Louisville vs. Missouri (5.5, 133)
Two of the top point guards in the nation coming off very different games headline a showdown between two unbeaten teams Friday when No. 2 Louisville squares off against No. 14 Missouri in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. The Tigers’ Phil Pressey was selected as the Southeastern Conference’s Preseason Player of the Year and played like it in Thursday’s 78-70 victory over Stanford with 18 points and nine assists. Conversely, the Cardinals’ Peyton Siva – named the Big East’s Preseason Player of the Year – shot 3-of-12 from the field and scored only seven points as Louisville held off Northern Iowa 51-46 in the hard-fought defensive struggle Thursday.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
ABOUT MISSOURI (4-0): Laurence Bowers had 13 points in the second half Thursday, continuing a season-long theme. The 6-8 junior has scored 55 of his 65 points this season after the break. Missouri overcame a long dry spell in its win over Stanford as it converted only three field goals over the final 9:10, but made up for it by going 10-of-11 from the free-throw line. Even though Earnest Ross recorded his second double-double of the season, he had a day to forget in the first-round win, going 3-of-19 from the field, including 0-of-5 beyond the arc.
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (4-0): The Cardinals, who shot 27 percent from the field and committing 10 turnovers in the first half, forced 12 consecutive missed shots and held the Panthers scoreless for a 10:26 stretch in the second half. But Louisville scored only five points over a 10:13 span toward the end of the game, allowing an 18-point lead to get trimmed to two. The Cardinals have held each of their opponents to 54 or less points and forced at least 21 turnovers three times this season, but their 30.6 percent shooting Thursday will need to improve against a Tigers' defense limiting opponents to 34.7 percent from the field.
* Over is 11-0 in Tigers' last 11 overall.
* Tigers are 7-1 ATS in their last eight neutral site games.
* Cardinals are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 games overall.
1. Missouri, which is 17-0 against non-conference opponents under second-year coach Frank Haith, is 2-1 all-time against Louisville.
2. Tigers C Alex Oriakhi, a Connecticut transfer, averaged 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds in six career games against the Cardinals, but his Huskies went only 1-5 in those games.
3. In the win over Northern Iowa, Louisville had more turnovers (20) than assists (12) for the first time since losing to Kentucky in the Final Four last season.