Western Kentucky gets a rare chance to host Louisville at Bowling Green, Ky., when the Cardinals pay a visit on Saturday afternoon. It will mark the first time Louisville has played there in seven years, since defeating the Hilltoppers 76-67 on Dec. 20, 2014.
Western Kentucky (7-4) is only 5-4 against Division I teams this season. The Hilltoppers routed Mississippi 71-48 on a neutral court in Atlanta on Saturday and afterward dedicated the victory to people back in the Bowling Green area still dealing with the after-effects of the deadly tornadoes that swept through the region last week.
That devastation still is inspiring the Hilltoppers going into this game.
“We’ll have to be at our best Saturday to have a chance at winning this game,” WKU coach Rick Stansbury said. “I know this, we need this arena packed. I know there’s a lot going on around town, but if you can get away for a couple of hours, maybe we can give you something different to think about and cheer for. … It’s going to be a great atmosphere in here.”
Jairus Hamilton (16.8 points, 6.4 rebounds) and Dayvion McKnight (14.2, 6.7) lead five scorers who average in double figures for the Hilltoppers.
Louisville (7-3) bounced back from a surprising loss to visiting DePaul on Friday by routing Southeastern Louisiana 86-60 on Tuesday. Malik Williams, who averages 10.9 points and 9.6 rebounds, had 15 points and 10 rebounds in that game. He is the only Cardinals player who averages double digits in scoring.
“It’s a great rivalry game,” Louisville coach Chris Mack said. “They certainly get up for us (and) we get up for them. … There is going to be a lot of emotion in the arena on Saturday and that’s a good thing. Our guys are looking forward to the challenge.
“Just because we’ve played well away from home the majority of the time doesn’t mean we’ve earned it on Saturday. We’ve got to have really good practices leading up to the game and go in there with an ‘outside the wire’ mentality.”
–Field Level Media