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    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Men’s Basketball Facebook Page
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    On the heels of its huge comeback, and an enormously big win against North Carolina, the University of Louisville men’s basketball team is taking its talents to South Beach.

    The Cardinals (18-3, 6-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference), who are ranked No. 8 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 9 in The Associated Press Top 25 this week, play at Miami (14-7, 4-4) at 8 p.m. Tuesday night in Coral Gables, Fla. The game will be televised locally on WAVE-3.

    After his team rallied from an 18-point second-half deficit to defeat visiting UNC 78-68 in overtime this past Saturday, UofL coach Rick Pitino did something unusual, he gave his team the day off.

    “I think mentally, when you play two road games and you come back and you come back and hit with this comeback, I think...I have found that you have injuries, you have a bad practice,” he said after the victory over the Tar Heels. “I want my guys to go out, have good clean fun, enjoy themselves. Have fun, and then we’ll get ready with a little film work, and then head down to Miami.”

    Miami, which went 17-16 last season, started this season 10-3. Included in that stretch, though, was one of the most head-scratching outcomes of the season in all of college basketball, a 72-44 loss to Eastern Kentucky on Dec. 19. The Hurricanes, who were picked to finish 10th in the ACC preseason poll, then began their conference slate with an 89-80 double-overtime loss to Virginia on Jan. 3 before beating Boston College 60-56 and bombing host Duke 90-74 on Jan. 13. They have lost three out of their past five games, however, including their last two. Miami fell 75-70 at Notre Dame on Jan. 17 before beating North Carolina State (65-60) and winning at Syracuse (66-62). However the Hurricanes, who moved into both national polls after their win over the Orange, were blown out by Georgia Tech (70-50) last Wednesday, then lost a nail-biter at Florida State (55-54) Sunday.

    Miami is led by 6-foot-5 junior guard Sheldon McClellan (14.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg), 5-11 junior point guard Angel Rodriguez (13.4 ppg, 4.5 apg), 5-11 sophomore guard Manu Lecomte (8.9 ppg), 7-0 junior center Tonye Jekiri (8.1 ppg, 10 rpg), 6-2 freshman guard Deandre Burnett (7.6 ppg) and 6-6 sophomore guard Davon Reed (5.2 ppg).

    “They’re very talented, they’re very long,” Pitino said of the Hurricanes.  

    Louisville is 7-2 all-time vs. Miami and has won the last three meetings in the series. In the last one, Jerry Smith scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead UofL to an 82-59 win over the Hurricanes on Dec. 23, 2006.

    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Men’s Basketball Facebook Page

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