No. 14 Louisville has an impressive 15-3 record that includes four wins in its last five games, but the Cardinals lack a signature victory and, while Connecticut is unranked, a road win over the Huskies on Saturday would be a good place to start. The defending national champion Cardinals have lost to the three toughest opponents on their schedule - North Carolina, Kentucky and Memphis - although they are coming off back-to-back victories against Southern Methodist and Houston. Thursday's 91-52 triumph over Houston came without starting guard Chris Jones (oblique), who is third on the team in scoring at 11.3 points."I wish Chris was playing - he's not going to play," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said of the matchup pitting a pair of former Big East rivals now in the American Athletic Conference. "I wish he was - but I have a lot of confidence in Tim Henderson." Henderson, a walk-on who has provided Louisville with valuable minutes in the past, made two of the Cardinals' 15 3-pointers against Houston. Meanwhile, Connecticut was an efficient 8-of-19 from 3-point range in Thursday's win over No. 17 Memphis, including a 4-of-5 effort by DeAndre Daniels.TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPNABOUT LOUISVILLE (15-3, 4-1 AAC): While leading scorer Russ Smith (18.1 points) and Luke Hancock (10.5), the reigning Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, generate most of the attention for Louisville, contributions have come from many different sources this season. Wayne Blackshear was the Cardinals' latest standout star on Thursday, scoring a career-high 23 points off the bench. Smith has scored at least 18 points in seven straight games, but he also has recorded at least four turnovers in six of his last eight contests. ABOUT CONNECTICUT (14-3, 2-2): The Huskies have won three straight games following back-to-back losses at Houston and SMU earlier this month. They have a solid resume that includes wins over Maryland, Florida, Washington and Memphis, thanks in large part to the play of Shabazz Napier (16.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.2 assists), who leads the team in all three major categories. Connecticut's five leading scorers all shoot at least 40 percent from 3-point range, led by Niels Giffey (56.4 percent) and Daniels (48.1).TIP-INS1. Louisville leads the all-time series 8-6. Smith scored 23 points in last season's 15-point victory at Connecticut.2. Smith is 10-of-15 from 3-point range over his last three games.3. Napier is battling through a shooting slump, connecting at a 31.8 percent rate over his last four contests.PREDICTION: Connecticut 70, Louisville 66
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