Posted February 28, 2012 on AP on Fox
Louisville_v_unlv_3827
Senior Kyle Kuric sees it every year at Louisville. Come February, the Cardinals transition from fair to fabulous. Kuric has been a part of a group that's won 21 of 29 games in the shortest month of the year, which bodes well when No. 19 Louisville (22-7, 10-6 Big East) hosts South Florida on Wednesday night. "We're a very well-conditioned team, so it helps us out. Everything starts clicking," Kuric said. "The freshmen start understanding, not thinking out there like, `That was my rotation, my fault. They're there and now it's good rotation, good job and play.' Now everything is starting to come together, everybody's starting to play well together and that's just this time of year." Kuric said Coach Rick Pitino's practices also help as the season wanes. "There's a lot of running, it's a very intense practice, but until you see it and you're actually involved in it every day, you really don't understand how difficult and demanding it can be," said Kuric, who leads the Cardinals averaging 13.1 points per game. "Every day you're kind of sore, you're a little tired. It's just the normal day-to-day events around here." Winning has been for Louisville, too, which is well on its way to its sixth straight NCAA tournament appearance. South Florida would like to join the Cardinals there. The Bulls (18-11, 11-5) are playing much better since a 30-point loss at Georgetown by winning five of its last six to become the latest Big East team on the NCAA tournament bubble. They've also won ugly by failing to score more than 65 points in any of their last seven games and winning 46-45 against Cincinnati on Sunday. Pitino said that's typical of the style of play this time of year in the Big East after Louisville had its own grinding game with a 57-54 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday in which the Panthers knew the plays the Cardinals planned to run before they were even called. "It's that time of year in league play where everybody knows the other team's offense, so you've got to figure out now how can you push it up?" Pitino said. "We pressed Pittsburgh, we did a very good job, we got a lot of offense off it, but even when we pressed them, they didn't attack the basket." At least Louisville can rely on its defense. The Cardinals are allowing opponents to shoot 37.6 percent from the field, the third lowest mark in the country, and have averaged 9.3 steals per game. Pitino said he expects more from center Gorgui Dieng, too, after a lackluster performance against the Panthers. "I was really disappointed in him after the game because he didn't block enough shots, he didn't; there was so many opportunities for him to do things he didn't do and he said, `Coach, I'm exhausted, my legs have given out,'" said Pitino, who gave Dieng Monday off from practice and was planning to lighten his load on Tuesday. "He's played probably too many minutes in practice and in the games. He's sort of hit that wall." Louisville will honor its three seniors - Kuric, Chris Smith and Jared Swopshire - at Wednesday's game. Kuric and Smith both joined the Cardinals as walk-ons and Swopshire will graduate and transfer after the season ends with a year of eligibility remaining after missing all of 2010-11 with a groin injury. Smith laughed again about the often-told story that Pitino initially thought he was a ball boy when he transferred from Manhattan, but has turned into a starter that's averaging 10.2 points per game as a second perimeter shooter after Kuric. He said as the Cardinals exit their favorite month, their biggest splash could come in March after a pair of one-and-done tournament appearances the last two seasons. "Right now I feel like we're playing great defense and nobody's hurt right now, knock on wood," Smith said. "The sky's the limit for this basketball team right now. Any given night, I feel, we can have our breakout night offensively. As long as we start pushing the ball, I feel a lot of teams are going to have trouble with us."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

No. 19 Louisville hosts surging South Florida

Senior Kyle Kuric sees it every year at Louisville. Come February, the Cardinals go from fair to fabulous. Kuric has been a part of a group that's won 21 of 29 games in the shortest month of the year, which bodes well when No. 19 Louisville (22-7, 10-6 Big East) hosts South Florida on Wednesday night. ''We're a very well-conditioned team, so it helps us out. Everything...

A Tribute To The 2012 Senior Class: What Will They Be Remembered For?

Kyle Kuric Legacy: I think the majority of the fan base will remember Kyle Kuric for his performance against Syracuse in 2010 when scored 22 points, all in the second half to lead Cards over #1 ranked Syracuse in the final game at Freedom Hall. Kuric added three rebounds, two assists, a steal, and four dunks while connecting on 9-of-11 field goals (4-of-6 three-pointers). A lot...

