Louisville, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - In the second part of a five-game homestand, the seventh-ranked Louisville Cardinals will play host the UMKC Kangaroos in a non-conference affair at the KFC Yum! Center.
UMKC is still trying to find its footing on the season as it is holding just one win in six tries on the campaign. The most recent loss came at home, as the Kangaroos fell short against Milwaukee (84-79). UMKC has already faced a ranked team this season but was pounded to the tune of a 110-51 final against No. 17 Iowa State. UMKC begins a three-game homestand next starting against Youngstown State on Saturday.
Louisville took out its frustration following its first loss of the season on Southern Miss last Friday. The Cardinals trampled the Golden Eagles en route to a 69-38 victory. The win moved the Cardinals to 6-1 on the season as they continue this extended homestand. Louisville will take on Louisiana next.
Last year Louisville crushed UMKC, 99-47, in the first-ever meeting between the programs.
There were 10 lead changes during UMKC's battle with Milwaukee, but in the end the Kangaroos didn't have enough to pull out the win. The Kangaroos were lit up from 3-point range in the game, as they were on the short end of a 24-3 difference in scoring from beyond the arc.
UMKC has consistently been the victim of large point totals from its opponents, due to some shaky defensive efforts. UMKC is letting up 90 points per game on 48.9 percent shooting. The Kangaroos consistently fail to keep passing lanes closed, letting up 19.3 assists per game. Martez Harrison (17.5 ppg) has done all he can to keep the Kangaroos in contention. Besides being the team's leading scorer, he has also posted 2.3 steals per contest. Trinity Hall (11.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg) handles things down low but has some range as a shooter. Nelson Kirksey (11.2 ppg) adds some more scoring depth.
Louisville turned up the pressure defensively to slay the Golden Eagles. The Cardinals forced 22 turnovers, which were traded in for 21 points, and also limited Southern Miss to just 28.9 percent shooting. Russ Smith only scored 11 points in the contest, but managed six assists and four steals as well.
The Cardinals earned a national title last season thanks to their impressive defensive acumen. Not much has changed this year as the Cardinals are letting up just 58.1 points per game on 39.5 percent shooting from the floor. On the other end the Cardinals are netting 82.4 points per game and connecting on 45.4 percent from the field. Smith (18.9 ppg, 3.9 apg) is not usually so generous with his passes nor subdued as a scorer. Most nights Smith can be counted on to challenge for 20 points. Chris Jones (15 ppg) is another solid scorer and the team leader in steals (2.4 pg), while Montrezl Harrell (12.3 ppg, 9.7 rpg) is as sturdy as anyone in the frontcourt.