DePaul Blue Demons at Louisville Cardinals – Wednesday, February 22, 2006 – 8:00 p.m. CST – Louisville, KY
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Inside The Ville
Padgett to Have Season Ending Knee Surgery
Publisher's Note: The following Game Preview was written before it was announced on Tuesday afternoon that Louisville sophomore forward David Padgett will be lost for the season due to knee surgery. Following is a link to the Louisville press release on Padgett's status...
Louisville Press Release
Here we go again…
Another must win situation for both DePaul and Louisville if they have any hope of being in Madison Square Garden as anything more than spectators of the Big East Tournament. If the season ended today Louisville would be in via the tiebreaker, but at 4-8 overall (one game ahead of the 3-9 Blue Demons) this game will virtually eliminate one of the two teams from contention.
A young team; crowd incensing fundamental errors; fans disgruntled with the coaching decisions; a perceived lack of fire or passion on the floor – must be talking about our Blue Demon squad correct? Well, not if you are a Louisville fan. The Cardinal nation has been up in arms ever since Big East play started. Fighting to play in New York was not a consideration for them coming off last years Final Four appearance, or the lofty expectations placed upon them at the start of the season. A highly touted freshman class to pair with Taquan Dean, Juan Palacios, David Padgett and Brandon Jenkins had most Cardinal fans thinking of another deep NCAA tourney run in March. However, their season has been anything but that. "Last year's team was a clinic on how to do the right things offensively and defensively," commented Louisville coach Rick Pitino. "This is a clinic on what not to do. But they play hard. You'd rather have that and let our players get a little wiser and mature and gain from all this, and that's what I'm hoping to do." Senior leader Taquan Dean has struggled with injury and illness this season, and it has been a long season both physically and mentally for the pre-season All-American candidate. "It's tough. You put in all that hard work for this kind of outcome. For these guys coming back, it's going to be a great couple of next years. But for me, I can't quit. I'm not a quitter. I'm not going to lay down. I'm going to go out fighting… all I'm thinking about is, Get to New York, get to New York."
One can only hope that Coach Wainright and the Blue Demons are using their road victory over St. John's on Saturday in The Garden as a springboard to that same mantra. With West Virginia, UConn, and Marquette still on the slate for the Cardinals; a Demon win would go a long way towards helping them spring past the Cardinals in the final Big East standings.
Talent wise, the Cardinals are capable with playing with anyone in the country; however, the have been their own worst enemy much of this season. Louisville has beaten Louisville more often than not this year. The backcourt of Dean (39%) and Jenkins (48%) can both shoot the 3; and the starting forwards (Palacios and Terrence Williams) are also no strangers to the 3 point arc as both have identical statistics of 25-79 (32%) for the season from long range. Add in freshman guard Andre McGee and his 38% shooting from distance, and you have the trademark Rick Pitino offensive squad. Add to the mix 6'11" sophomore center (and Kansas transfer) David Padgett to that, and you quickly understand why not only the Cardinals were well regarded prior to the season; but why their fan base is not pleased with their performance this year.
What must the Demons do to beat the Cardinals? It is becoming a broken record, but the story remains true:
1. Move the ball offensively; do not allow the offense to stagnate due to lack of movement.
2. Defend the three-point line, and don't allow the middle to be dominated in the process.
3. Shoot the ball effectively via good, high percentage opportunities. This team is at it's best when it produces a high assist to bucket ratio.
4. Rebound the basketball better than the Cardinals.
5. Play sound fundamental basketball, and limit turnovers.
David Padgett has been very limited by injuries and rust this season, so Marlon Brumfield and Wesley Green should be able to contain him. Palacios is a very athletic match for Wilson Chandler, but also has had extensive stretches of ineffectiveness at times. Finally, the Demon's height at the guard position and wing spot will give them the opportunity to defend the Louisville three point attack.
It seems like a simple enough formula to victory, but one the Demons have put together for 40 minutes very few times this season. However, when the have done so they have proven to be competitive with any team in the conference (or the country) for that day. The "learning" and "growth" processes have been mentioned many times for the young Demons. Hopefully, those lessons and maturity will be on display down the stretch of the conference schedule.
A friendly schedule of Louisville, Seton Hall, Syracuse and Notre Dame has left their fate in their own control. What this Demon squad does with that fate will tell all how much they have developed and learned from this season. Six wins seem to be the magic number for entrance to the Big East tournament. Hopefully the trip home (and victory) last weekend over St John's will be the linchpin for Sammy Mejia, Cliff Clinkscales and Karron Clarke leading their teammates back to their home town in early March.
NO NAME HT WT POS CL HOMETOWN (PREVIOUS SCHOOL)
1 Terrence Williams 6-6 220 F FR Seattle, Wash. (Rainier Beach)
3 Juan Palacios 6-8 255 F SO Medellin, Colombia (Our Savior New American)
4 David Padgett 6-11 250 F/C SO Reno, Nev. (Univ. of Kansas)
5 Taquan Dean 6-3 185 G SR Red Bank, N.J. (Neptune HS)
11 Brandon Jenkins 6-3 185 G JR Detroit, Mich. (Southeastern HS)
12 Brad Gianiny 6-1 170 G JR Alpharetta, Ga. (Fork Union Academy)
15 Perrin Johnson 6-5 215 G/F JR Claremont, Ca. (Claremont HS)
20 Will Scott 6-3 185 G SO New York, N.Y. (Cornell University)
21 Chris Current 6-4 185 G JR Frankfort, Ky. (Frankfort HS)
22 Chad Millard 6-8 220 F FR Goffstown, N.H. (Brewster Academy)
23 Bryan Harvey 6-4 210 G FR Compton, Ca. (Dominguez)
30 Jonathan Huffman 7-0 230 C FR Montgomery, Ala. (Central Park Christian)
33 Andre McGee 5-11 185 G FR Moreno Valley, Calif. (Canyon Springs)
43 Terrance Farley 6-10 250 C SO Louisville, Ky. (Pleasure Ridge Park)
44 Brian Johnson 6-9 245 F FR Suitland, Md. (Oak Hill Academy)
Rick Pitino - Head Men's Basketball Coach
Kevin Willard - Associate Coach
Steve Masiello - Assistant Coach
Marvin Menzies - Assistant Coach
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