NCAA BK

ETSU-Louisville Preview

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Louisville has played 53 prior seasons at Freedom Hall, and hopes to make its final one at the facility memorable. The No. 20 Cardinals play their last home opener at Freedom Hall on Saturday when they face East Tennessee State in the Hall of Fame Classic. Louisville (1-0) began play at Freedom Hall in 1956, and is 669-137 in the building. Next season, the Cardinals are set to move to a new $238 million downtown arena that holds more than 3,000 additional fans. The fans will get plenty of chances to see Louisville at Freedom Hall over the next six weeks. The Cardinals play 11 of their next 12 games at home and all eight in December. Coach Rick Pitino's club begins a stretch of three games in three days. Louisville hosts Morgan State on Sunday and Appalachian State on Monday as part of this event. The Cardinals' depth proved to be a major factor in a 96-66 win over Arkansas on Tuesday. Twelve players scored for Louisville, which took advantage of a short-handed Razorbacks squad that had only eight. "We had more numbers, we had fresher bodies," Pitino said. Every starter reached double figures for Louisville, but none had more points than Reginald Delk. The lightly used senior scored 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting after totaling 44 points last season - the first at Louisville for the Mississippi State transfer. "I hit a couple of jump shots and my confidence got up," Delk said. "I showed people I can still shoot. I hope they'll be counting on me." Samardo Samuels scored 17 and Jerry Smith added 14 for Louisville, which had 25 assists and 10 turnovers. Heralded freshman guard Peyton Siva had three points and two steals in 12 minutes in his debut. East Tennessee State (1-2) is finishing a three-game road stretch after losses to Chattanooga and Morgan State. Tommy Hubbard had 19 points and 10 rebounds in a 72-61 defeat to Morgan State on Thursday. The Buccaneers won the Atlantic Sun Conference last season and lost to Pittsburgh in the first round of the NCAA tournament. They are off to a slow start this season playing without preseason all-conference pick Mike Smith. The senior guard missed the first three games with a knee injury and it is unclear when he will make his debut. Smith averaged 15.3 points to help the Buccaneers go 23-11 last season. Louisville and East Tennessee State have never met. East Tennessee State coach Murry Bartow is 4-4 against Louisville from his tenure at Alabama-Birmingham from 1996-2002. Bartow handed legendary Cardinals coach Denny Crum the final loss of his Hall of Fame career, 71-64 at Freedom Hall on March 7, 2002.
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