The Louisville Cardinals have two road games this week and it would be easy for them to look towards Saturday’s big game against No.25 Notre Dame, but they first must take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway, N.J..
Coach Rick Pitino was very happy with his teams play on Sunday as his Cardinals beat Marquette pretty easily, 70-51. Russ Smith played a fantastic game with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists. He has had a couple of rough games the past couple of weeks, but seems to be back to normal. Stephen Van Treese and Montrezl Harrell both had phenomenal games off the bench which gave them a spark in the first-half. Pitino said after the game that he will likely play the two together a lot more.
Rutgers have lost their last four games and has a 3-6 record in Big East play. They have only beaten Louisville once in in school history and have a record of 1-3 against the Cardinals in New Jersey.
The best matchup will be between Russ Smith and Rutgers guard, Myles Mack. Russ Smith is listed at 6’0″, but is more like 5’10”. Mack is 5’9″. Both guards are very fast and will keep the game uptempo. It will be fun to watch these quick guards go up and down the court against each other. Smith leads Louisville in scoring with 18.4 point per game, Mack is second on the Scarlet Knights with 12.9.
Another matchup to watch is at the center position with Gorgui Dieng and Wally Judge. Dieng is a lot longer at 6’11”, Judge is a lot stronger at 6’9″, 250 lbs. Dieng has been dealing with a wrist injury that he suffered a few months ago, he told me Sunday that he is playing with no pain, which is a great thing to hear for Louisville.
Louisville should beat Rutgers pretty easily, at least if you look at the stats on paper. They both shoot they same field goal percentage, although Louisville gets more shots due to their ability to force turnovers.
Tipoff to the game is at 7:30pm (EST) on ESPN3 or WHAS-11 in Louisville, Ky.