New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of storied programs will meet up at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night as part of the Jimmy V Classic, as the Indiana Hoosiers take on the fourth-ranked Louisville Cardinals.
After suffering a head-scratching loss at home to Eastern Washington on Nov. 24, Indiana has righted the ship with three straight wins to pull to 7-1. The Hoosiers had one of their most dominating performances of the season on Saturday, as they closed out a season-opening eight-game homestand with a 95-49 triumph over Savannah State.
Louisville also finished a lengthy homestand in style in its most recent game, as it dismissed FIU on Friday, 82-57, to remain unbeaten in seven tries this season. This marks the Cardinals' second neutral-court contest on a national stage, having previously downed Minnesota in the Armed Forces Classic in Puerto Rico in the season opener, 81-68.
Indiana leads the all-time series with Louisville by a 10-6 count, and this is the first matchup between the programs since 2003.
The Hoosiers barely broke a sweat in their most recent game, as they opened up a commanding 43-17 lead at intermission and cruised to the 46-point victory from there. They outshot Savannah State from the field, 57.4 percent to 32.1 percent, had an outstanding night from 3-point range (10-of-21) and won the rebounding battle, 42-24. Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon, Jr. paced the winning effort with 18 points apiece, with Ferrell adding seven assists as well. Troy Williams and Robert Johnson netted 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Indiana has played at a high level on the offensive end of the court this season, as it shoots 52.4 percent from the field (including 43.9 percent from beyond the arc) on its way to 88.4 ppg, which is more than enough to support a modest scoring defense (69.2 ppg). Blackmon scores 19.5 ppg and has been lights out from long range (26-of-48). Ferrell is an elite playmaker on the perimeter with 17.3 ppg and 5.8 apg, while Williams (12.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and Johnson (11.1 ppg) have also been stellar.
The Cardinals faced an early deficit in their contest with FIU but quickly turned things around with an 18-0 burst and never looked back from there en route to the 25-point win. They were lights out from the field in shooting 57.1 percent, and they paired that with an excellent defensive effort in forcing FIU into more turnovers (25) than field goals (20). Pacing five players in double figures was Anton Gill, who provided a spark off the bench with 15 points. Montrezl Harrell tallied a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, Wayne Blackshear and Terry Rozier scored 12 points apiece and Chris Jones chipped in with 11 points.
It's no surprise that Louisville is one of the nation's top-ranked teams considering it has built up an astounding +26.7 scoring margin. The nation's third-ranked scoring defense (49.3 ppg) has stifled opponents to the tune of nearly 20 turnovers per game. Harrell (16.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg) is one of the best big men in the country and is making field goals at a 61.5 percent clip. Rozier (13.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Blackshear (12.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg) are also active in the paint, while Jones rounds out the double- digit scorers with 11.7 ppg.