Behanan out vs. DePaul?

Rick Pitino plans to attack DePaul inside Saturday afternoon in Chicago. But the Cardinals might have to do that without starting forward Chane Behanan, who Pitino said woke up Friday with 'aches and the flu,' and may not be able to play against the Blue Demons in a key Big East road game for the Cardinals.

Rick Pitino plans to attack DePaul inside Saturday afternoon in Chicago. But the Cardinals might have to do that without starting forward Chane Behanan, who Pitino said woke up Friday with 'aches and the flu,' and may not be able to play against the Blue Demons in a key Big East road game for the Cardinals.

"Chane Behanan has the flu and a fever," Pitino said. "We're not sure what we're going to do, we just found out a short while ago that we have this problem. What we'll do is give him Tamaflu and put a surgical mask on him and put him on the plane and take him with us (to Chicago). We'll see how he feels tomorrow and if he can give a (Michael) Jordan-like performance it would really help. We'll see what happens."

If Behanan can't play, Pitino would likely go small with Kyle Kuric replacing Behanan at power forward and freshman Wayne Blackshear at small forward.

"I may go with Kyle at the four and Wayne at three," said Pitino. "I could get Angel [Nunez] ready and play him a little bit or I could go with Swop. I'd rather not risk [Swop] getting in early foul trouble because I know he can get the job done. I probably would go small with Wayne and Kyle and make sure I have Swop available later in the game."

Louisville vs. DePaul
Date: Saturday, Feb. 18 Time: Noon ET
?Site: Allstate Arena; Rosemont, Ill. (18,500)
Television: BIG EAST Network (WHAS-TV in Louisville) Mike Gleason, play-by-play; Bob Wenzel, analyst
Radio: WKRD (790 AM)?Paul Rogers, play-by-play;?Doug Ormay, analyst?(Also: SIRIUS Ch. 91, XM Ch. 91)
Last Meeting: UofL 76, DePaul 59 (Jan. 14, 2012 at KFC Yum! Center)
Officials: Michael Stephens, Clarence Armstrong, Jeff Clark
Next U of L Game:Feb. 23 at Cincinnati, Fifth Third Arena, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)

While a small lineup could jump start a Louisville offense that scored just 51 in a one-point loss to second-ranked Syracuse on Monday, it also has defensive drawbacks as the 6'4 Kuric would be charged with guarding Cleveland Melvin, a 6 foot 8 forward who leads DePaul with 17.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

"It hurts us on the backboard a little bit because Chane is a very good rebounder and they've got a 6'8 guy at power forward who is the second-leading scorer in the Big East," Pitino said. "But it (small lineup) may be a secret weapon. We may go with it and it may be great. Four's have a very difficult time defending Kyle Kuric. I'm curious to see how it would work. I just wonder if Wayne is ready to play that many minutes? We may not have a choice. We're going to have to find out I think."

Blackshear, a 6'5 freshman from Chicago Morgan Park H.S., missed Louisville's first 24 games with a shoulder injury. He made his debut last Saturday against West Virginia, scoring 13 points off the bench in Louisville's 77-74 win. Blackshear failed to score in six minutes against Syracuse.

"Everyday Wayne gets a little bit better," Pitino said. "He's not near where we hope to get him but this is the game we shot for to try to get him ready to go because this gives us two weeks before the Big East Tournament. We think by the Big East Tournament and NCAA he'll be 100 percent. At least we hope so."

In the first meeting between the two teams this season, Louisville beat the Blue Demons 76-59 despite playing without Kuric, who missed the game with a bad ankle.

"DePaul is the type of team that can beat anybody on a given night because they shoot so many threes," Pitino said. "They made ten against us and about four were very difficult ones that went in. And then they full court press you for most of the game…and if you don't handle the ball well it can be a difficult night. You've got to play a 40 minute game against them and makes shots. And you have to attack them inside, that's why we're hoping Chane can play."

With five games remaining, Louisville finds itself behind Syracuse, Marquette, Notre Dame, Georgetown and South Florida in the Big East standings. Before the Big East Tournament begins March 6, Pitino wants the Cardinals to become better defensively and tougher on the defensive boards. Louisville ranks second in the nation in field goal percentage defense and 21st in rebounds.

"Defense has been our staple," Pitino said. "We try to confuse people and change our defenses. We have to be tougher because we give up too many offensive rebounds. So we've got to correct that and pick up our level right now defensively for the last five games. Some teams are playing to (improve) their (NCAA Tournament) seed, some to get better and improve. We're playing for all of the above. We want to get better and improve, we want to work other guys into (the lineup), we want to play for a higher seed. All those things."


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