 25 on DePaul and 17 against West Virginia. He was also held to 3 points against Syracuse so you can take him out of the game.
G: Peyton Siva - Siva is playing 32 minutes a game with 8.1 points. He uses 19.3% of the Card possessions with a 94.3 offensive rating. I touched on this with Mike earlier, Siva takes a majority of his shots off the dribble. He's 37-73, 51% on 2s and just 4-17, 23% on 3s. He's made just 17 triples the past 2 years in Big East play after making 14 his freshman season. Siva is very quick and he uses that quickness to get to the line at a healthy 46.6 rate. He's a decent free throw shooter, 28-42, 67%. Siva gets 2.6 boards a game. All but 3 have been defensive, where he pulls in 7.9% of the d-rebs. Siva is 8th in the BE in total of assists with 73. His 5.2 a game are 7th. He assists on 32% of the Card FGs, which is 6th. Siva has been a turnover machine though. He has 45, which leaves him with an A/T ratio of 1.6. He is averaging 3.2 turnovers a game and turning the ball over on 31.2% of Card possessions. That's the 6th highest in the BE. Siva forces a high number of turnovers with his steals. He is 9th with 1.7 a game. He's 10th in steal pct, 3.2, and 11th in steals total, 24. Siva has had a problem with fouls. He's been hit with 44, the 14th most. He's getting called for over 3 a game. He's foueld out of a pair of games. That hurts the Cards because Siva is very important to them. He gets the offense going and can defend. I think half the battle is in his head.
G: Chris Smith - The brother of JR is playing 29 minutes a game with 11.5 points. He uses 18.4% of the UofL possessions with a 119.3 offensive rating, 7th in the BE. Smith is 22-51, 43% from 2 and 30-70, 43% from 3. That's the best percentage in the league. He gets 55.9% of his points from 3, the 3rd most in the conference. He has hit 12-27 from deep the last 4 games. That's 44%. Smith doesn't get to the line a ton, 39 attempts, but is a solid 69% shooter. He's an ok rebounder, 4.5 a game. Smith gets 10.8% of the d-rebs. He has 30 assists to 17 turnovers. His 1.8 A/T ratio is 14th in the BE. Smith doesn't have any kind of defensive numbers at all. 8 steals. That kind of makes his paragraph run short. He's a good player. He doesn't have the swag that JR does, but Smith could turn the game around.
F: Chane Behanan - The one time Cincinnati commit is playing 27 minutes with 10.3 points per. Chane uses 21.2% of the UofL possessions with a 103.6 offensive rating. Most of his shots are around the basket, which is good because he makes a lot. He's 54-90, 60%. He's 2-13 from 3 which brings the overall percentage to 54.4, which is 4th in the BE. Behanan gets to the line at the 8th highest rate in the league, but is 30-50, 60%. Didn't even need to bust out a calculator for that one. Behanan is a good rebounder. He's 12 in total boards and 11th in rebs per game, 110 and 7.9 respectively. A lot of that is because he gets a lot of offensive boards. He has 45, 3.2 a game and gets 13.8%. That's 7th, 7th and 3rd. He's ok on the defensive end, getting 18.2%. That's 17th. Behanan has 13 assists to 30 turnovers. He falls to the big man problem of dribbling inside and losing the ball. Freshman mistakes. He has 13 steals. Only 3 blocks. At 6-6 he's not a huge guy, but at 245 lbs, he uses his body very well. It's going to take effort to keep him off the glass.
C: Gorgui Dieng - The center is playing 33 minutes a game with 9.6 points. Gorgs uses 16.4% of the UofL possessions with a 106 offensive rating. Dieng has been very accurate from the field, 53-96, 55%. That's 3rd in the BE. He gets a lot in the paint, but can hit mid-range from the elbow. He gets to the line at a good rate and stepped up his foul shooting game from 55% to 72%. That helped add nearly 4 points to his per game average. Dieng is one of the best rebounders in the conference. He's 6th in total and per game with 121 and 8.6. He has 40 offensive boards, 2.9 a game, and gets 10.1%, which ranks 11, 10 and 15. He's got 81 d-rebs, 5.8 a game and gets 18.7%, ranking 7, 6 and 15 again. He can control the paint. Part because of the rebounding and part because of his shot blocking. He's one of the best shot blockers in the nation. Dieng has 49, 7th nationally, 1st in the BE, 3.5 a game, 9th, 2nd, and gets blocks on 10.8% of possessions, which is also 2nd in the BE and 25th nationally. Gorgs has 20 assists to 30 turnovers. He's turning the ball over 23.6% of the time, which is very high. He has 18 steals, which is good. What's bad is his propensity for fouls. He has the 2nd most in the league at 49. He's getting called for 3.5 a game. He's fouled out of 4, including the last game against DePaul. Dieng barely played in the game last year, and he's going to be a huge part of it this year going up against Yancy Gates.
