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The Layup Line: Louisville, Again

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Beating the Cardinals is hard. Beating the Cardinals twice in 20-something days is ridiculous.

Andy Lyons

The Bearcats play Louisville at Fifth Third Arena on Saturday, and that's a tough task. No kidding. I'm bailing on this preview, though; it's been a long week.

As you may have gathered from my last article, I've been down in Orlando for the past week - which means I've put in 12-14 hour days for my company. No, it's not glamorous at all. And, yes, I'm whining; hang in there.

Needless to say, I haven't had time to even think about one of the biggest games of the year, so I'm mailing this one in.

The Louisville Cardinals (22-4) are still pretty darn good. They're a game and a half back of the Bearcats in the AAC standings, and they've won five in a row. And you better believe they remember Cincinnati escaping with a huge victory earlier this year.

  • Game: Saturday, February 22, 2014; 12:00pm EST
  • Location: The Shoemaker Center/Fifth Third Arena; Cincinnati, OH
  • TV/Radio: CBS; 700 WLW

It'll be packed. It'll be rowdy. It'll be everything you've ever wanted in a college basketball game in February.

And, if you're a student, you'll grab one of these bad boys:

What the 'Cats have to do to win:

  • Protect the Ball. Louisville's press is nasty. The Bearcats survived earlier this year but didn't look great at times.
  • Make Free Throws. Getting the Cardinals in foul trouble will help combat their pressure, and if they sink their free ones, the 'Cats will feel good on Saturday.
  • Rebound. Yup, this one's a staple. JJ's gotta stay out of foul trouble and bring down at least 7 boards.

My prediction: Don't kill me for this; I told you I was mailing it in. Beating UL twice in a season is ridiculous. I think the Shoe will be rocking, but the Cardinals come to play on offense. Cronin uses plenty of time-outs early to help short circuit Louisville's offense, but it's not enough: Cardinals 71-66.

Oh - and I have no idea what Cronin's wearing, but I hope it's not a Col. Sanders' suit... Don't screw me, Delta; wheels better be down by the targeted 10:40 on Saturday. I've got a game to get to...