Inside Cardinal Basketball: Weekly notebook

The sixth-ranked University of Louisville basketball team will play at Memphis tomorrow in a renewal of the two schools old rivalry. The Cardinals are 1-0 in true road games this season heading into the FedEx Forum to face the Tigers.


University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino wouldn't name specific names on Friday but said his team is "banged up" heading into Saturday's 2:30 p.m. EDT game at Memphis.

Pitino later said the injured players are a "couple of frontcourt players," but it's not certain what players might be injured at this time.

The Cardinals are already without center Gorgui Dieng, who is sidelined with a broken wrist. Pitino said he wouldn't know until Saturday if anybody else would miss the game because of an injury.

"We're hurting right now," Pitino said. "I can't say (names) because right now we don't know what we're going to have for Saturday.

"We have issues on our basketball team right now. Nothing in a bad sense, we just have some bumps and bruises that we have to get through."

Pitino said his practices have been "very cautious" after suffering through so many injuries over the past few seasons.

"I am very concerned that we don't go what we went through last year and the year before and the year before," Pitino said. "I'm trying to hold this thing together right now but it hasn't been easy.

"We're a little banged up and trying to get through these things."


Pitino said during his weekly radio show on Wednesday that he expected Dieng to be cleared to practice on Sunday and play against Western Kentucky.

On Friday, Pitino called the status of Dieng "uncertain."

"The bone has healed," Pitino said. "The telling sign will be Monday when goes to doctor. He is hoping to be cleared to practice at that time. I think it's all up in the air right now. We have been working him out.

"I don't think there will be any complications, but we'll have to see."

Dieng suffered the broken scaphoid bone in his left wrist, against Missouri last month at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. He has missed four games and will miss Saturday's game at Memphis

Dieng is averaging 8.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and two rebounds in five games. He was among the top 50 candidates for the Wooden Award and Naismith Award.

Pitino said Dieng likely won't be available for the Dec. 19 game against Florida International but could play on Dec. 22 against Western Kentucky.


The game on Saturday is the renewal of one of Louisville top former rivals, Memphis. The two teams played in the same leagues – Metro and Conference USA – for years and were heated rivals.

U of L leads the overall series 52-34 but is just 15-22 in Memphis. The last time the teams met in Memphis was on March 12, 205. Darius Washington missed two of three free throws and U of L edged the Tigers 75-74 in the C-USA title game.

"It's a old rivalry and we're looking forward to the game," Pitino said. "Memphis is probably as physically as talented team that we have faced.

"It's a great road game. This is one of the premier games on our schedule and excited to be part of it."

The last time Memphis beat U of L was on Feb. 9, 2005 when the Tigers scored an 85-68 win over U of L in Freedom Hall.

U of L beat Memphis 95-87 last season at the KFC Yum! Center.


U of L had six players in double figures last season in the high-scoring game against Memphis and Pitino expects much of the same style.

The Cardinals (8-1) are averaging 77 points a game, while Memphis (6-2) averages 74.8, while allowing 64.6 points a game.

U of L is averaging 23.9 points in scoring margin.

"I do think it will be a wide-open game," Pitino said. "Both teams are very athletic and both will get after it."


*Louisville leads the nation in turnover margin at plus 9.2. The Cards have forced an average of 22.1 turnovers a game and are scoring 35 percent of the time they collect a turnover from the opponents.

*U of L ranks No. 9 nationally in steals per game at 12.4. The Cardinals have collected double digits in steals in eight of nine games.

*Senior point guard Peyton Siva collected his 500th assist last weekend and is now just 88 points from joining the 1,000-point club.

*The Cardinals still don't have any players averaging more than 28.9 minutes a game. Siva averages 28.9 minutes and Russ Smith averages 28.7.

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