Preview: Southern Methodist at Louisville
Eighth-ranked Louisville will try to avoid consecutive home losses for the first time since 2011-12 when Southern Methodist visits for a Sunday afternoon American Athletic Conference matchup. Cardinals coach Rick Pitino has consistently been upset with his team's defense, and mentioned it again after a 73-67 loss to No. 22 Memphis on Thursday. "Our defense is not as good this year, It hasn't been - I don't want to keep beating that horse to death, but it hasn't been," Pitino told reporters.SMU, meanwhile, comes in on a bittersweet note. The Mustangs defeated a ranked team for the first time in the Larry Brown era eight days ago with a 74-65 victory over then-No. 15 Connecticut, but got concerning news late this week when it was announced center Yanick Moreira has a partially torn MCL and will miss six weeks. "Now some guys who should have played more will have to step up, Cannen Cunningham and Ben Moore are two guys who will have to fill in," Brown told ESPN.com Friday.TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS Sports NetworkABOUT SOUTHERN METHODIST (11-3, 1-1 AAC): Moreira was the Mustangs third-leading scorer (9.1 points per game) and second leading rebounder (5.6), and as Brown mentioned, SMU will look to Moore and Cunningham to help fill the void. Moore has been the preferred option, averaging 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 12.6 minutes, but Cunningham was listed by SMU as the probable starter at the center position. His job can be made easier if point guard Nic Moore continues to put big numbers (13.9 points, 4.6 assists).ABOUT LOUISVILLE (13-3, 2-1 AAC): Between the ongoing Chane Behanan saga and Kevin Ware's comeback attempt falling short, it's been a tumultuous season for the defending champion, but one steady hand has been Russ Smith. Smith leads the team at 17.8 points per game and has added 4.8 assists as well. Up front, Montrezl Harris has been solid, tallying 11.9 points and 8.1 rebounds.TIP-INS1. The win over UConn was SMU's first over a ranked team since Dec. 21, 20032. Larry Brown and Rick Pitino have never met in the college ranks, but Brown led the all-time NBA series 11-6.3. SMU is ranked second nationally in field goal percentage defense at 35.8 percent.PREDICTION: Louisville 74, SMU 71
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