Louisville ready for return to action vs. Syracuse

NCAA Basketball

Two weeks ago, Louisville ventured to New York to visit Syracuse only to turn back due to a positive COVID-19 test.

After three postponements, Louisville will resume its schedule Wednesday night when it hosts Syracuse.

The Cardinals (11-4, 6-3 ACC) have played the fewest ACC games out of the 15 teams due to five postponements. Earlier this season, they experienced postponements against North Carolina State and Georgia Tech and then saw their games postponed against Virginia and Pittsburgh after the postponement in Syracuse.

The Cardinals will be without two scholarship players due to the health and safety protocols. Coach Chris Mack will return to the sidelines after recovering from a bout with the virus and running practice Tuesday.

While Mack was recovering, the Cardinals practiced while being coached by assistant Dino Gaudio, who is optimistic about his team heading into its first game since a 74-58 home win over Georgia Tech on Feb. 1.

“I think we’ll be ready to go and I feel good about where we are in terms of our preparation,” Gaudio said Monday. “I feel good about where we are as far as conditioning and I am looking forward to — and I know they are — playing again.”

Louisville is hoping to shake off an uneven stretch of performances on Wednesday. The Cardinals are 2-3 in their past five games following a five-game winning streak from Dec. 22 to Jan. 13.

While the Cardinals did not disclose which players will be out, leading scorer Carlik Jones (17.4 points) is 9-for-31 (29 percent) in his last two games. Second-leading scorer David Johnson is coming off his best game of the season as he collected 24 points and 10 rebounds in 38 minutes on Feb. 1.

Syracuse (12-6, 6-5) has won two straight following a dreadful offensive showing in a 78-61 loss at Clemson on Feb. 6. At Clemson, the Orange shot a season-low 30 percent and missed 20 of 25 3-point attempts, but in wins over North Carolina State and Boston College, they shot 47.4 percent and hit 14 of 30 3-point tries.

On Saturday, Syracuse posted a 75-67 win when Joe Girard led five players in double figures with 16 points. Alan Griffin added 14 in a game Syracuse struggled to expand double-digit leads.

“We have to get great movement, we have to get great shots and we have to knock down some shots to be successful,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “These guys are doing everything they can to get there, but we have to play a lot better down the stretch than we did today to be able to win.”

Girard is Syracuse’s fourth-leading scorer and Griffin leads the team at 15.8 points. Girard has scored in double figures in consecutive games once this season while Griffin is 14 of 27 from the floor in his last two games since missing 11 of 13 shots at Clemson.

–Field Level Media

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