Posted March 03, 2013 on
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Louisville's offense has been formidable for most of the season, leading the Big East in scoring. But it's been the Cardinals' defense that has keyed the team's current surge.
They'll look for a sixth consecutive win on Monday night - as well as Rick Pitino's 300th with Louisville - as they host Cincinnati, whose offense has struggled severely in recent weeks. Both teams will also be looking for their point guards to snap prolonged shooting slumps.
The 10th-ranked Cardinals (24-5, 12-4) haven't looked back since a five-overtime loss at Notre Dame on Feb. 9, winning five in a row by an average of 15.2 points. But the first four were against opponents at .500 or below in Big East play, making Saturday's 58-53 win at No. 12 Syracuse the most impressive.
Louisville, which has held its last five opponents to 35.5 percent shooting, limited Syracuse to just 19 first-half points. The Cardinals also forced 16 turnovers - their fourth straight contest with at least that many. Opponents average 18.7 turnovers, the second most in the nation.
"This was like a tournament game," said Luke Hancock, a 35.8 percent 3-point shooter who was 4 of 5 from distance against the Orange. "It was that kind of atmosphere. This prepares us well. It definitely gives us confidence going into the end of the season. We want to win out the rest of our games and this was another step."
Cincinnati (20-9, 8-8) ended a three-game skid with a 61-56 home win over Connecticut on Saturday, but its offense continues to be inefficient. The Bearcats are shooting 34.9 percent over the last 11 games while going 5-6, only shooting better than 40 percent once over that stretch.
They sparked themselves by capitalizing on the Huskies' mistakes, amassing a 21-1 advantage in points off turnovers.
Sean Kilpatrick remains virtually Cincinnati's only reliable scoring option each time out, leading his team in points in nine of 11 while averaging 17.7 points.
"I know during his redshirt year that the way the guy attacked practice with the life and energy that he has, that if you could transform that to everybody, everybody would be a much better employer, worker and player," said coach Mick Cronin, a former assistant under Pitino at Louisville from 2001-03. "He just has an unbelievable work ethic."
While Kilpatrick flourishes, his backcourt mate Cashmere Wright has yet to discover his shooting stroke since spraining his right knee at DePaul on Jan. 15. Wright averaged 15.1 points on 47.2 percent shooting - including 44.2 percent from beyond the arc - over his first 18 games. But he's scoring 8.2 points per game while shooting only 22.9 percent and 19.7 percent from 3 in 10 games since the game at DePaul.
Louisville is experiencing similar shooting struggles with point guard Peyton Siva. A 38.6 percent 3-pointer shooter in his first 16 games, Siva is 6 for 37 (29.8 percent) from beyond the arc over his last 13 games and was 0 for 8 while being shut out by Syracuse. It was enough for Pitino to bench Siva with the game tied at 48 and 1:39 remaining.
"I don't like going away from him because I have so much confidence in him but I had to in this game," Pitino said.
Louisville has won six of the series' last seven meetings at home and also took the previous matchup in last year's Big East Championship title game in New York City.
BEST OF MAXIM
The subtle greatness of Rick Pitino's Louisville teams cannot always be seen in the stat sheets. On Monday, as Pitino won the 300th game of his 12 seasons in Louisville, this year's team gave us a stellar example of the greatness of PitinoBall.
Despite being ranked eighth in the nation, the Cardinals aren't exactly setting any nets on fire this season. They rank 31st...
Rick Pitino is joined by his wife Joanne and family friend Stephanie Minardi to watch a highlight reel on the Jumbotron after notching his 300th win at the University of Louisville
Little doubt from the beginning Rick Pitino was going to win his 300th game at the University of Louisville, a game culminating in a 67-51 win over Cincinnati.
The visitors would...
Syracuse and Louisville are locked in a tight battle late at the Carrier Dome – things are tense. Rick Pitino, after an offensive foul call on the Cardinals, got a little animated. We can’t tell if he’s yelling at Russ Smith or Gorgui Dieng, but either way, he’s not happy. Something about getting out of bed after a long slumber, maybe.
Rick Pitino got his 300th win at Louisville tonight as the Cardinal cruised past Cincinnati 67-51. Louisville has now won six in a row and nine of their last ten. They move to 25-5 overall and 13-4 in league play.
While Louisville’s offense continues to improve, it was their defense that made the different tonight. The Cardinals forced Cincinnati into a season high 21 turnovers...
Rick Pitino really wanted his Louisville Cardinals players to 'wake the f*** up' against Syracuse on Saturday.
"Wake the **** up," Rick Pitino, today during Louisville / Syracuse.
That's what she said.
No. 10 Louisville beats No. 12 Syracuse 58-53
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Full story at Bob's Blitz ~ http://www.bobsblitz.com
Louisville's offense has been formidable for most of the season, leading the Big East in scoring. It's been the Cardinals' defense, though that has keyed their current surge.
They'll look for a sixth consecutive win Monday night and Rick Pitino's 300th with Louisville as they host Cincinnati, which has struggled severely on offense in recent weeks.
Russ Smith scored 18 points and No. 8 Louisville gave Rick Pitino his 300th victory with the Cardinals by beating Cincinnati 67-51 on Monday night.
After such a big emotional win over Syracuse, Louisville only had one day to prepare for rival Cincinnati. The Cards didn’t need any more time than that as they came out an manhandled the Bearcats to the tune of a 16 point victory.
Peyton Siva is back and he is good at playing the game of basketball. Siva’s ability to read a defense was on display during the first half when...
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Russ Smith scored 18 points and No. 8 Louisville gave Rick Pitino his 300th victory with the Cardinals by beating Cincinnati 67-51 on Monday night.
Pitino, who earned his 650th career win earlier this season against South Florida, picked up this milestone against Cincinnati counterpart Mick Cronin, a former Cardinals assistant in 2002 and 20'03.
It wasn’t pretty for the entire 40-minutes on Saturday afternoon, but all in all, it’s hard not to be impressed with Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals. For the first time in conference play, Louisville went on the road and won a close game against a good team.
Louisville had been playing well in the last few weeks and showing some improvement offensively. However, the...
Since you’ve already read about and seen highlights of last night’s game, this column is going to be loosely about what happened on the floor and mostly about observations from row E of 111. Whether or not this is more fun/informative than anything you’ve consumed about last night prior to now is completely up to you. If it isn’t your cup of tea, well then fine.
There was plenty to be excited about on Monday night following Louisville’s 76-51 win over Cincinnati. The Cardinals are clicking at the perfect time and have won nine of their last ten games. Rick Pitino was briefly honored with a video ceremony following the game for earning his 300th win as the head coach of the Louisville program.
It was what Pitino said following the ceremony...
Score: No. 8 Louisville 67, Cincinnati 51
Star(s): Louisville: Russ Smith 18 Pts, 3 Reb. Rick Pitino 300 U of L career wins. Cincinnati: Cashmere Wright 15 Pts, 3 Reb.
Story: The game started off with three 3-pointers – two from Cincinnati’s Cashmere Wright. It was projected to be an outside shooting match, and the first few minutes ensured that promise. At the first media...
Tonight’s Louisville – Cincinnati game is big for both programs. Cincinnati needs a win over an elite team to prove that they’re as good as some projected they’d be prior to the start of the season. Mick Cronin’s team looked like one of the best in the league earlier in the year, but has slumped for the last half of the season. Louisville needs to continue to pile on quality...