Originally written on Louisville Card Game  |  Last updated 1/20/12

Rick Pitino continues trying to be outwardly optimistic at his pre-game press conferences these days despite receiving a daily dose of bad news from trainer Fred Hina.

“The attitude of his team is off the charts, they work their butts off, and they don’t get discouraged,” he said. “This will help them win games. I don’t which games they will be, but wins will come.”

But the University of Louisville basketball coach doesn’t expect any relief from anyone on the injured list.

He revealed that Wayne Blackshear has yet to be cleared to practice, contradicting previous reports to the contrary. “Wayne hasn’t practiced yet, he said. “It’s more than just his shoulder. He has some asthma related issues, and doesn’t look real strong.”

Ditto for Stephan Van Treese, who was expected to be returning soon. “It doesn’t look good,” he said.

He noted that Kyle Kuric is still experiencing pain with the injured ankle, and couldn’t promise that he will be available for the Pittsburgh game Saturday.

Because of Rakeem Buckles’ most recent injury, Pitino said he probably will have no choice but to play Zach Price more. “He’s not ready, not a good passer and he gets beat on defense a lot. But in certain situations, he has to play now.”

*     *     *

Russ Smith also appeared at the press conference, admitting has to make smarter decisions, get better at finding open teammates.  “I’m always looking for the open man, just can’t find them a lot of times. It’s something I have to really work on.

“If something isn’t going right, I’m going to try to step up. If it works good, if not we have to move on, keep working at it.”

He expects Pittsburgh to be physical. The 9 p.m. tip off suits him just fine.

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