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College Basketball Preview: Louisville Cardinals vs. Fairleigh Dickinson Knights

Louisville has started consecutive seasons at 8-0 for the first time in school history following the 90-60 win over IUPUI on Wednesday.

Becoming 9-0 shouldn’t be too much of a task for the Cards as they welcome the 1-7 Fairleigh Dickinson Knights to the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday, where they have now won 16 straight games since dropping the New Year’s Eve contest last season to Kentucky. The longest such streak for the Cards is 26 games, done twice from 1955-1957 and 1979-1980. If the Cards continue winning, they can match that streak on February 6 against the defending NCAA Champion UConn Huskies and break it against the Syracuse Orange (who last defeated U of L in the Cards’ inaugural Big East season of 2005-06).

FDU, lead by head coach Greg Vetrone in his second full season, comes into Louisville with a 1-7 record. They’ve played only two home games in their native Teaneck, NJ during the young season, defeating St. Peters and dropping the other contest to Lehigh. Although this is an experienced Knights squad with six juniors and four seniors, they have struggled to score points and rank 280th in the nation with a 62.5-point average.

The Knights are led by junior guard Lonnie Hayes, a JUCO transfer. His 17.4 points, 4.0 assists, 1.9 steals and 37.6 minutes are all tops on the team. A name some Cards fans may remember, Melquan Bolding, is second on the team with his 15.6 points. The junior was initially a commit to Rick Pitino in the 2008 class, along with Kyle Kuric, Jared Swopshire, Terrence Jennings and Samardo Samuels, but decided to attend prep school before playing at Duquesne and ultimately transferring to FDU.

Former Card George Goode (#wordaapp) is using his final year of eligibility with the FDU Knights, where he is averaging 10.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in eight games this year. He has already played more minutes this year (228) than he did all of last year (216), his last season under Pitino. It will be interesting watching Goode matchup with Gorgui Dieng both down low and defending each other’s mid-range game.

The Cards keep marching through the OOC schedule with Kentucky looming at the end. Pitino seems to have this team focused more so than any others in the past that dropped games they shouldn’t have before grinding through the Big East. Granted, the Cards have only stepped away from the still sparkling KFC Yum! Center once, but the wins over Butler, Ohio, Long Beach State and Vanderbilt will help the team greatly in the coming months.

Date – Saturday, December 10, 2011
Location – KFC Yum! Center/Crum Court (22,000), Louisville, Ky.
Time – 4:00 p.m. ET
Television – WHAS (Ch. 11), Drew Deener (pbp), Bob Valvano (color)
Radio – WHAS (840 AM), Paul Rogers (pbp), Doug Ormay (color)

This article originally appeared on Strait Pinkie.

Get more great Louisville and Kentucky analysis over at Strait Pinkie.


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