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NCAAW Preview: No. 2 Louisville scrambles to schedule rematch with UT Martin

The No. 2 Louisville Cardinals seek another comfortable win over the UT Martin Skyhawks. It could be the seventh victory by 18-plus in eight games for Dana Evans and company.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 07 ACC Women’s Tournament - Florida State v Louisville
Dana Evans (with ball) and the Cardinals did not expect to face UT Martin again this season.
Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The No. 2 Louisville Cardinals were scheduled to play the UNC Tar Heels at 2:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, but due to a positive test within the UNC program, that game has been postponed. The Cardinals have scheduled a rematch with the UT Martin Skyhawks at the same time instead.

Louisville defeated UT Martin 85-67 on Dec. 6 in what was the first game of the season for the Skyhawks and the fourth game of the season for the Cardinals. Louisville remains unbeaten at 7-0 (1-0 ACC), while UT Martin now stands at 2-2 (1-1 Ohio Valley Conference).

Highlights: Louisville and UT Martin have already played each other in 2020-21

UT Martin has wins over the Samford Bulldogs (Dec. 8) and Southeast Missouri Redhawks (Dec. 18), while its other loss came to the Jacksonville State Gamecocks (Dec. 30). But the Skyhawks started 1-3 last year and still finished 22-10 overall (16-2 OVC). They even gave the Cardinals a run for their money in a double overtime loss on Dec. 19, 2019. And they still have their star player from last year, Chelsey Perry. She averaged 23.1 points per game last year and is averaging 27 this year.

Louisville, on the other hand, is having a typical year for its program and is again in the national championship discussion after winning at least a share of the ACC regular season championship the past three seasons. Led by WNBA Draft prospect Dana Evans (19.4 scoring average), the Cardinals average 88.6 points per game (seventh in the nation) compared to the Skyhawks’ 67.5. Louisville has plenty of co-stars, too, with Olivia Cochran (13.9), Kianna Smith (13.6) and Hailey Van Lith (13.1) averaging double-figure scoring as well.

Louisville has a ranked win over the No. 20 DePaul Blue Demons (Dec. 4) and defeated the Duke Blue Devils in its one ACC contest so far on Dec. 9. Both wins came in blowout fashion. After winning a competitive game over the Northern Kentucky Norse on Friday, the Cardinals got back to their dominant ways by demolishing Bellarmine on Saturday. So they have momentum, while the Skyhawks are coming off their loss to Jacksonville State.

Game Information

UT Martin (2-2, 1-1 OVC) vs. No. 2 Louisville Cardinals (7-0, 1-0 ACC)

When: Tuesday, Jan. 5 at 2:30 p.m. ET

Where: KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY

How to watch/listen: ACC Network on ESPN/Radio: 790-AM WKRD (Louisville, KY)

Key to the matchup: 3-point shooting defense. Louisville’s average margin of victory this year is 29.7 so the Skyhawks have their work cut out for them. However, UT Martin does have an advantage when it comes to 3-point shooting. It is shooting a better percentage than the Cardinals (33.9 to 29.5), but Louisville clamps down on perimeter shooters, allowing an opponent 3-point percentage of just 23.3. UT Martin’s one way of gaining an edge may be keeping Louisville’s 3-point percentage on the low side because the Cardinals have struggled in that department.

Reason to watch: UT Martin took Louisville to double overtime last year. Whether that happens again or not, Chelsey Perry is a player to watch for the Skyhawks. And, of course, so is Dana Evans for the Cardinals.