Louisville basketball: NCAA notebook

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Louisville's men's basketball team is ready for the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday against North Carolina A&T. Here are a few notes from Cardinal Authority to try and help you get ready for the tournament.


Before hitting 6 of 9 free throws in the Big East Tournament finals against Syracuse, University of Louisville freshman Montrezl Harrell had hit just five of his previous 21 attempts from the charity stripe.

"I changed my whole routine and form," Harrell said.

And then he smiled and noted, "I found something that works for me, so I think I'm going to stick with it."

Harrell said it was just a "few little" minor adjustments that U of L coach Rick Pitino told him he needed to make. The 6-foot-8 Harrell made those and then went into the gym and worked "on them over and over."

"Coach really helped me find a form that works for me," Harrell said. "I just went to the gym and shot a bunch of them and it feels a lot better."

Harrell is now 29 of 57 – 50.9 percent – for the season and is averaging 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 16.5 minutes a game.

Against Syracuse, Harrell was the MVP. He scored a team-high 20 points, including four monster dunks, and had seven rebounds. He said he received a lot of comments from family and friends and former teammates after the game.

"It was a great game but I had to put it behind me," Harrell said.


While Harrell played his best game of the season, sophomore Chane Behanan didn't have the best Big East Tournament.

Behanan scored just 16 points and had eight rebounds in three games. He only played 16 minutes against Syracuse because of Harrell's play.

But Behanan was still into the game.

"It's not about me," Behanan said. "Coach knows what he is doing. Montrezl was out there balling. He had to keep him out there. You saw what he was doing.

"I was his biggest cheerleader on the bench."


Sophomore guard Kevin Ware has shown more confidence and has contributed more since his one-game suspension in late January.

In the Big East final, Ware showed a little swagger also dancing few times when he made a big play. He had a key three-pointer, the finish of a sweet alley-oop dunk from Peyton Siva and finished with nine points.

"With that certain situation and us coming from behind like we did, I felt it was appropriate to show a little emotion," Ware said. "We were all getting after it.

"That was a lot of fun."

Ware is averaging 4.4 points in 16.7 minutes a game.


Not only did the Cardinals have one of the toughest schedules in the nation, but several players noted Pitino put the team in situations to help for the NCAA.

The Cardinals played three games in three days during the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas and won three games in three days at the Big East tourney.

"Coach P has put us up against it in certain situations," Ware said. "I think that's only going to help us. It helped us at the Big East and will help us here."


Walk-on Michael Baffour, also known as Dark Slime, will be playing this weekend in front of a bunch of family and friends.

The 6-foot-2 junior is from Lexington and played at Bryan Station High School. He's played in five games this season and scored his only points in a win over Missouri-Kansas City.

"I'm excited to be back home," Baffour said. "I'm glad we're getting to play here and I'm going to have a lot of people watching.

"I've converted all of my family and friends to Cardinal fans."


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