StraitCards Previews: Louisville Cardinals (13-4, 1-3) vs. DePaul Blue Demons (10-6, 1-3)

Date – Saturday, January 14, 2012
Location – KFC Yum! Center/Crum Court, Louisville, KY. (22,000)
Time – 4:04 p.m. ET
Television – BIG EAST Network (WHAS-TV local) Anthony Calhoun, play-by-play; Bob Valvano, analyst
Radio – WHAS (840 AM) Paul Rogers, play-by-play; Doug Ormay, analyst
Series – UofL leads 35-21 (20-7 in Louisville, 15-2 in Chicago, 0-2 neutral)
Last – UofL 61- DePaul 57 (Feb. 5, 2011 at KFC Yum! Center)
Officials – Michael Stephens, Tony Greene, Paul Faia

The Cards are struggling. They haven’t won games we thought they should. They aren’t playing good basketball right now. At all.

One of these days the Cards are going to put together some points and win a game and the way the schedule looks the next couple of weeks they have a great opportunity to turn it around now.

On Saturday the DePaul Blue Demons come to the Yum! and bring with them a 1-3 conference record. The Blue Demons and Cards may have the same record but that is where the comparisons end.

The Cards can’t score points. The Blue Demons can.

Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young have been scoring at a good clip all season. The pair of sophomores from Baltimore has done their thing this season after both being named to the 2011 BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.

clevelandmelvin StraitCards Previews: Louisville Cardinals (13 4, 1 3) vs. DePaul Blue Demons (10 6, 1 3)

Cards big men will have to stop Cleveland Melvin without fouling Saturday.

Melvin was the 2011 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and averaged 14.3 points per game. This season he is leading the team in scoring for the second consecutive year and averaging 18.6 points per contest and 6.4 rebounds.  He plays a post position for DePaul and does most of his scoring inside, but has stepped outside and shot the three a little bit this year. He will get to the line and will be a tough match up for Louisville post players who have struggled to stay out of foul trouble lately.

Young, DePaul’s second leading scorer at 17.1 points per game, is the teams leading assist man, averaging 4.9 assists. Young has the ability to hit the three too, but really gives the team a boost on the defensive end of the floor.

DePaul ranks 13th nationally in steals with an average of 9.3 steals per game. Like the Cards, DePaul puts pressure on their opponents, so expect a back and forth fast paced affair when the two teams meet.

Young’s backcourt mate Jermemiah Kelly plays a big role on defense too providing pressure on the ball and also does his part on the offensive end by scoring and passing the ball. Kelly is the DePaul’s leading three point shooter having made 34 threes on the year. Kelly is one of two Blue Demons to hit 30 threes so far this year, with Moses Morgan hitting his 30th Tuesday in a 94-73 loss to Seton Hall. The Cards have given up their share of three pointers recently so watch out for these two on Saturday. Last season Morgan, Kelly and Young each hit a pair of threes in a close 61-57 Cards victory in Louisville.

depaul StraitCards Previews: Louisville Cardinals (13 4, 1 3) vs. DePaul Blue Demons (10 6, 1 3)

The Cards will have to find an answer for the three point shooting of Brandon Young (20) and Moses Morgan (15) or they will be seeing a lot of this Saturday.

Morgan comes off the bench for DePaul and plays on the wing. Forward Jamee Crockett and center Krys Faber join Melvin, Young and Kelly in the starting lineup and provide some size inside. What they don’t do is provide strong rebounding.

The Blue Demons have struggled to clean up on the glass and that is an area of the game where the Cards will have the clear advantage.

Like the last few games that the Cardinals have lost they have three big keys to success. They need to keep their big men out of foul trouble, they need to find consistent play at point guard and they need to finish around the rim. Coming into the season these three keys felt like the only three things to rely on, but here we are.

Saturday’s game will be the first of two with DePaul this season as the two teams will meet in Chicago on February 18.

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