NCAA Basketball

College Basketball Preview: Louisville vs. West Virginia

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(11)Louisville Cardinals @ West Virginia Mountaineers
WVU Coliseum – Morgantown, WV
Saturday, Mar. 5, 2011
Time: 12:02 pm EST
Television: ESPN Dave Pasch, play-by-play; Doris Burke, analyst.
Radio: WHAS (840 AM) Paul Rogers, play-by-play; Doug Ormay, analyst. (also SIRIUS ch. 121, XM 141)
Series History: UofL leads 8-3 (4-1 in Louisville, 2-2 in Morgantown, 2-0 neutral)
Officials: Ed Corbett, Sean Corbin, Jeff Clark

The Louisville Cardinals will play their final regular season game of the 2010-2011 season inside one of the hardest places to play in the nation in the WVU Coliseum. Back on January 26th, the Mountaineers came to the Derby City and Peyton Siva’s driving layup high off the glass with four seconds left lifted then 23rd-ranked Louisville to a 55-54 victory.

Here’s what West Virginia looked like before that game was played: JUST CLICK HERE AND SEE FOR YOURSELF.

In that game, Joe Mazzulla (again, who is not good) scored a career-high 18 points, every single one of them in the first half. Mazzulla tied that career-high on Wednesday in the Mountaineers win over the Huskies. West Virginia’s senior floor general boasts the second-best assist-to-turnovers ratio (2.62-to-1) in the BIG EAST.

Bob Huggins was guiding his team through some turbulence during the last meeting, and played only seven players. The Mountaineers finished the game shooting just 34.5 percent after a 4-of-22 shooting performance in the second half.

Since then, Huggy Bear has reinstated West Virginia’s leading scorer and the the 2009 National Junior College Player of the Year, Casey Mitchell. The senior has produced the biggest scoring increase from last season among BIG EAST Conference players, improving from a 3.7 average as a junior to 14.4 ppg game this season, good for 13th in the league.

Louisville just got revenge on the Friars of Providence, destroying the Friars 87-60 on Senior Night. Senior Preston Knowles scored 20 points and is now within 54 points of scoring 1,000 career points at Louisville. The Cardinals have 62 career 1,000-point scorers all-time, second in the nation behind North Carolina’s 63.

In beating the Friars, Louisville clinched a double bye in next week’s BIG EAST Championship. West Virginia is still hoping to earn a first round bye (5-8 seeds) and will clinch that with a win over the Cards.

The Mountaineers are also coming off an impressive win, a 65-56 victory over 16th ranked Connecticut. West Virginia is solidly in the NCAA tournament, but a win here can only help their seeding. Will they get it? I don’t know, I’m not Nostradamus. But I’ll say no as the Cardinals continue to build momentum for a possible BIG EAST and NCAA run.

Louisville 60, West Virginia 56