Will Horner is the editor for Big Red Louie, the Louisville FanSided site. I asked him a few questions about this weekend’s SU-UL matchup and he was kind enough to answer. Head on over there to stay up to date on all things Cardinals.
ITLH: Louisville just took over the number one spot in the rankings this week. That means this will be the fifth time in six games one of the two teams in this match up are ranked in the top 2 in the country. How much hype and anticipation are the fans feeling down there for this one?
WH: The UofL and Cuse game is always special. In my opinion, when UofL beat No. 1 Syracuse 78-68 in the final game inside Freedom Hall in 2010 it intensified the recent hype. Louisville fans are excited and the KFC YUM! Center will be rocking when these two Top 6 teams hit the floor. If you want to see what Card Nation is saying, search #BeatCuse on Twitter!
Jan 9, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Russ Smith (2) drives to the basket during the first half against Seton Hall Pirates guard/forward Fuquan Edwin (23) at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
ITLH: Russ Smith has been a beast so far this season. He is shooting the ball better, while rebounding more and dishing out more assists. How has he looked against zone defenses this year?
WH: Honestly, I don’t think Russ Smith cares what defense the opposing team is playing. The guy is fearless. What I’ve noticed is against the zone, he is a more complete player because of his ability to split the gaps with his quickness off the dribble. Since the Cards play a zone as well, he knows how to break it down. He is fun to watch and is truly Russdiculous.
ITLH: How is Chane Behanan’s ankle? What’s his status for this weekend?
WH: Behanan looks healthy. He logged 18 minutes and grabbed 12 rebounds on Jan. 12 against South Florida. On Monday against UConn, he played 36 minutes and had 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. He’ll be in full force on Saturday.
ITLH: Syracuse has better numbers statistically speaking, but Louisville has played a much tougher schedule to date. This leads me to believe that these two teams seem very similar on paper, and this game can go either way. What part of the stat sheet will Syracuse have to blow up to come out on top in this game?
WH: Syracuse will have to limit turnovers, plain and simple. Louisville’s harassing press and defense is producing 11 steals per game. Russ Smith and Peyton Siva have combined for 80 thefts in just 17 games. When UofL creates the turnover, it usually results in transition points. However, because the Cards are willing to gamble for the steal, they have faced foul-trouble.
ITLH: My girlfriend and I are making the pilgrimage Friday night from Upstate New York down to the bluegrass state en route to the KFC Yum Center Saturday. Where in Louisville do we go to either party after a Syracuse victory, or to drink our sorrows away in preparation for a looooooooong drive back to Syracuse?
WH: The KFC YUM! Center is on Main Street in Louisville and there are plenty of places to try. If you are looking to drink cheap domestic beer, I’d suggest hitting up Prime Lounge. If you are more of a craft beer consumer, Bluegrass Brewing Company (BBC) is a great spot. If you want to do the Irish pub scene, Patrick O’Shea’s is definitely your place. Regardless of which one you visit, all serve great Kentucky bourbon and are about a 2-3 minute walk away from the greatest arena in college basketball.
ITLH: Final score. Whodoyagot?
WH: UofL 73 Cuse 66
Another big thanks to Will from Big Red Louie for answering my questions. Head on over there to stay up to date on the Cards heading in to this Saturday’s showdown.