Following a week of hitting the books to take final exams in the classroom, the University of Louisville men’s basketball team is ready to hit the floor this afternoon for its second of six straight home games and to take on a first-time opponent.
The No. 22 Cardinals welcome to the KFC Yum Center for a 1 p.m. tipoff. It’s the first meeting ever between UofL and EMU.
It’s been seven days since Louisville dismantled Grand Canyon 111-63 to move to 6-1 on the year. The Eagles will likely pose more of a threat to the Cards. freshman center James Thompson IV has recorded double-doubles in his last five games.
This is an uncommon feat, as the last person to do so was six years ago when Eagle great Brandon Bowdry put together five double-doubles in a row during the 2009-10 campaign. If Thompson posts a sixth-straight double-double in matchup with Louisville, he will become the first Eagle to complete that feat since Grant Long did during his MAC Player of the Year campaign in 1987-88.
Eastern Michigan (6-3) has won four of its last five games, including an 86-58 victory over Rochester on Tuesday as the Eagles collected 15 steals and shot 53.2 percent from the field. EMU is third in the nation in steals (11.4) and 17th in field goal percentage defense (.366) through Dec. 8.
All five starters for the Eagles are averaging at least eight points a game, led by 6-1 junior guard Willie Mangum (16.1 ppg) and 6-10 freshman forward James Thompson (15.0 ppg, 11.7 rpg).
The Eagles posted a 21-14 record a year ago — its second straight season with 20 or more victories — and participated in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) postseason tournament.
It won’t be easy for Long and his Eagle teammates, however, as UofL leads the nation in rebounding margin (+18.9) and scoring margin (+30.3), is second in scoring defense (55.7) and is fourth in field goal percentage defense (.342).
Louisville cruised to victory over Grand Canyon when eight different players scored seven or more points. UofL held a 55-20 rebounding advantage in that contest and the Cardinals improved to 107-1 all-time when breaking the century mark in scoring.
The Cards are led by two players averaging double figures; Damion Lee leads the duo of top scorers with 19.1 points per game, while Trey Lewis ranks second on the team in scoring with 14.1 per game. Quentin Snider also leads the team in assists with 4.4 per game while averaging 9.4 points. Chinanu Onuaku leads the team in rebounding with 7.0 per game while Mangok Mathiang ranks second in rebounding with 6.3 per game.
Eastern Michigan at Louisville
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Radio: WMKJ-FM 105.5 Lexington
TV: Fox Sports South
Records: Louisville 6-1; Eastern Michigan 6-3