Samford-Louisville Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 15, 2012
Ncaa_basketball_louisville_b3ca
Louisville coach Rick Pitino dished out plenty of praise following a season-opening victory, though that may have been expected given the amount of contributors that returned from last season's Final Four team. The second-ranked Cardinals have a good chance for another dominant performance when they host Samford on Thursday night. Louisville returned 11 players from a 30-win squad that fell to eventual national champion Kentucky in the national semifinals, including Gorgui Dieng, Peyton Siva and Russ Smith. All three contributed in Sunday's 79-51 victory over Manhattan to begin a season filled with high expectations, and Pitino wasn't shy about discussing how pleased he was with each - especially Siva and Smith. While Dieng scored nine points and played his customary solid defense in 20 minutes, Siva scored 10 points and dished out a career high-tying 10 assists to earn high marks from his coach. "I think Peyton is the best guard in the country," Pitino said. "He (rarely was) a true point before this year. I think he is brilliant and a great player." It was Smith, though, who made the biggest contribution - and earned the most praise from Pitino - by scoring a game-high 23 points and finishing with five steals. Smith averaged 11.5 points and finished third in the Big East in steals playing mostly a reserve role in 2011-12. "Somebody asked me the question: "Who is more valuable, Gorgui or Peyton?" and I have no idea. Who is the guy we can't win without? Russ Smith," Pitino said. "He gives you a dimension that most teams don't have. He is unguardable and then he turns around and is the leading steal leader for a season at our school. On the ball offensively and on the ball defensively, he is pretty darn good." Pitino did say Louisville's rebounding needs to improve, though, after it was outrebounded 37-33 on Sunday. "We have to do a better job all around," he said. "We are a low-percentage defensive team and we hold people to low percentages." That seems destined to hold true against a Samford team that has shot 38.6 and 44.9 percent, respectively, in its first two contests. The Bulldogs (1-1), shooting 19.1 percent from 3-point range, lost their opener 75-64 at Austin Peay on Friday before Monday's 59-40 home victory over NAIA school Martin Methodist. Freshman Tim Williams finished with team highs of 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. "That's what we're looking for as a staff right now," first-year coach Bennie Seltzer said. "Just give us that effort and then all of the other things will fall into place." Samford has lost it's last 10 games versus ranked opponents since a victory over No. 15 St. John's on Nov. 19, 1999, and is in for a pair of tough tests this week. After facing Louisville, it travels to No. 17 Memphis on Saturday. "Playing against the likes of Louisville and Memphis are what it's all about for our players," Seltzer said. "They are going to have a chance to play against two of the top teams in the country. I have tremendous respect for (Pitino) and his program." This marks the first meeting between the Cardinals and Bulldogs.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The most unhealthy breakfasts from across the country
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Raiders G Kelechi Osemele out Thursday with illness

Red Sox send Brewers $100 as final piece of Tyler Thornburg deal

Troy Aikman almost came out of retirement to play for the Eagles

Blues miss morning skate due to traffic in Brooklyn

Willie Taggart just savaged Brady Hoke during his first Oregon press conference

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Carmelo blows off Jackson's ball hog remarks, looks 'annoyed'

Richard Sherman throws shade at Cam Newton over benching

Sandoval's career fell 'into an abyss' after getting 'complacent'

Report: NFL believes Oakland ‘has no strong desire’ to keep the Raiders

Aroldis Chapman explains why he chose to return to Yankees

Brandon Marshall: Bryce Petty used to be ‘fat and overweight’

Sporting life: Gifts for the fan who is always on point

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 3: News, notes and rumors

Four stinkiest games remaining on the 2016 NFL schedule

Ten young NBA players developing into stars

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 12/7: The date we got to know Bo

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 2: News, notes and rumors

Ten most intriguing non-NY6 bowl games

Breaking down the NFL playoff picture heading into Week 14

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Sporting life: Gifts for the fan who is always on point

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 3: News, notes and rumors

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

The five best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

The five must-have sports games of 2016

The five 2016 Heisman finalists: How do they measure up?

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL Christmas sweaters)

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker