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Is Louisville ready to Duke it out?

When it comes to college hoops, nobody does it better than the states of Kentucky and North Carolina. It's a battle of bragging rights, as the Louisville Cardinals host the No. 18/16 Duke Blue Devils.

Photo by Pat McDonogh/The Courier-Journal
Louisville, KY -- The Louisville Cardinals look to keep their win streak alive as they face off against the No. 18/16 Duke Blue Devils.

Sitting Pretty

The Cardinals enter the match with the longest active win streak in the ACC boasting eight consecutive wins.

Louisville picked up its third consecutive conference win defeating Virginia Tech, 56-45. The Cardinals busted through the Hokies' tough defense, shooting 34.5% from the field. Louisville presented a defensive challenge for the Hokies forcing 21 Virginia Tech turnovers. The Cardinals were relentless on the glass, out rebounding the Hokies 37-29.

Louisville had three players post double-figures: Myisha Hines-Allen racked up her fourth double-double on the season putting up 18 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Briahanna Jackson posted 13 points, reaching 1,000 career points. Asia Durr had 10 points to go along with two rebounds and two steals.

Cortnee Walton attacked the glass grabbing 11 rebounds and posting four points. Walton has pulled down double-digit rebounds five times this season.

Fantastic Four

Louisville started out with three crucial players in Myisha Hines-Allen, Mariya Moore and Briahanna Jackson. However, a fourth impact player has emerged in conference play; Asia Durr. Durr tallied double-digits in three of the last five contests and posts 9.2 points on the season.

Myisha Hines-Allen leads the Cardinals in scoring putting up 15.5 points and pulling down 7.9 rebounds, while connecting on 51.9% of her shots. Jackson sits at second in scoring racking up 14.5 points and collecting a team-high, 44 steals. Moore rounds out the big three tallying 13.9 points and dishing out a team-best, 77 assists on the season.

Scouting the Blue Devils

The No. 18/16 Duke Blue Devils (12-4, 1-1 ACC) has emerged victorious in three of the last four games including a 95-68 win over Wake Forest on Thursday.

After a crushing 86-50 loss to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome, Duke bounced back and defeated Wake Forest. The Blue Devils shot a salient 53.8% from the field, connecting on 10-of-18 from beyond the arc. Duke converted 23 Wake Forest turnovers into 27 points.

Azurá Stephens paced the Blue Devils racking up 23 points and adding seven rebounds and three blocks. Kentucky native, Rebecca Greenwell recorded 21 points, connecting on 5-of-10 (50%) from three. Greenwell grabbed a team-high nine boards and collected four steals. Angela Salvadores added 18 points, hitting 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, while dishing out five assists.

On the season, Azurá Stephens leads the team in scoring, posting 18.1 points connecting on 55.1% from the field, while pulling down 9.0 rebounds. Greenwell racks up 14.1 points per game firing off a team-best 39 from the three. Salvadores is dishing out 61 assists and posting 8.2 points.

The Blue Devils are an offensive threat connecting on 46.6% from the field and limiting opponents to 34.7%.

Keys for the Cardinals

Louisville ranks 12th nationally in total steals with 167 on the season. The Blue Devils are one of the worst teams in the ACC turning the ball over (18.9 turnovers per game). In order for the Cardinals to upset No.18/16 Duke, Louisville has to not only force turnovers, but convert the turnovers into points.

Defense is going to be the name of the game for the Cardinals. Louisville needs all hands on deck. The Blue Devils hit 46.6% from the field. Louisville has to get defensive stops. Louisville has to limit Duke's offensive options.

Offensively, the Cardinals have to attack the rim. Louisville will need the Big Three (Hines-Allen, Moore and Jackson) plus Asia Durr and Cortnee Walton to not only put up big points, but pull down rebounds.

The Cardinals and the Blue Devils tip off on ESPN 3 at 1 PM EST.