Louisville, which had a 22-game non-conference home win streak snapped with a 79-77 loss to 24th-ranked Seton Hall on Sunday, hosts Siena on Wednesday night as part of the Houzz Gotham Classic. It’s the first of four games the Cardinals will play in the five-team, round-robin event which also includes home games with Bryant and Albany and a Dec. 16 date with Memphis in Madison Square Garden.
It’s also the second a four-game, eight-day homestand that includes a much anticipated game with Indiana on Saturday afternoon. Louisville interim head coach David Padgett is anxious to get back on the court to try and snap a two-game losing streak that began with a 66-57 loss at Purdue on Nov. 28. That was followed up with the tough defeat to Seton Hall which overcame a 59-52 deficit to win on a off-balance bank shot by senior forward Desi Rodriguez with eight seconds remaining. “The other night was a start of a tough four-game stretch where we’re playing four good teams,” Padgett said. “Four games in eight days is tough. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the first one but now we’re going to bounce back and try and get the one (Wednesday).”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT SIENA (2-5): Coach Jimmy Patsos said he is going to make the most of the trip to Louisville, taking his team on a tour of famed Churchill Downs as well as making possible stops at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Muhammad Ali Center. “Our job is to educate these kids,” Patsos told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I want them to be on a business trip in L.A. or something someday and someone says they’re from Louisville, and they can say they’ve been there and seen it. I’ve always felt that responsibility to show them that kind of stuff.” Junior Nico Clareth is averaging a team-best 16.9 points per game and is shooting 37.8 percent from 3-point range while sophomore guard Ahsante Shivers (11.7 points) and freshman forward Prince Oduro (10.3) also are averaging in double figures with Oduro also grabbing a team-most 6.1 rebounds per contest.
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (4-2): Forward Deng Adel (17.2 points) is the only player averaging in double figures and also ranks among team leaders in rebounds (5.2), assists (2.7) and steals (1.3). Ray Spalding, a 6-10 junior forward, and sophomore swingman V.J. King are tied for second in scoring (9.7 apiece) with Spalding also grabbing a team leading 9.0 rebounds per outing. Senior point guard Quentin Snyder, a Louisville native and the team’s top returning scorer, is off to a strong start, averaging 8.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists.
1. Louisville ranks second in the nation in blocked shots (7.3 per game) with 7-foot senior center Anas Mahmoud leading the way with 21 swats.
2. The Cardinals fell to 58-2 in their last 60 non-conference home games with the loss to Seton Hall.
3. Louisville is shooting 78.4 percent at the free throw line which ranks 15th nationally.
PREDICTION: Louisville 86, Siena 59