Cardinals set sights on red-hot Golden Eagles

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Updated: November 29, 2013

Louisville, KY (SportsNetwork.com) – Coming off their first loss in some time,
the ninth-ranked Louisville Cardinals welcome the Southern Miss Golden Eagles
to the KFC Yum! Center for a non-conference matchup on Friday evening.

The defending national champs opened the 2013-14 campaign with five straight
wins, but had a school-record 21 straight victories come to an end in the
championship game of the Hall of Fame Tipoff last weekend in Uncasville,
falling 93-84 to the North Carolina Tar Heels. Rick Pitino’s squad begins an
extended homestand with this game that will last unit Dec. 21, a span of five
games.

Donnie Tyndale’s Golden Eagles are off to what looks to be another highly
successful campaign. The team went 27-10 a year ago and has begun the season
with wins in all six of its games thus far. USM made light work of cross-town
foe William Carey last Sunday, 99-54.

These teams are non-conference foes now but were members of the Metro
Conference and Conference USA together. Louisville holds a 30-11 all-time
record against USM and is 18-3 in games played at home in the series.

The Golden Eagles simply overwhelmed William Carey last weekend, as they shot
just under 70 percent from the floor in the first half and took a 61-27 lead
into halftime, before putting it in cruise control the rest of the way.
Overall, Southern Miss shot .641 from the field and forced William Carey into
27 turnovers. Six Golden Eagles notched double digits in the win, led by Matt
Bingaya and Chip Armelin, who netted 16 points each. Neil Watson finished with
14 points in the rout, followed by Michael Craig (12 pts), Daveon Boardingham
(11 pts) and Aaron Brown (10 pts).

Southern Miss has played excelled in just about every facet of the game early
on, shooting an efficient .482 from the field and averaging 74.0 ppg, while
holding foes to just 60.5 ppg. The team also boasts of a +9.0 rebounding
margin and is forcing just under 19 turnovers per game. Brown leads a trio of
double-figure scorers with 11.7 ppg. Watson (10.7 ppg) and Boardingham (10.5
ppg) are close behind. Further depth comes in the form of Craig (9.8 ppg) and
Jerrold Brooks (9.2 ppg).

The defending champs had no answer for UNC guard Marcus Paige, who torched
Louisville for 32 points in leading the Tar Heels to a nine-point upset. UL’s
own offensive force Russ Smith matched Paige’s explosiveness with a game-high
36 points. Chris Jones poured in 20 points, while Luke Hancock added 10 off
the bench. Still, collectively, the Cardinals shot under 40 percent from the
floor (.388), were outrebounded 40-35 and committed 14 turnovers.

Not many teams will get the better of Louisville this season. The Cardinals
come into this contest with a +23.2 scoring margin, averaging 84.7 ppg, while
allowing just 61.5. Smith has played lights out in the early going, pacing the
team with a hefty 20.2 ppg. Jones add to the backcourt depth with 14.5 ppg,
while forward Montrezl Harrell has been a force down low, boasting a near
double-double of 12.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Hancock, last year’s
Final Four MVP adds 9.3 ppg off the bench and Wayne Blackshear chips in with
9.3 ppg to give Louisville even more options.