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aac tournament

The No.5 Louisville Cardinals (26-5, 15-3) tip off their first ever AAC Tournament game today at 3:00 PM EST at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, where they lost a heart breaker, 72-66, just 12 days ago. That game of course was against the Memphis Tigers, not Rutgers, who they play today. The No.7 seed Scarlet Knights (12-20, 5-13) earned their chance to knock off the No.2 seed Cards by dispatching the No.10 seed South Florida Bulls last night, 72-68.

Kadeem Jack targumsports Louisville vs. Rutgers: Preview and Prediction

Photo – targumsports
No.11 Kadeem Jack, led Rutgers with 18 points in the win over USF Wednesday

Kadeem Jack (6-foot-9, 230 pounds) is averaging 14.5 points per game this season to go along with 6.9 rebounds per game and was the games second leading scorer (USF’s Victor Rudd had 22 points) with 18 points against the Bulls. Jack grabbed six rebounds in the win and got scoring help from Myles Mack with 16 points, Wally Judge who had 15 points with 10 rebounds and J.J. Moore, who chipped in 13 points.

On the season, Rutgers is led in scoring by Mack 15.2 ppg., Jack 14.5 ppg. and Moore 11.4 ppg. The Scarlet knights do have decent depth as four other players average at least five points per game. They rebound well as a team (35.5 per game) and are led by Jack’s 6.9 rpg. and Judge’s 6.2 rpg. Etou chips in 4.7 rpg. They do however, give up 35.6 rebounds per game to opponents on the season. Rutgers has struggled all season long away from their home court with a 2-8 record, both wins coming against USF.

Russ n Rick cbssports Louisville vs. Rutgers: Preview and Prediction

Photo – CBS Sports
Rick Pitino has his team playing great basketball, winning 13 of their last 15 games

Louisville is playing as well as any team in the country, winning nine of their last 10 games and 13 out of 15. The Cards have won at least 20 games for 12 straight seasons, something only eight other teams have done. Rick Pitino and the Cards are known to be great tournament teams and for good reason. The Cards have won their last seven conference tournament games. They are 12-2 with three championships over their last five conference tournaments, reaching the title game four times.

Prediction:

As noted above, Rutgers struggles mightily on the road (1-10 overall) and having to face a defensive oriented team like Louisville away from friendlier confines is not exactly ideal. The Cards lead the nation in scoring margin (+20), turnover margin (+6.9) and are second in the nation in steals per game (10). These days, the three-point shot can help offset other team deficiencies but Louisville has been stellar against the three all season, ranking 10th nationally (29.3%), while Rutgers only shoots 34% from deep as a team.

The Cards average 81.8 points per contest and the Scarlet Knights are giving up 75.7 while only scoring 72.4 themselves and that is a recipe for disaster if you’re a Rutgers fan. This game should be another cake walk for the Cards like it was back on February 16, when they slaughtered the Scarlet Knights, 102-54. Hancock and Rozier paced the Cards in the last meeting, scoring 25 and 16 respectively but all 12 players that played for the Cards that night scored at least two points.

Cards – 88

Scarlet Knights – 59

Player of the game – Montrezl Harrell w/ 19 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks 

Trez ESPN1 Louisville vs. Rutgers: Preview and Prediction

Photo – ESPN
Montrezl Harrell has been on a tear in AAC play

The Cardinals will likely stick with the lineup they’ve been using for several weeks now. Here’s a look at the Cards roster via gocards.com:

Probable Starters
No. – Name – Pos. – Ht. – Wt. – Yr.
11 – Luke Hancock – F/G  6-6 – 200 – Sr. )

24 – Montrezl Harrell – F – 6-8 – 235 – So.

44 – Stephan Van Treese – F – 6-9 – 245 – Sr.

2 – Russ Smith – G – 6-1 – 165 – Sr.

3 – Chris Jones – G – 5-10 – 175 – Jr.

Reserves

0 Terry Rozier G 6-1 185 Fr.

1 Anton Gill G 6-3 185 Fr.

4 Dillon Avare G 6-0 150 Fr.

5 Kevin Ware G 6-2 175 Jr.

12 Mangok Mathiang F/C 6-10 210 Fr.

15 Tim Henderson G 6-2 190 Sr.

20 Wayne Blackshear F 6-5 230 Jr.

22 Akoy Agau F 6-8 230 Fr.

23 David Levitch G 6-3 180 Fr.

Rutgers Roster via scarletknights.com:

No. – Name – Pos. – Yr. – Ht. – Wt.

* – Denotes probable starter

30 – Batie, Khalil – G – Fr. – 5-10 – 165

15 –  Brown, Craig – G/F – Jr. – 6-5 – 220

55 – Campbell, D’Von – G – Jr. – 5-11 – 178

*10 – Etou, Junior – F – Fr. – 6-7 – 225

23 – Hyde, Jalen – G – So. – 5-8 – 160

*11 – Jack, Kadeem – F – R-Jr. – 6-9 – 230

*33 – Judge, Wally – F – R-Sr. – 6-9 – 250

– —   Kone, Malick – G/F – Jr. – 6-5 – 200

35 – Lewis, Greg – F – R-So. – 6-9 – 260

*4 – Mack, Myles – G – Jr. – 5-9 – 175

*44 – Moore, J.J. – F – Sr. – 6-6 – 215

3 –  Okoro, Kerwin – G/F – So. – 6-5 – 220

1 – Seagears, Jerome – G – Jr. – 6-1 – 175