Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - In their third game without center Gorgui
Dieng the fifth-ranked Louisville Cardinals will host the UMKC Kangaroos at
the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday afternoon.
UMKC managed to pull out its first road win of the season last time out as it
downed North Dakota 73-70. The win continued a trend of trading wins and
losses for the Kangaroos who have yet to string back-to-back wins or losses
together this year. Overall UMKC is 4-4 but just 1-2 in away games. UMKC has
already played a ranked opponent when it faced No. 3 Ohio State in Columbus
and lost in a 91-45 rout. UMKC begins a three-game homestand against
Appalachian State next.
Dieng (8.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg) is the centerpiece of Rick Pitino's strong defensive
squad but was lost for 4-6 weeks in late November with a broken wrist.
Louisville hasn't really skipped a beat since his departure with wins in each
of the two games in which Dieng was sidelined. That included an 80-38
whipping of the College of Charleston, which had a win against a ranked Baylor
squad earlier in the season. Louisville is 4-0 at home this season, but will
be on the road against Memphis in its next contest.
This matchup is the first ever between these two programs.
Estan Tyler netted two free throws in the final seconds against North Dakota
and a final 3-point attempt from Aaron Anderson was off the mark as UMKC
escaped with the 73-70 win. The Kangaroos shot 48.2 percent in the game
including a 7-of-17 showing from beyond the arc. The Kangaroos also held a
41-28 edge in rebounding and a 14-5 advantage in second chance points. All
five starters were in double figures, led by Nate Rogers who netted 16 before
UMKC hasn't done anything particularly impressive on offense this season. The
Kangaroos are scoring 64.6 points per game, shooting 42.9 percent from the
field and assisting on 10.5 field goals a contest. All three of those marks
land near the bottom of the Summit League. On the other end the Kangaroos let
up 69.0 points per game on 44.3 percent shooting. UMKC also has a slim +1.9
edge in rebounding overall. There are no scorers in double figures for UMKC.
Tyler (9.5 ppg, 3.6 apg) is the closest to that mark but his inconsistent
shooting has kept him from reaching there. Tyler has shot less than 35 percent
from the field in three of the last four games. Kirk Korver (9.2 ppg), like
his brother Kyle of the Atlanta Hawks, punches his meal ticket from long range
where he has shot at a 40.6 percent clip. Fred Chatmon (7.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg)
hasn't lit up the scoreboard but is a more than capable frontcourt option.
Louisville was absolutely dominating against Charleston in Tuesday night's
rout. The Cardinals forced 27 turnovers which they converted into 30 points,
scored 40 points in the paint and limited Charleston to just 34.8 percent
shooting. Peyton Siva scored 12 points and collected five steals in 26 minutes
on the court.
Forwards Wayne Blackshear (8.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and Chane Behanan (9.5 ppg, 8.2
rpg) have had to pick up the pace in the frontcourt in Dieng's absence and
thus far the two have done a solid job. Behanan has scored in double figures
in each of the two games without Dieng and has averaged 7.5 rebounds per game
during that time. Blackshear was held scoreless in the first game but put in
18 points against Charleston. The real scorers on the roster are in the
backcourt in Siva and Russ Smith. It has Smith that has been most spectacular
(19.0 ppg) while Siva (11.8 ppg, 5.6 apg) has taken a more complementary role
in running the point. Each makes life difficult for opposing backcourts by
picking up more than 2.5 steals per game. Pitino's squad is predicated on
stingy defense. The Cardinals are allowing only 53.9 points per game and a
39.7 field goal percentage to foes. The key has been limiting ball movement
with teams managing only 8.8 assists per game against the Cardinals. Both the
team's defensive scoring average and allowed assists rank within the top 15
in the country.
The Sports Network