Louisville Cardinals at Duke Blue Devils
Louisville Cardinals preview
The Louisville Cardinals have recovered from a two-game skid to win three in a row as they enter their third consecutive road game, Saturday at Duke. The team’s strength comes from its experience — the starting lineup in the past four games has featured two redshirt seniors, a grad student and two juniors — although a freshman, David Johnson, is increasing his impact.
The 6-foot-5 guard, previously slowed by a preseason shoulder injury, posted career highs in points (11), assists (four) and minutes (20) on Tuesday in the Cardinals’ overtime win at Pitt. Coach Chris Mack calls Johnson “uber-talented,” and the freshman should continue to rise to help support potential All-American Jordan Nwora (20.4 points per game).
Duke Blue Devils preview
Coming off a stunning 79-72 loss at Clemson on Tuesday, Duke is in danger of losing consecutive games for the first time since February 2018. The Blue Devils, already missing freshman forward Wendell Moore Jr. (hand surgery), also played Tuesday without high-energy wing Joey Baker, who is expected back Saturday after recovering from an ankle injury.
Freshman center Vernon Carey Jr. leads Duke in scoring (17.6 points per game) and rebounding (8.5 per game), although his free-throw shooting can be problematic. He is at 59.1 percent for the season, and he converted a combined 8 of 20 in the team’s two losses. The Blue Devils rank in the national top five in adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, according to kenpom.com.