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    LouLife

    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Men’s Basketball Facebook Page
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    It’s been a roller coaster of a regular season for the University of Louisville men’s basketball team.

    Things started off well with early victories over Minnesota in the made-for-TV father vs. son matchup, and Ohio State, and fab freshman D’Angelo Russell, before a loss to top-ranked Kentucky, a let-that-one-get-away setback at North Carolina and Duke’s domination of the Cardinals. Then came the comeback win, which at the time looked like a turning point, in the rematch against the Tar Heels. However that was followed by a loss at Virginia, then a surprising home setback to North Carolina State before the Chris Jones saga began.

    The senior point guard was suspended for Louisville’s loss at Syracuse, but returned to help the Cards to a comeback win over Miami. Then the s--- really hit the fan. He was dismissed from the team the next day and a few days after that was charged with rape and sodomy (he pleaded not guilty). Without Jones, UofL rebounded with wins at Georgia Tech and Florida State before a back-down-to-earth home loss to Notre Dame on Wednesday night.

    The Cards (23-7 overall, 11-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference), who are No. 14 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 16 in the Associated Press Top 25, close out their regular season Saturday, when they host second-ranked, and ACC-leading, Virginia (28-1, 16-1) at 6:30 p.m. at the Yum! Center. The game, which will be "Senior Night" for Wayne Blackshear and the last home game for Montrezl Harrell, and possibly Terry Rozier, will be televised on ESPN.

    Despite its ups and downs Louisville, which is tied for fourth in the ACC standings with UNC (which hosts third-ranked Duke on Saturday night), is still in the running for the important double-bye in next week’s conference tournament.  

    A victory Saturday would also help the Cards’ seeding in the NCAA Tournament. They’re currently projected as a No. 4 or No. 5 seed, likely in the same bracket as Kentucky or Villanova. However another loss to the Cavs, and a quick exit in next week’s ACC Tournament, could drop UofL to a No. 6 seed. That may not be a bad thing, though. If Louisville could get past its third-round opponent it would make for a more winnable Sweet 16 game against a No. 2 seed (Wisconsin, Kansas, Gonzaga and Arizona are projected on that line right now).

    But first comes Virginia. Since suffering their lone loss to Duke (69-63) on Jan. 31, the Cavaliers have won nine straight games. Included in that streak was a 52-47 victory over visiting UofL on Feb. 7 in Charlottesville, Va. In that game UVA held the Cards scoreless for a 12-minute stretch in its five-point triumph that came with a cost. The Cavs lost then-leading scorer, and defensive stopper, Justin Anderson to a broken finger on his shooting hand. It was thought that Anderson (13.4 ppg) could possibly return for Saturday’s game, but then came word Thursday that the 6-foot-6 junior guard had undergone an appendectomy.

    The Cavs are led by 6-5 junior guard Malcolm Brogdon (13.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg), 6-8 junior forward Anthony Gill (11.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg), 6-8 senior forward Daron Atkins (7.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg), 6-11 junior center Mike Tobey (7.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg), 6-2 sophomore guard London Perrantes (6.3 ppg, 4.7 apg) and 6-8 junior forward Evan Nolte (2.8 ppg), who has started in place of Anderson since his injury.

    • UofL will honor its 1974-75 squad, the program’s third Final Four team, and its 1979-80 national championship team during Saturday’s game.

    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Men’s Basketball Facebook Page

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