"Practice was energetic, but difficult with a short supply of healthy bodies," said U of L Coach Rick Pitino, who enters his ninth year at Louisville and 25th as a collegiate head coach. "Our players will have to fight through fatigue. With double sessions this weekend, we hope to understand a new style and improve dramatically by Monday. They're a very willing group."
U of L started practice with a trio of players on the sidelines. The Cardinals have 10 scholarship players available, as injuries have kept junior Jared Swopshire (left groin strain) and Russ Smith (right foot fracture) out. Freshman Gorgui Dieng is awaiting an appeal surrounding his freshman eligibility requirements. The Cardinals plan to follow up Friday's session with two practices each on Saturday and Sunday with morning and evening sessions.
The Cards' Oct. 24 public intrasquad scrimmage is sold out, an event which is scheduled at 5 p.m. at the new 22,000-seat KFC Yum! Center. The Cardinals will face their first outside competition in a home exhibition game against Northern Kentucky on Oct. 31. U of L officially opens its season and its sparkling new facility with a Nov. 16 matchup against NCAA national runner-up Butler.
U of L returns nine lettermen from last year's team which won at least 20 games for the eighth straight season (20-13 record). Louisville earned its 36th NCAA Tournament appearance last season and the Cardinals have reached the NCAA Elite Eight two of the last three years. The men's basketball team earned a collective 3.021 grade point average for the 2010 spring semester, its fourth straight semester with a 3.0 GPA.