Sun setting for Kuric, Smith and Swopshire

Where did the time go?Final game on Denny Crum Court for Jared Swopshire, Kyle Kuric and Chris Smith, three more player making their way into the University of Louisville basketball archives. The calendar and clock running out of days and hours, mandating that we give up their presence, exchanging them for memories. At the KFC Yum! Center, anyway.Kyle Kuric — Any farewell has to...

A Bizarre, But Special Senior Night

It would be hard to find three better guys to root for than Kyle Kuric, Jared Swopshire, and Chris Smith. You don’t hang banners from having nice kids in your program, but I think sometimes fans take for granted how likeable these three young men are. Kuric, Swopshire, and Smith’s careers here at Louisville will end much differently than most expected they first arrived. All...

Jared Swopshire Will Start On Senior Night

Jared Swopshire will be in the Cards starting line-up tomorrow  for the first time since the 2009-2010 season as the Cards take on South Florida. Swopshire arrived at Louisville in 2008 as a part of the Rick Pitino’s top 10 recruiting class. He averaged just 5.4 minutes per game as a freshman, but saw that number sky-rocket as a sophomore when he became a full time start at...

Expansiopocolypse: Pitino is the Shadow Commissioner

Is there any doubt at this point? Rick Pitino spends October through February banging away on how the Big East needs to add Memphis. Now they are coming. His other team to add was Temple. Guess who is on the verge? It appears the board of trustees of Temple is meeting Wednesday via a conference call to decide if it wants to accept a Big East Conference invitation, if offered. Discussions...

Senior Night

Louisville's seniors, led by Kyle Kuric, hope to slay the USF Bulls in their final home game at the KFC Yum! Center Wednesday night.

February fizzles for Louisville basketball

So much for getting better in FebruaryStill another of those defensive struggles for the University of Louisville basketball unit, the 58-51 loss to South Florida. A reaffirmation that this University of Louisville basketball unit is severely challenged offensively.Puzzled fans once again shaking their heads at the scoreboard in the first half, wondering whether their team is capable...

M. Basketball. Men's Basketball's Peyton Siva Named GEICO Play of the Year Finalist

University of Louisville men's basketball junior guard Peyton Siva is a 2012 GEICO Play of the Year finalist, Intersport announced Monday.Click Here to Vote

No. 19 Louisville falls to surging South Florida

The loss stung Louisville seniors Chris Smith, Kyle Kuric and Jared Swopshire. The officiating chapped coach Rick Pitino. And the 19th-ranked Cardinals will once again need to prove they can win a grinding, offensive game.

M. Basketball. No. 19 Louisville Falls to Surging USF, 58-51

Starting seniors Kyle Kuric and Chris Smith led the Cardinals scoring 16 points each.

Russ highlight

Russ Smith gets a pick-me-up from teammate Chane Behanan during the Louisville’s 57-54 win over Pittsburgh Sunday. Not that Russ knew where he was at the time.Click here to view the video on YouTube.

A Faster Pace Is The Key For Chris Smith

Saying Chris Smith is in a shooting slump would be putting it lightly. Louisville’s starting shooting guard hasn’t made a field goal since the overtime period of the Depaul game on Feb. 18th. Smith is 0 of 8 combined in the last two games. To his credit, he hasn’t had very many open looks, but when Louisville is playing well, Smith is usually knocking down perimeter shots...

Tight End Position Becoming A Focus For Louisville Coaching Staff

Louisville Tight End Coach Sherrone Moore Surprisingly enough it seems that the Tight End position is going to be a major focus for the University of Louisville Football 2013 recruiting class.  The Cardinals added three tight ends in the 2012 class in Hunter Bowles, Ryan Hubbel and transfer Gerald Christian who will be ineligible until the 2013 season due to transfer rules. Also...

M. Tennis. Wildcats Drop Road Match at No. 30 Louisville

Northwestern fell short in its second straight match on Wednesday night, falling on the road against a quality opponent in the Louisville Cardinals, 5-2, at the Baas-Ruud Tennis Center in the Bluegrass State.
Cardinals 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!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.