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    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Men’s Basketball Facebook Page
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    With its most tumultuous week in years - and maybe ever - now behind it the University of Louisville men’s basketball team will try to carry over the momentum from its big win at Florida State on Wednesday night.

    That’s when the Cardinals (23-6 overall, 11-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference), who are coming off an 81-59 win (their second since Chris Jones was dismissed from the team) over the Seminoles this past Saturday, host the Fighting Irish (24-5, 12-4) at 7 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center in a battle of Top 20 teams. The game between Louisville, which is No. 14 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 16 in the Associated Press Top 25, and No. 11/12 Notre Dame will be televised on ESPN2.

    This is a very important game for the Cards, who are fourth in the league standings, as they try to clinch a double-bye in next week’s ACC Tournament and - according to coach Rick Pitino at his Tuesday press conference - a high seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

    “Our goal is to become a three seed,” Pitino said.

    UofL will likely need two wins in its final two regular-season games (the Cards host No. 2 Virginia on Saturday), and a good showing in the conference tourney, to have a chance at that.

    Louisville has its work cut out for itself against Notre Dame, which is third in the ACC. The Fighting Irish are one of the top offensive teams in the country, ranking second in field goal percentage (50.8) and ninth in points per game (79.1).

    “We have a great defensive challenge that lies ahead,” Pitino said.

    Notre Dame is led by 6-foot-5 senior guard Jerian Grant (16.9 ppg, 6.6 apg), 6-5 senior swingman Pat Connaughton (13.1 ppg, 8 rpg), 6-10 junior forward Zach Auguste (12.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg), 6-1 sophomore guard Demetrius Jackson (12.2 ppg), 6-5 sophomore guard Steve Vasturia (9.2 ppg), 6-8 sophomore forward V.J. Beachem (7.3 ppg) and 6-5 freshman forward Bonzie Colson (5.4 ppg).

    The Fighting Irish won 20 of its first 22 games, but have lost three of its last seven, including a 65-60 setback to Syracuse last Tuesday.

    UofL leads the all-time series against Notre Dame 20-12 and has won 10 of the past 15. Eight of those games have gone to overtime with the Cards winning five of them (the Fighting Irish, however, won the last one - the 104-101 five-OT thriller Feb. 9, 2013).

    “They’ve always been exciting games. Certainly we appreciate their style and we have great camaraderie with them. It’s a friendly rivalry, we look forward to it,” Pitino said.

    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Men’s Basketball Facebook Page

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