David Johnson and the Louisville Cardinals are off to a 4-0 start despite losing their top five scorers from last season. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)
- Louisville is a 10.5-point favorite over visiting UNC-Greensboro on Friday in the Wade Houston Classic at the KFC Yum! Center
- The Cardinals are off to a 4-0 start despite losing 75% of their scoring and 66% percent of their rebounding from last season’s 24-7 team
- Reigning Southern Conference Player of the Year Isaiah Miller is averaging 21.7 points per game for UNC-Greensboro
Louisville has been one of the busiest teams in the country during the early stages of a pandemic-altered college basketball season.
The unbeaten Cardinals will be playing for the fifth time in eight days at 2:00 p.m. ET Friday (Dec. 5th) when they host UNC-Greensboro in the Wade Houston Classic at the KFC Yum! Center.
Despite being in rebuilding mode, Louisville is off to a 4-0 start and a sizeable favorite in this game. The Cardinals are 2-2 against the spread.
UNC-Greensboro vs Louisville Odds
|UNC-Greensboro||+460||+10.5 (-118)||Over 138.5 (-110)|
|Louisville||-620||-10.5 (-104)||Under 138.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Dec. 3 from FanDuel
UNC-Greensboro has lost two games in a row since winning its opener. The Spartans are also 1-2 ATS.
Jones to The Rescue
Graduate transfer Carlik Jones has been a huge addition for Louisville, which lost 75 percent of its scoring and 66 percent of its rebounding from last season’s 24-7 team.
Furthermore, two key Cardinals are injured and have yet to play this season.
Jones is leading the team with 17.3 points, 5.3 assists and 36.3 minutes played a game. The guard has shown he can handle the step up in competition after being the Big South Player of the Year last season at Radford.
Smooth? That’s @CarlikJones 😎 pic.twitter.com/5LRlYX2eRA
— Louisville Basketball (@LouisvilleMBB) December 3, 2020
In Louisville’s 75-54 victory over visiting Western Kentucky on Tuesday night, Jones showed his all-round skills. He finished 18 points, six rebounds and four assists.
The Cardinals easily covered as four-point favorites.
Freshman guard Dre Davis led Louisville with 21 points and has made an immediately impact on the Cardinals with a 12.5 scoring average.
Three other players are also scoring in double digits for Louisville, including sophomore guard David Johnson (12.3 ppg), freshman forward Jae’lyn Wither (11.8 ppg) and sophomore wing Samuell Williamson (11.5 ppg).
Johnson was an All-ACC preseason pick. He can do a little bit of everything as evidenced by his 17 points, eight assists, six rebounds and four steals against Western Kentucky.
2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
UNC-Greensboro’s best player has also been its most consistent player during the early part of the season.
Senior point guard Isaiah Miller is leading the Spartans in points (21.7 a game), assists (3.7), steals (3.0) and minutes played (29.7).
Isaiah Miller back to doing Isaiah Miller things.@Nike_Beast23 #UNCG pic.twitter.com/tgT4UcBykt
— Patterson Hoops (@PattersonHoops) November 28, 2020
He also topped the team in scoring in each of its three games, including 22 on Wednesday night against Duquesne in Louisville. UNC-Greensboro lost to the Dukes 81-68 as a one-point underdog.
Miller is the reigning Southern Conference Player of the Year. He has also been a pick on the SoCon’s All-Defensive team each of the last two years.
Hayden Koval, a 7-foot-1 graduate transfer from Central Arkansas, is also making an impact. He has averages of 11.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.3 blocked shots a game.
Beside Miller, sophomore forward Angelo Allegri is UNC-Greensboro’s top outside scoring threat. He is averaging 10,7 points.
Louisville is without senior forward Malik Williams and graduate transfer guard Charles Minlend.
Williams is likely out through the end of January with a broken right field. Minlend is not expected to play until mid-to-late December because of sprained knee.
Louisville beats Western Kentucky without Samuell Williamson, Malik Williams, and Charles Minlend.
A promising sign in the 502. https://t.co/P9sXAcl7ZS
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) December 2, 2020
Williams is the Cardinals’ leading returning scorer and rebounder after posting averages of 8.5 and 6.1 last season. Minlend scored 14.5 points a game for San Francisco in 2019-20.
Meanwhile, Williamson is questionable for this game because of a toe injury.
This is the first-ever meeting between the schools.
Though UNC-Greensboro is favored to win the Southern Conference title, it is taking a step up in class by playing Louisville.
The Spartans will win their share of games this season but have a hard time keeping up with the Cardinals, who are rolling so far.
The Pick: Louisville -10.5 (-104)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.