College Basketball Preview: Louisville vs. Arkansas State

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The Cards come off a big road win Saturday against Butler and return to the KFC Yum! Center for ten straight games, starting with the Arkansas State Red Wolves on Tuesday night.

This ten-game homestand isn’t the typical ten-game homestand from Novembers and Decembers past. Among the guests that the Cards will welcome into the downtown digs are Long Beach State (who defeated Pitt by 10 in the Pete), Vanderbilt, Memphis, Western Kentucky and Georgetown for the first Big East game of the season.

Arkansas State enters the Louisville game with a 1-3 record, 1-2 in the Global Sports Invitational. The lone Wolves’ win (see what I did there?) came over U of L’s first opponent of the year, Tennessee-Martin. ASU outscored the Skyhawks 40-25 in the second half en route to an 18-point win. This will be the Red Wolves’ final GSI game, while Louisville still has Ohio waiting on deck for Black Friday to finish the five-team round robin.

The Red Wolves are led by fourth-year head coach John Brady, who led LSU to the 2006 Final Four, and assistant coach Richard Williams, who led Mississippi State to the 1996 Final Four. They are the only team in the country with two coaches on its staff that have led teams to the Final Four. Brady is an even 48-48 as head coach of ASU.

Junior guard Trey Finn and junior forward Brandon Peterson are the only two returning starters from a 17-15 team last year that went undefeated at home and won a share of the Sun Belt’s West Division title. Finn averages a team-leading 14.3 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game, 2.5 assists per game and 2.8 steals per game. Finn is also their best three-point shooter and free-throw shooter and has been forced into a team-low 0.5 turnovers per game. Look out for #2 in black tomorrow night.

Even without Peyton Siva on Tuesday night, Rick Pitino and the Cards should not have much trouble getting through an Arkansas State team that ranks 320th in points per game. If the shots are going in for the Cards, they’ll finish Tuesday with a 4-0 record and will be one step closer an undefeated Global Sports Invitational, a highly regarded achievement that would be sure to send U of L’s RPI through the roof.

Date – Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Location – KFC Yum! Center/Crum Court (22,000), Louisville, Ky.
Time – 7:07 p.m. ET
Television – WHAS (Ch. 11), Drew Deener (pbp), Bob Valvano (color)
Radio – WHAS (840 AM, SIRIUS/XM Ch. 85), Paul Rogers (pbp), Doug Ormay (color)
Series – 2-0 Louisville (last: U of L 67, ASU 55, 12/4/2005 in Louisville)
Officials – John Gaffney, Gary Prager, Mike Nance