Louisville-Memphis Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 14, 2012
Ncaa_basketball_louisville_b3ca
Saturday will seem like old times when No. 6 Louisville travels to face Memphis. The game could also offer a look into the future, albeit briefly. The former Conference USA rivals will be meeting for the 87th time but this one has the feel of a Big East Conference game. That's because Memphis is scheduled to join Louisville in the league next season. For schools very familiar with each other, that makes their rivalry more intriguing even if Louisville has already announced it will be leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference. For the Cardinals (8-1), this is another test in a season that has seen them play Northern Iowa, Missouri and Duke. That Memphis reminds Louisville coach Rick Pitino of his own squad makes it that much more important, especially since the Tigers (6-3) began the season ranked. ''It's probably not, in our minds, as the big as the Kentucky rivalry but to a lot of the fans it's just as important as that game,'' Cardinals point guard Peyton Siva said. ''We're just going in here with the mindset that it's a top-ranked opponent. ''Memphis is always good, every year. We grew up watching them with the Derrick Roses and everything.'' Pitino's only regret is that Memphis and Louisville won't be conference rivals for long. He was a vocal advocate for adding Memphis to the Big East. While he's excited for Louisville's opportunity in the ACC he's disturbed by the tradition lost in the changing landscape of college athletics and what it has meant for schools like Memphis to be left in limbo. ''I pushed very hard for Memphis to get in the Big East,'' Pitino said. ''I feel bad that they were looking so forward to it and now it's falling apart. ''It's sad but we are corporations today. That's what it's all about. We are corporations and we're being taken over by bigger corporations.'' Pitino is more concerned though with the health of his team. Louisville is already without center Gorgui Dieng, who broke his left wrist in last month's Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Other players are hurting as well, causing Pitino to be more cautious in practice. ''I'm trying to hold this thing together right now and it hasn't been easy because we are a little banged up,'' he said. Siva said recent practices have been a bit shorter with less work on the team's signature press defense. The Cardinals have worked through injuries throughout his four years he said and Saturday's test against a physical opponent would be no different. ''I just think it's basically another Big East game,'' Siva said. ''We've played a lot of tough opponents in the Big East and we've dealt with it before.'' Siva, the Big East's preseason player of the year, has gotten a boost this year from backcourtmate Russ Smith. Smith's 24 points and seven steals last year against the Tigers were both career bests. He set a career high with 31 points in Louisville's last outing, a 99-47 win over Missouri Kansas City, and is averaging 20.3 points a game this season. ''It's a lot easier this year with him being able to attack, teams have to focus on him without the focus being just on me,'' Siva said. Louisville's offense has been sparked mainly by its defense. The Cardinals are forcing more than 22 turnovers a game and lead the nation in turnover margin at plus-9.2. Louisville has scored 35 percent of its points off turnovers and Smith (3.2 steals per game, fifth nationally) and Siva (2.7, third in Big East) are among the nation's top takeaway artists. ''Let's face it, when you're a big steal team you're going to get a lot of layups,'' Pitino said. ''There's no better fast break than a steal.'' Last year's matchup was the first since the 2005 Conference USA tournament championship game that saw Memphis guard Darius Washington Jr. collapse to the court after missing two of three free throws that would have won the game. Siva said his Louisville teammates don't know much about the long history between the schools but they do respect how much the game means to both cities. Especially since both schools could learn a lot about themselves from it.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Sacramento Kings seriously considering firing George Karl

Rick Pitino says school should be penalized, 'but not this team'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban defends hack-a-player strategy

Jameis Winston awarded Pepsi NFL rookie of the Year

Trade Rumors: Clippers ‘reluctant’ to deal injured Blake Griffin

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

$40,000 in Super Bowl tickets stolen from San Francisco hotel

Rams fan makes Super Bowl commercial ripping Stan Kroenke

Panthers LB wants 'clown' Rodney Harrison off the air

Jason Reid: Tom Brady will play at least three more years

Kirk Cousins says he has ‘very good relationship’ with RG3

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker