Rick Pitino is talking about why this year’s Cards are so good.
“They are so willing to play for the name on the front of the jersey and not the one on the back,” he said after the win against Syracuse. Pitino compared this bunch affectionately with his 1987 Providence Final Four team.
Remember that this was widely expected to be a rebuilding year. In the preseason, Pitino called it a bridge year. The Cards were predicted to be in the lower half of the Big East standings, but with six regular-season games left, U of L sits in fourth place. With all of the Cards’ major pieces coming back from injury the team is poised to make a run in March.
Pitino said in his press conference Tuesday that the team’s Valentine’s Day practice went well. “They were practicing like it was Oct. 14, not Feb. 14,” he said.
Louisville moved the ball well on Saturday, playing unselfishly and cohesively. The team that dominated Syracuse is stronger, in every way, than the squad that struggled so much against Kentucky.
Preston Knowles has emerged as an enigmatic leader. His recent performances are bringing back memories of the dominant performances that Terrence Williams so often brought to Freedom Hall. Knowles is having fun when he steps on the court and his excitement has been electrifying. When he isn’t pulling up unnecessary jumpers he can be the most dominant player in any game. But then, some of those odd-angled jump shots go in.
As the Cardinals travel to Cincinnati Wednesday (7 pm tip on ESPN), expect more of the same. It will take continued excellent passing, three-point shooting and defense for a strong final push. With Gorgui Dieng returning, the Cards will see if they can improve inside. If Louisville can have success in the paint, then the Cards won’t have to live or die by the three.
A Former Card Gets Locked Up
Former Louisville running back and Male High School football legend Michael Bush was arrested last weekend for drunk driving in Jeffersonville, Ind. Bush, who just finished his 3rd year in the NFL with Oakland, is set to be a free agent this off-season. Bush has had flashes of success with the Raiders, but under the horrendous organization’s front office he’s never had a true shot to be a starter.