Final Four: U of L morning notebook

ATLANTA – The University of Louisville basketball team is preparing to play in a second consecutive Final Four this weekend. The Cardinals will pay Wichita State in the national semifinals on Saturday at 6:09 p.m. Here are a few notebook items as the Cardinals prepare to go for a 15th straight victory:


University of Louisville sophomore Wayne Blackshear was honored on Thursday night as the recipient of the Elite 89 Award for the 2013 Final Four.

The award honors the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level, while having the highest cumulative grade-point average of the teams participating in the Final Four.

Blackshear was presented the award at the Men's Final Four Salute Presentation on Thursday night where all four teams attended.

A native of Chicago, Blackshear is a communications major and carries a 3.55 GPA. He's averaging 7.8 points and 3.2 rebounds for the Cardinals.


U of L sophomore Chane Behanan was named the winner of the Pepsi MAX Dunk of the Year award for his dunk against DePaul.

Behanan picked off a pass in the Feb. 27 game against the Blue Demons and threw down a one-handed slam over DePaul's Worrell Clahar.

The award was announced during the State Farm College Slam Dunk and Three-point Contest on Thursday at Georgia Tech and on ESPN.

Behanan has 57 dunks on the season, just two shy of Pervis Ellison's school-record record of 59 set during the 1987-88 season.


Junior center Gorgui Dieng has said since the Final Four last season in New Orleans that he's been working hard on his jump shot.

Dieng, who suffered a broken left wrist early this season, was up and down a bit early on. But he's been sensational in the NCAA Tournament from the field.

The 6-foot-11 Dieng has hit 20 of 24 from the field – 83.3 percent – during U of L's four-game NCAA Tournament run.

I put so much focus on that jump shot," Dieng said. "Coach wanted me to work towards it and now starting to get that reward."

Dieng is averaging 11 points and 7.5 rebounds in the tournament.


The Cardinals are making a second consecutive Final Four appearance and did it this season being ranked among the best all year.

U of L is 33-5 and has won 14 games in a row. It marks the 10th time the U of L program has made it to the Final Four.

"It kind of seems like this is the norm," junior Luke Hancock said. "This is what we do. Two straight years and we're not stopping now."


The U of L players have faced the question of which U of L team is better – this year or last year – a bunch of times in recent weeks.

Junior guard Russ Smith gave a straight answer.

"I think our defense was better last year," Smith said. "But our offense is much better this year and it just keeps getting better.

"So, we're better in that regards. We're still playing."

The Cardinals are averaging 80.8 points a game in four NCAA Tournament games.

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