Bench: Russ Smith - The sophomore guard is playing 23 minutes a game with 12 points per. Smith uses 32.7% of the Card possessions with a 92 offensive rating. If you were wondering, 32.7% is the 10th most int he country and tops in the Big East. He's 44-97, 45% on 2s and 15-59, 25% on 3s. That is a lot of shots. Smith doesn't get to the line a ton, 29 rate, but makes 76%. Smith will take any shot. He will make shots that make your jaw drop. He will take shots that make you laugh. He's the most exciting player in the Big East. Every day he's Russell'. He's a decent rebounder for a guard, 3.2 a game. He's getting 4.2% of the off-rebs and 11.2% of the d-rebs. Smith has 36 assists to 39 turnovers. That's the 12th most in the BE. Only turning is over on 22.1% of possessions, which isn't that bad. Smith is one of the best guards in the nation at getting steals. He's got 31, 2.2 a game and gets steals on 5.7% of possessions. Those rank 33rd/4th, 29th/4th and 3rd/1st in the nation/conference. That does lead to fouls. He's been called for 2.8 a game. He's all energy.
Jared Swopshire - Swop is playing 11 minutes a game with 2.5 points. He's using 13.5% of Cardinal possessions with a 96.7 offensive rating. He's mainly a jump shooter. He's 13-31, 42% overall. 2-7 from 3. He doesn't get to the line much. He's 5-10, but in his last full season was an 87.5% foul shooter. He gets 1.4 boards a game, 4% of the off-rebs, 13.1% of the d-rebs. He has 6 assists to 5 turnovers. He has 3 steals and has blocked 5 shots. Due to the injuries, he's been pushed into more action. Also, Louisville is very thin.
Wayne Blackshear - The highly regarded (fat) freshman is playing 12 minutes a game with 6.3 points. He's using 27% of the Card possessions with a 91.5 offensive rating. He's 7-18 overall, 4-10 from 3. He's 1-3 at the foul line. He's got 6 boards, 4 defensive. 2 steals and a block. 3 turnovers. He played 20 minutes against West Virginia with 13 points, 6 minutes against Syracuse with 0 points and 9 minutes against DePaul with 6 points on 8 shots. We don't really know what we are going to see from Blackshear, but we are going to see him. He can slash and he can spot up.
Elisha Justice - Bullet as he's known has played in 8 conference games. He's getting 4 minutes a pop and has scored 6 total points. He comes in to run the offense when Smith or Siva is on the bench or just not effective. I doubt we see him play, but he's a guy who could play for a segment.
Kevin Ware - Ware is playing 6 minutes a game, but has played just 6 minutes the last 4. Outside of 10 minutes against Rutgers, he's played just 7 minutes since January 16. He shoots when he's in, 6-20. He has 8 assists to 14 turnovers. 4 steals. Probably won't play much, if at all.
Zach Price - If Dieng or Behanan is in foul trouble, Price will play. If not, he will not play. If he does, he may get a rebound and commit a foul.
Louisville has played no team more than Cincinnati. Cincinnati has only played Miami more. Mick Cronin left Bob Huggins' staff to go coach under Rick Pitino at Louisville.
Cincinnati has not lost a Thursday or 9 pm game this season. Louisville has not played a Thursday game yet, but they have not lost a 9 pm game either. Something has to give.
UC threw Rashad Bishop on Siva last year and Rashad gave him fits. Cash Wright guarded Kyle Kuric. I don't know who will start on Siva this year. Probably Cash. Maybe Dixon. We could Siva get some early points going to the tin.
Louisville has held 8 of their last 14 opponents under 40% shooting. Their .376 defensive FG percentage is 6th in the nation.
Louisville has gotten 21.1 points per game off turnovers the last 5.
Louisville is scoring 1.02 points per possession and giving up 0.97. Cincinnati is scoring 1.05 ppp and giving up 1. The 5th best offense vs the 5th best defense.
Louisville is hitting 44% from the field in BE play, 5th, with a 50.1% effective FG %, 3rd and a 53.2% true shooting %, 4th. Cincinnati is last, 5th from last and 2nd from last in those categories at 40.7, 46.4 and 49.1. Louisville's FG% defense is 2nd at 39%. They are 5th in effective and true. UC is 10th in FG%, 9th and 8th in the other 2. Defensive edge to Louisville.
Percentage wise, these are 2 of the worst foul shooting teams in the league. Cincinnati is 65%, the worst. Louisville is 67.6%, 4th worst. The Cards have the 6th highest FT rate in the league, which adds to that frustration. Cincinnati gives up the 2nd fewest FT attempts behind Notre Dame. Louisville is middle of the pack. Louisville has been called for the 4th most fouls per game in the league and has the 3rd most foul outs.
These are 2 of the most 3 happy teams in the conference. Cincinnati is 4th in attempts, UofL 5. They are also 4,5 in makes. They are 5, 6 in 3 percentage, with Louisville 5th making 34% and UC making 33.6%. Louisville is giving up 6-19 from 3 on average. Cincinnati is giving up 6-18.
Rebounding wise the teams are similar in their offensive rebounding. UC has pulled in 35.8% of the offensive rebounds, Louisville 35.6%. Cincinnati is a better defensive rebounding team, getting 66% of the defensive boards compared to 65.3% for the Cards.
Turnovers could be the story behind this one. Cincinnati has turned the ball over the fewest in the Big East at 9.6 times a game. Louisville the second most at 15.2. The Cards have turned it over on 21.9% of possessions, which is the 4th highest. Cincinnati has turned it over 14.7%, the lowest. Neither team forces a ton. They rank Louisville 8, Cincinnati 9 in turnover % on defense. However Louisville is tied for 3rd in steal pct at 12.7. Cincinnati is 5th at 12.3. The other team tied for 3rd is Marquette. We know what happened there. Louisville is 5th in block pct. Something to watch.