CRAWFORD | Louisville-Florida State scout: TV, line, refs, 3 thi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Louisville-Florida State scout: TV, line, refs, 3 things to watch

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Louisville is preparing for an up-tempo game against Florida State. (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford.) Louisville is preparing for an up-tempo game against Florida State. (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford.)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — When NCAA Tournament time rolls around, expect to see some resumes with a few gaps.

Duke, for instance, might show up as “unemployed” for a couple of weeks in mid-January. Kansas might want to gloss over an incident at Oklahoma State. Kentucky might list last weekend’s game as “assisting with the rejuvenation of a beleaguered Auburn program.”

The University of Louisville, which will play host to Florida State tonight at 9 p.m., is looking to avoid the gaps. Or gaffes. It lost at Clemson, but the Tigers rose 30 spots in the Pomeroy Ratings with back-to-back wins over ranked teams after that.

Losing at home, however, is something the Cardinals simply can’t afford to do, with a February schedule that Rick Pitino has described as a “death march” ahead. The Cardinals are 12-0 in the KFC Yum! Center this season.

“Buckle your seat belts because it's going to be one hell of a ride in the ACC,” Pitino said. “It reminds me so much of the Big East in its prime in terms of, you know, you see it going one way, then all of a sudden you see now you have Virginia Tech and Clemson near the top, you see Georgia Tech playing real well. Syracuse looks like they're out of it, now they get hot. Duke loses three, Virginia loses three and then suddenly the thing's upside down, and then it will turn back. It will be a roller coaster ride that will drive fans and coaches crazy, but it will be a lot of fun playing this type of competition, needless to say.”

A quick look at the details and what to watch for in tonight’s game:

Time: 9 p.m., KFC Yum! Center

TV: ESPN (Mike Couzens, Len Elmore)

Series: Louisville leads 31-9

Officials: Tim Nestor, Bill Covington Jr., Terry Wymer.

Line: Louisville is a 10-point favorite. The under is 139.

Three things to watch:

1. ONUAKU FACES A CHALLENGE: Louisville center Chinanu Onuaku has been outstanding since the start of ACC play. Over his past four games he has shot 67.3 percent from the field and over his past four he’s averaging 10.9 rebounds per game. But tonight he’ll face a sizable challenge, 7-3, 248 pound senior Boris Bojanovsky, who isn’t a big scorer or rebounder, but is one of the league’s better shot blockers and makes life difficult around the rim. If you count only ACC games, Onuaku leads the league in rebounding (12.3), blocked shots (2.75) and is second in field goal percentage (66.7).

“He's one of the leaders of the team,” Pitino said. “Last year he was a lost young freshman trying to feel his way around. He's just a different guy; he's learned to work hard, he's got a good threshold for work now that he didn't have.”

2. CAN THE CARDS KEEP IT UP ON DEFENSE? Louisville leads the nation in opponent field goal percentage, but it hadn’t turned in a really good defensive performance against a good offensive team until it throttled Pittsburgh last Thursday night, holding the Panthers to less than half their scoring average and season lows in points, field goals, three-point field goals, three-point percentage and assists while producing a season-high 19 turnovers.

But Florida State is different, and could exploit one of Louisville’s biggest defensive weaknesses this season — the ability to contain dribblers. The Florida State three-guard lineup features players who are good off the dribble and who have had great success driving and slashing for scores this season.

“I think anytime you have a totally new basketball team every game's a journey,” Pitino said. “I don't think you can say that just because they played great defense against Pitt it's always gonna be there. I think this is a new basketball team that's learning. I think they took a lot of pride in what they did last game in terms of their defense and they feel good about it. But now they're gonna go against a different type of basketball team in terms of one-on-one ability.”

3. SCOUTING THE SEMINOLES (12-5, 2-3): They’ve won two straight since opening ACC play with three straight losses. They’re coming off a 69-62 win over Virginia, and also have wins this season over Florida and VCU. They’ve lost to Iowa, North Carolina, at Miami and at Clemson. They also lost to Hofstra on a neutral court. Florida State has two of the top scorers in the ACC: Freshmen Malik Beasley (17.1 ppg) and Dwayne Bacon (16.7 ppg) are both among the conference’s top 10 scorers. FSU is 49th in the RPI and 39th in the Sagarin Ratings, and they’re No. 34 in the ratings from Ken Pomeroy. The Seminoles play some of the most up-tempo games in the country — their season average of 74.1 possessions in games ranks No. 22 nationally. Their average possession time of 15.8 seconds is second only to North Carolina in ACC games. They are the tallest team Louisville will play this season, ranking No. 3 in the nation in average height and No. 11 in effective height. They start a three-guard lineup that goes 6-4, 6-5 and 6-8.

Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved. Photo graphic by Kenny Klein, Louisville sports information.

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