The KFC Yum! Center has one of the most electric atmospheres in all of college basketball, but the intensity increases 100 times when coach Rick Pitino puts on his famous white suit. Louisville Cardinals fans will hope there loud cheering and “Fear the Suit” signs will be enough to give their team the edge against a very good Marquette team Sunday afternoon.
Louisville comes into the game after ending their three game losing streak to Pittsburgh Monday in a very physical matchup, 64-61. Junior guard Russ Smith returned to his old self, leading the Cardinals with 20 points. Smith is clearly Louisville’s spark and will need to continue to carry his team on his back offensively.
Sophomores Wayne Blackshear and Kevin Ware were both absent in the game against Pittsburgh. Blackshear, who usually starts, was out with a sprained shoulder that he received during practice. Ware was suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed reason.
Coach Pitino updated fans on both players Thursday night on his weekly radio show in Louisville. Blackshear, he said, should be alright to play Sunday. He had not practiced, but was able to shoot. On Ware, Pitino said that he wasn’t sure if he would play against Marquette, but he did practice for the first time with the team since being suspended Thursday. Pitino also reassured fans that Ware’s suspension had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol.
Marquette comes into the game after winning eight of their last nine games, which has tied them with Syracuse at the top of Big East standings. Marquette and Louisville are pretty even, although Louisville has the edge in three-point percentage.
The best matchup in this game will be between the point guards. Seniors Peyton Siva and Junior Cadougan are very familiar of each other and both do the little things to help their teams succeed. Louisville will likely use Russ Smith on defense to disrupt Cadougan’s quickness.
This is an important game for both teams. Louisville is hoping to keep improving and get out of their offensive funk. Marquette is hoping to stay in the top 25 rankings. This will be the 68th meeting between the two schools, Louisville leads the all-time series 41-26.
For most Louisville fans, when they think about amazing Marquette victories they think of Jerry Smith‘s buzzer beater in 2007.
Tipoff to the game is 2pm (EST) Sunday on ESPN.
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