Louisville presents tough challenge
Houston Cougars (11-11 Overall, 3-6 Conference) vs. Louisville Cardinals (18-4 Overall, 7-2 Conference):
The Cougars’ leading guards, sophomores Danuel House and L.J. Rose, returned from their injuries in their first meeting against Louisville. Now if they’re hoping to seek revenge, they will not only have to have big performances, but also need help from senior Brandon Morris and sophomore Jherrod Stiggers.
The Cardinals have a great veteran presence at the guard position in senior Russ Smith, senior and sharpshooter Luke Hancock and transfer junior guard Chris Jones. Their backcourt is defensive-minded and likes to get a lot of points from turnovers.
EDGE — The Louisville guards will present a full-court pressure that will make it tough for the Cougars to get into a half-court, forcing several turnovers that allow them easy points.
Junior TaShawn Thomas has continued to dominate and lead the Cougars’ front line. Senior J.J. Richardson is also back from his injury, and freshman Danrad Knowles will have to continue to be a spark from his position off the bench if UH is hoping to upset Louisville.
They present great size and depth, including Montrezl Harrell, who averages 12.5 ppg and 8.3 rpg, and Wayne Blackshear, who dominated with 23 points and seven rebounds in the last meeting.
EDGE — The Cougars’ front line has the athleticism to match up with just about anyone, but the Cardinals’ size will make it tough for them to obtain rebounds, including offensive ones that would allow second-chance scoring opportunities.
Bottom Line — Louisville is loaded on both sides of the ball. They rank 16th in the nation in points per game (82.6) and 25th in points allowed (62.5). The Cougars will have to take care of the ball in the Cardinal’s full court press, because Louisville also ranks 5th in the nation in steals per game (9.5). Both teams have depth at all the positions, which should formulate into an interesting Round 2 on Guy V. Lewis night.