Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - The fourth-ranked Louisville Cardinals dive
into Big East play as they play host to the Providence Friars on Wednesday at
the KFC Yum! Center.
Rick Pitino's Cardinals head into conference play with a full head of steam,
as they have won seven straight games since their lone loss of the season, a
76-71 setback to top-ranked Duke. The team's seventh straight victory came
last weekend with an 80-77 triumph over arch rival Kentucky.
Ed Cooley has had to deal with a great deal of adversity already, as his
Friars have navigated their schedule at less than full strength from nearly
the beginning of the season. As a result, the team comes in with an 8-4
overall record, having lost each of the last two games, including a 69-68
setback at Brown last week.
Louisville holds an 11-6 advantage in the series with Providence and is a
perfect 6-0 against the Friars at home. Pitino led Providence to the 1987 NCAA
Final Four before departing for the NBA.
Providence was without leading scorer Bryce Cotton (knee) and lacked the
offensive depth to get past the Bears last time out. The Friars shot just .411
from the floor, despite knocking down 10 3-pointers in the one-point loss.
LaDontae Henton had a huge offensive performance, posting a career-high 37
points on 13-of-20 shooting, that included six 3-pointers. Kadeem Batts added
10 points to the cause, but the remainder of the roster mustered just 21
Cotton leads the team with a hefty 22.0 ppg, but is still listed as
questionable this week. The good news is that the team recently had All-Big
East guard Vincent Council return to the lineup after getting injured in the
season-opener and missing the first 10 games. Last season, Council led the
team in scoring (15.9 ppg) and the Big East in assists (7.5 apg). Henton's
performance against Brown was certainly encouraging, lifting his season
average to 17.3 ppg. Batts (16.1 ppg) is another prolific scorer on the
Louisville has gotten the job done at both ends of the floor this year and as
a result, enjoys an impressive +21.1 scoring margin. The team can certainly
fill up the basket at 78.2 ppg, led by Russ Smith's 19.8 ppg. Peyton Siva adds
to the backcourt play as both a solid scorer (12.0 ppg) and deft distributor
(5.8 apg). Chane Behanan provides balance up front, shooting .509 from the
floor and posting 11.5 points and a team-best 7.5 rebounds per game.
It was the big three again that led the Cardinals to the three-point win over
the Wildcats last time out. Smith netted 21 points, including 17 in the second
half to lead the way. Behanan and Siva were instrumental as well, tallying 20
and 19 points, respectively. The Cardinals held a 17-point lead at one point,
but had to hold on to earn their seventh straight victory.
The Sports Network