Virginia-Louisville Preview: Scott German

scott germanThere’s a buzz outside the KFC Yum! Center here in downtown Louisville on the eve of tomorrow’s ACC basketball game between the host Louisville Cardinals and the University of Virginia.

The usual gang of ticket-hawkers are already pacing the streets looking to grab some cheap tickets with the aspirations of flipping them close to game time at handsome profit margins. There’s also an added buzz just down the block at The Kentucky Arena for the annual Louisville Auto Show.

The Cardinals and Cavaliers head into the match driving in different directions. Louisville is still reeling from an epic lost at home to Duke, blowing a 23-point lead with just over 10 minutes left. Louisville staved off another collapse in its next game by holding off a late Clemson rally, then were blown out in the Carrier Dome by Syracuse Wednesday.

After that loss, Louisville coach Chris Mack compared the Cardinals offensive effort to throwing spaghetti against the wall. Tomorrow against the third-ranked Cavaliers, Mack can only hope that this time it might somehow stick.

Good luck, Chef Mack.

The Cardinals have lost seven straight against Virginia, last winning on March 7, 2015, 59-57, here .

And of course who can ever forget the Cardinals’ most recent loss, here last March. A night that will forever be itched in the minds of Louisville (and Virginia) fans.

Mack said that Louisville must work hard to score inside the paint. Seems like a decent strategy since Virginia is currently rated as the nation’s top three-point defensive team.

The Cardinals have also been sloppy in ball-handling since the 10 minute meltdown against Duke. Limiting turnovers is a must for Louisville if they are to pull off an upset.

Virginia has also been turnover-prone in its last few games as well. With Virginia’s offensive pace, it’s critical the Cavaliers protect the ball.

It’s going to be a sold-out arena, and the Cardinal fans would like nothing better than to upset Virginia to help ease the pains of that fateful .09 seconds from the two teams’ last matchup.

But Virginia is a poised road-prepared squad. The Cavaliers have already secured impressive road wins at Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia Tech, and a 2-point loss at Duke.

If Louisville is to win, it’s going to take more that 22,000 screaming fans backing them.

Preview by Scott German

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
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