Louisville, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - The ninth-ranked Louisville Cardinals open up a two-game homestand on Wednesday evening, as they welcome the Pittsburgh Panthers to the KFC Yum! Center for an ACC affair.
Rick Pitino's Cardinals had a four-game win streak come to an end on Saturday, falling to then third-ranked Virginia in Charlottesville, 52-47. The loss dropped Louisville to 19-4 overall, with a 7-3 league ledger. UL is currently in fifth-place in the conference standings.
Jamie Dixon's Panthers are trying to get into contention and forge their way into the upper half of the standings. Pittsburgh has won three straight games with an upset of top-10 foe Notre Dame kicking off the set. Most recently, Pittsburgh topped Syracuse at home, 83-77 to move to 16-8 overall and 5-5 in the ACC.
Louisville leads the all-time series with Pittsburgh, 9-5. The Cardinals have won the last five meetings and are seeking the regular-season sweep after earning an 80-68 decision at Pitt on Jan. 25.
Jamel Artis continued his strong play, as the sophomore forward recorded his first-ever double-double, posting 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Panthers to victory over the Orange last time out. Michael Young also completed a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Three other Panthers notched double-figure point totals in the offensive eruption, with Sheldon Jeter (18 pts), Chris Jones (15 pts) and James Robinson (13 pts) all making sizable contributions at the offensive end for Pitt, which shot .483 from the floor in the win.
Artis has really come on strong of late, leading the Panthers in scoring in each of the last seven games, while upping his season average to 12.8 ppg. He has averaged 21.1 ppg during the seven-game run. Young still maintains the scoring lead on the team, posting 13.2 ppg. Robinson is also in double digits at 10.2 ppg, with Cameron Wright (9.1 ppg) and Jones (8.9 ppg) just under that mark.
Louisville had one of its worst offensive performances of the season last time out, as the stingy Cavaliers were at it once again, this time limiting the Cardinals to an ugly 47 total points, on just .370 shooting. The game was really decided in the turnover department, as Virginia scored 15 points off of 11 UL turnovers, while the Cards were held scoreless off of a mere two Virginia miscues. Terry Rozier led the way in defeat with 16 points. Montrezl Harrell and Chris Jones tacked on 13 and 11 points, respectively, although only Wayne Blackshear managed to add anything more to the scoring column for Louisville with eight points.
The Cardinals are usually much more effective on offense, averaging a decent 72.0 ppg. However, just like the Virginia game, only the team's top four players can usually be counted on offensively. Rozier is an explosive scorer in the backcourt, as the 6-1 sophomore ranks second in the league at 18.3 ppg. Harrell is the perfect complement in the frontcourt, ranking seventh in the ACC in scoring (15.2 ppg) and fifth in rebounding (9.0 rpg). Jones (13.6 ppg) and Blackshear (11.0 ppg) are the only other viable scoring threats on the roster. The fifth-best scorer (Chinanu Onuaku) averages just 3.2 ppg. Louisville does play tough defense though, limiting opponents to a meager 58.5 ppg, on just .373 shooting.