PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers (7-7, 1-0) welcomes defending national champion and No. 14/10-ranked Louisville (12-2, 1-0) to the RAC on Saturday (Jan. 4) for a 6 p.m. tip-off. The Scarlet Knights will be working to win their fourth straight, while the Cardinals will be looking to capture their second consecutive win and eighth in their past nine games. The match-up marks the last of six consecutive home games for RU. Rutgers baseball great and current Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier will be signing free autographs pre-game from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. and The Amazing Christopher will perform at halftime.
The Scarlet Knights are 1-11 all-time against defending national champions. The last time RU played a defending national champion, however, they defeated No. 8-ranked UConn 67-60 at the RAC on Jan. 7, 2012. Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) had 14 points in the win.
The game will be televised live nationally on the CBS Sports Network with Sean Grande calling the action, Steve Lappas providing the analysis and Susannah Collins offering courtside reports. On the radio, the contest will be broadcast live on the Rutgers IMG Sports Network, WOR 710 AM in New York, WCTC 1450 AM in New Brunswick and Sirius/XM channel 91. Chris Carlin will serve as play-by-play announcer and Dick Lloyd will provide commentary. WRSU (88.7) will also broadcast the game.
Saturday evening’s contest marks the 13th meeting between the schools dating back to 1975, with the Cardinals holding an 11-1 advantage in victories. The Scarlet Knights are 1-4 at home versus UofL. RU last defeated then No. 22 Louisville 65-56 at the RAC on Jan. 28, 2006. Last season, Rutgers trailed by just two heading into halftime, but could not withstand No. 11/12 Louisville’s second half surge, falling 68-48 at the RAC. Mack had 12 points in the defeat.
Redshirt junior forward Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) shot 8-of-12 to score 18 points, including 14 in the second half, to help Rutgers to a 71-66 win over Temple Wednesday evening at the RAC in the AAC opener. Senior forward Wally Judge (Washington, D.C.) added 12 points and nine rebounds, as the Scarlet Knights out-scored the Owls 34-26 in the paint in a contest that featured nine ties and 20 lead changes. Senior forward J.J. Moore (Brentwood, N.Y.) and Mack joined Jack and Judge in double figures, adding 12 and 10 points, respectively. Rutgers’ defense limited Temple to 33.3 percent (24-of-72) shooting. The Scarlet Knights were buoyed by a 50 percent (16-of-32) performance in the second half, en route to making 28-of-61 field goals (45.9 percent) overall.
Mack ranks third in the AAC in steals (2.1), fifth assists (4.4), tied for sixth in three-point field goals made (2.0), and eighth in both scoring (16.1) and free throw percentage (.846). Judge is fifth in rebounding (7.3) and sixth in field goal percentage (.567).
Louisville, under the leadership of 13th-year head coach Rick Pitino, earned a convincing 90-65 win at UCF on Tuesday. Russ Smith, who leads the team with a 17.4 points-per-game average, shot 8-of-14 and 6-of-10 behind the arc to post 24 points as the Cardinals shot 55 percent and 52 percent from behind the arc. Smith added nine assists as UofL dished-out 28 helpers on 34 field goals. The Cardinals lead the AAC in scoring offense (85.0), scoring margin (+23.6), turnover margin (+8.21), assist/turnover ratio (1.6) and three-point field goals made (8.5).