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    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Men’s Basketball Facebook Page
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    The University of Louisville men’s basketball team survived its first Atlantic Coast Conference road game. Now the Cardinals get their first chance to defend their homecourt against another foe in their new conference.

    Fifth-ranked Louisville (13-1, 1-0) hosts Clemson (8-5 0-1) on Wednesday night. Tip-off is set for 9:06 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center. The game will be televised locally on WAVE-TV.

    The Cards are coming off a hard-fought 85-76 win at Wake Forest on Sunday night. Even though they probably already knew it, the players quickly found out that the ACC isn’t going to be as easy as the AAC. Last season Louisville went 8-1 away from home in the weak-ass American Athletic Conference, winning those games by an average of 14.4 points (the Cards’ lone loss was by six points at Memphis). This season, though, UofL is playing in arguably the toughest conference in the country.

    UofL escaped Winston-Salem, N.C. with a win thanks to the heroics of Chris Jones (22 points, 10 assists), Terry Rozier (18 points) and Montrezl Harrell (25 points, 13 rebounds) as well as the unexpected contribution of freshman forward Shaqquan Aaron (11 points) as senior Wayne Blackshear went M.I.A. (four points, three fouls, one rebound in 20 minutes).  

    The Cards may not need a late comeback against Clemson, but will still probably need a solid effort. The Tigers, who went 23-13 and advanced to the NIT semifinals last season, were picked to finish 11th (out of 15) in the ACC preseason media poll. Although it started the season with two WTF(?) losses to Winthrop (77-74) and Gardner-Webb (72-70) in their second and third games of the season Clemson has won four of its last six games, including a 68-65 overtime victory over 18th-ranked Arkansas on Dec. 7. The Tigers, though, are coming off a lopsided loss (74-50) to North Carolina on Saturday.

    Clemson is led by 6-7 sophomore forward Jaron Blossomgame, who apparently does have a blossoming game. He tops the Tigers in scoring (13.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.2 rpg) after averaging 4.9 ppg and 5 rpg last season. Blossomgame is backed by 6-4 senior guard Damarcus Harrison (11 ppg), 6-8 freshman forward Donte Grantham (10.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg), 6-10 junior center Larry Nnoko (9.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and 6-1 senior point guard Rod Hall (9.1 ppg, 3.3 apg).

    Look for a low-scoring game since Clemson comes in 248th nationally (out of 345 teams) in scoring (65.2 ppg).

    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Men’s Basketball Facebook Page

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