In the midst of one of the most remarkable stretches in Big East history, the Marquette Warriors (19-9, 10-6) aim to extend their recent hot-streak against the Louisville Cardinals on Al's Night at the Bradley Center. Winners in eight of their last nine outings, including the last three on the road in overtime, Marquette likely needs to win one of its remaining two home games to securely punch a ticket to the 2010 NCAA tournament.
Standing in the way tonight are the surging Louisville Cardinals (19-10, 10-6). Winners in four of their last five games, Pitino's Cards are battling to remain on the inside of the NCAA tournament bubble. Louisville's road win at UConn on Sunday proved that the Cardinals have turned the corner this season after baffling early season home losses to Western Carolina and Charlotte. In February the Cardinals topped UConn twice, won on the road at Syracuse and earned a tough overtime win over Notre Dame. A late-season push has become standard operating procedure for Pitino's teams at Louisville.
Coming down the stretch run of his college career Lazar Hayward is playing his best basketball of the season. Hayward turned in back-to-back 20 point outings in the wins over St. John's and Seton Hall, the first time he's accomplished that in more than a month. Senior Maurice Acker remains steady at the point, delivering 17 assists against just three turnovers in 112 combined minutes on the recent road trip. Still, Acker's shooting has suffered of late, he hit just 31% from the floor on the road trip but remained clutch in the waning moments of each game.
The Cardinals have topped Marquette seven of the last eight times. Let that sink in a bit. That sucks! This stretch includes getting shellacked 99-52 in 2005, losing 64-61 as Louisville scored the final 14 points of the game, and Jerry @#$%^& Smith! After a stretch that saw several classic games for the two programs, the matchup has now tilted squarely back to Louisville. However, in modern history (the series resumed in earnest in 1996) there have been several strong runs by each side so the overall matchup stands at 12-13. Let's even it up tonight. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 pm Marquette Standard Time on ESPNU.
- It's Al's Night tonight. Read up on this sweet article by Dan McGrath, and Give 'em hell
- Here is the official GoMarquette.com release, including their Game Notes.
- Card Chronicle has their list of the Ten most memorable MU-UL games. Good and bad.
- Rosiak's pre-game blog.
- Rosiak's weekly Warriors Report.
- The Llama looks at MU's potential seeding.
- Louisville Courier-Journal on tonight's tilt.
Hopefully after tonight Al will be dancing in Basketball Heaven......
Expect a white knuckler tonight in Milwaukee.
**co-authored by Tim and Rob.