The Syracuse basketball program will try and earn its third consecutive Big East Conference road victory Saturday afternoon against the Louisville Cardinals at the KFC Yum! Center. The Orange (No. 12 in the AP poll and No. 13 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll) are trying to collect their third win in four games and rebound from a 64-56 loss to No. 11 Georgetown Hoyas on Wednesday. Currently, SU (20-5, 7-5) sits alone in sixth place in the Big East standings.
If the Orange are going to earn a key conference road win, senior forward Rick Jackson will need to stay out of foul trouble -- something he didn't do against the Hoyas. Jackson, who Friday made the Naismith Award watch list, tallied just four points and eight rebounds Wednesday night. The 6-foot-9, double-double machine (Jackson has 16 for the season), collected his fourth foul early in the second half and was forced to sit a large chunk of minutes. SU managed to tread water and reaming competitive (thanks to freshmen C.J. Fair, Dion Waiters and Baye Moussa Keita), but when Jackson returned, at about the five-minute mark, it wasn't enough time for him to regain his rhythm.
|2010 - Rick Jackson||25||34.8||5.7||9.9||57.3||0.0||0.0||0.0||1.8||3.5||50.0||3.8||7.6||11.4||2.5||1.9||1.2||2.3||1.9||13.1|
No. 16/15 Louisville (18-6, 7-4 Big East), which lost 79-78 to the No. 8/7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish , will try to win its seventh straight against Syracuse. The Cardinals, who are the second-best scoring team in the conference (77.5 points per game), have the offensive weapons to do just that.
Louisville's scoring leader is senior Preston Knowles. The 6-foot-1 guard attempts more 3-pointers (7.6 per game) than any other Cardinal. However, junior Kyle Kuric, who scored a team-best 28 points against ND, has been the hot hand for Louisville. Over the last four games, Kuric is averaging 17.8 points and 4.3 rebounds. The 6-foot-4 forward is currently fourth in the Big East in 3-point percentage (.451). Sophomore guard Peyton Silva leads the conference in steals per game (2.2) and is fifth in assists (5.3).
|2010 - Preston Knowles||23||28.6||5.0||12.9||39.1||3.0||7.7||39.2||1.7||2.0||85.1||0.6||3.0||3.6||2.5||1.9||1.8||0.3||2.7||14.8|
As a team, Louisville is ranked second in the conference in field-goal (.541) and fifth in 3-point (.369) percentages. The Cardinals have taken more 3-pointers (585) than any other Big East team. So far, Louisville has avoided any type of losing streak and could possibly be the most constant team in the league. However, the Cardinals only big victory came against No. 10/9 Connecticut Huskies, Jan. 29.