(State Hosts Louisville; Thursday, January 20th, 7:30 P.M.; ESPN)
In the biggest ACC game of the 2021-22 season for women's basketball, State hosts Louisville. The Associated Press ranks State 4th behind 3rd ranked Louisville. Note that Louisville is the only team other than South Carolina to receive first place votes-received 2.
State's record against Louisville is 5 wins and 8 losses with one of State's wins being that in the finals of the 2021 ACC Tournament, a 58-56 win.
State's longest winning streak against Louisville to date is the two wins last season. State's other win over Louisville as an ACC member school was in overtime at Louisville on February 2, 2017, a 72-70 win.
Louisville's last win was at Boston College, a 63-53 win. Louisville started in that game six-foot redshirt senior Kianna Smith, five-seven sophomore Hailey Van Lith, six-three sophomore Olivia Cochran, six-one senior Emiley Engstler and five-seven grad student Chelsie Hall. Five-seven senior Mykasa Robinson and five-nine grad student Ahlana Smith off the bench played 24 and 21 minutes respectively. Smith led Louisville in scoring in that game with 18 hitting 8-13 shots from the floor; 2-3 from the arc. Van Lith had 16 for Louisville hitting 6-16 shots from the floor; 1-3 from the arc. Engstler for the game had 7 boards and 6 steals. Note that Engstler is a transfer from Syracuse and one of the many players who left Syracuse at the end of last season.
From warrennolan, Louisville has an overall record of 15-1, has a conference record of 5-0, has a Live RPI of 7, has a NET of 5, has an ELO of 2, has an SOS of 27 and has a quad one record of 4-1. Louisville has two solid wins. One is over UConn, but UConn was without Paige Bueckers so that is suspect. The other win is not suspect. That win was an at home win over RPI 8 Michigan who crushed a Maryland team playing at home 69-49.
Also from warrennolan, State's overall record is 16-2, their conference record is 7-0, their Live RPI is 3, their NET is 2, their ELO is 5, their SOS is 4 and their quad one record is 4-2. State's best win to date is that on the road over Indiana. Their most satisfying wins are over ranked conference opponents UNC and Duke.
Here is what bothers with regard to State. To date State has not played any of the top teams in the conference on the road, but that is coming with future games at UNC, Duke and VaTech and maybe a make-up game at Notre Dame.
With regard to the predictions, R1 likes State 68-62 with a 70% win probability while ELO likes State 66-64 with a 56% win probability.
From Her Hoop Stats, Lobo's Look likes State 68.4 to 62.8 with a 68.7% win probability. Her Hoops Stats predictions with the game at State likes State 68.4 to 62.8 with a 68.7% win probability-same as Lobo. Her Hoops Stats Ratings gives Louisville a value of 38.8 and a rank of 4/356 while the site gives State a value of 41.9 and a rank of 2/356.
Note that State is the 4th best team in field goal percentage nationally at 47.62 while Louisville is the 31st at 45.19. Conference wise State is the highest scoring team at 79.72 points per game while Louisville is 8th at 70.56. With regard to team defense, Louisville is 2nd while State is 6th giving up respectively 49.44 ppg to 56.78 ppg. With regard to arc shooting State and Louisville conference wise are first and second at 409 and 369 respectively.
Having watched a number of Louisville games, I note that their pressure defense is pretty good and is always lauded by the analyst and play-by-play persons. The question becomes, can State handle that defense. My opinion until otherwise proven is that Raina Perez and Kayla Jones will handle it and State will win, but it will be a close game.