Tale of the Tape: Virginia at No. 5 Louisville

Photo by Jon Golden

Virginia carries its three-game win streak into the KFC Yum! Center Saturday when the Cavaliers go up against fifth-ranked Louisville (4 p.m., ESPN). The Wahoos (15-6, 7-4 ACC) have defeated the Cardinals (20-3, 11-1) nine straight times, with the last loss coming in 2015 in Louisville.

The Cardinals are 7½-point favorites to put an end to UVA’s recent domination in the all-time series, which the ‘Hoos lead, 15-4. Louisville has won nine consecutive games this season — including a six-point win at Duke — with the last loss coming against Florida State in early January. The Cardinals’ other two losses were against Texas Tech (70-57) and at Kentucky in overtime (78-70).

Chris Mack’s team is ranked eighth in the latest KenPom ratings (15th AdjO, 18th AdjD), with the Cavaliers sitting at No. 53 (1st AdjD, 276th AdjO). The Cardinals have a 1½-game lead atop the ACC standings ahead of Duke and FSU (both 9-2 in conference play), and UVA is alone in 4th place.

It’ll be the first time Virginia coach Tony Bennett has stepped onto the Yum! Center floor since he cut the nets down after his team defeated Purdue to advance to the Final Four last March. Bennett’s Cavalier teams have won 10 of the 11 meetings against Louisville since his arrival in Charlottesville.

UL is the ACC’s third-highest scoring team and has the conference’s second-best scoring defense, behind UVA.

ACC Preseason Player of the Year Jordan Nwora is the straw that stirs the Cardinals’ drink, and he has not disappointed. The 6-foot-7 junior forward leads Louisville with 19.3 points a night (second in the league) and scored a career-high 37 against Boston College last week. He owns the top 3-point percentage in the league at nearly 44 percent on the year from downtown (59 for 135).

At 6-5, Dwayne Sutton is the other forward, and he’s leading the team in rebounding with 8.5 a game. Center Steven Enoch puts up 10 points and six boards per contest.

Sharpshooting senior guard Ryan McMahon doesn’t start every game, but averages 25 minutes a contest and is the Cardinals’ top long-range threat at 46 percent from long distance.

Darius Perry, Lamarr Kimble are a pair of talented guards who round out the starters, while Malik Williams, David Johnson and Samuell Williamson should all see significant minutes as well. Louisville is the ACC’s top 3-point shooting team at just over 40 percent on the season.

Virginia will host Louisville in the regular-season finale on March 7. Four of UVA’s next six games are on the road. The ‘Hoos return home to face Notre Dame Tuesday night at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.

Player Stats

(As of 2/7/20):

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