Louisville vs Memphis

Time: 02:00 P.M. EST
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Rick Pitino has Louisville playing well heading into March again. Memphis coach Josh Pastner wants his senior guards to wake up from their "zombie mode."

Saturday would be good timing.

The 21st-ranked Tigers host No. 7 Louisville just 41 hours after both teams played Thursday night. Louisville won its seventh straight game and remains tied with Cincinnati atop the American Athletic Conference. The Cardinals (24-4, 13-2) can split the season series with a win Saturday after Memphis won in Louisville in January.

Memphis lost 77-68 at Houston, and Pastner called out struggling senior guards Chris Crawford, Joe Jackson and Geron Johnson. The trio combined for 15 points and eight turnovers in a loss that essentially cost Memphis (21-7, 10-5) any chance at the league title.

Pastner said he warned his Tigers they were playing with fire.

"And it caught up to us," Pastner said. "I said guys, `You have to snap out of this. This is your senior year. If I were a senior, I would be so thrilled about playing. Sometimes you walk around out there like you are in a zombie mode, and we don't need you in a zombie mode.' There is so much to play for, so be excited, thankful and enthused."

Pastner has talked all season about how much Memphis needs solid and regular production from his senior guards. He got a season-high 19 points from Michael Dixon Jr. Jackson, who scored 24 points in an overtime loss at Connecticut on Feb. 15, hasn't topped 12 points in the past three games. Crawford has scored in single digits himself three straight.

But Pastner was more upset that the trio also played poorly defensively.

"Bottom of line is ... if three of our four guards are going to play not well, it's going to make it tough for us," Pastner said.

The Tigers know the arena will be sold out for a game fans have been waiting for in a rematch of these old Metro Conference rivals, especially after Memphis' 73-67 win in Louisville on Jan. 9. Dixon said they have to bounce back to keep the Houston loss from hurting them even more against Louisville.

"It's good we are playing them next to get this horrible taste out of mouths, but this one was bad," Dixon said.

Pitino calls that loss to Memphis the worst of the season for his Cardinals, who played poor defense. Now Louisville starts a two-game road swing at Memphis, then at SMU on Wednesday after routing Temple 88-66. Pitino said he welcomes the tough games on the road.

"It makes us mentally sharp and physically sharp," Pitino said. "We're excited about the challenge. They hurt us on the backboard and hurt us with good shooting. We know what they do, and they are very talented."

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AP freelance writers Josh Abner in Louisville, Ky., and Jeremy Rakes in Houston both contributed to this report.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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ACC
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Carolina14-433-75
Virginia13-529-83
Miami (Fla.)13-527-89
Louisville12-623-817
Duke11-725-1120
Notre Dame11-724-1231
Va. Tech10-820-1589
Clemson10-817-14131
Pittsburgh9-921-1253
Syracuse9-923-1472
Florida St.8-1020-1482
Georgia Tech8-1021-1569
NC State5-1316-17123
Wake Forest2-1611-20159
Boston College0-187-25250
American Athletic
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Temple14-421-1259
SMU13-525-513
Houston12-622-1088
Cincinnati12-622-1148
Tulsa12-620-1258
UConn11-725-1132
Memphis8-1019-15139
UCF6-1212-18219
E. Carolina4-1412-20217
So. Florida4-148-25229
Tulane3-1512-22231

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