Louisville is 'locked in' on Shockers

ATLANTA – There's been a lot of attention on the University of Louisville basketball team this week heading into the Final Four. But most of the attention has been about Kevin Ware and his horrific injury. Cardinal Authority has a story on the focus of the rest of the team heading into Saturday's contest:

University of Louisville assistant coach Wyking Jones flashed a wide smile when a reporter asked him on Friday is the Cardinals were focused.

With all the attention and media focus put on injured guard Kevin Ware, who has become a household name nationally, there has been some question about the focus of the rest of the team heading into Saturday's NCAA Tournament Final Four game against Wichita State at the Georgia Dome.

"Coach Pitino took care of that," Jones said with a smile.

Pitino stayed in Indianapolis last Sunday and into Monday morning with Ware, who was in the hospital. But the team returned home on Sunday night.

And the preparation began.

While Ware was getting the TV attention, the rest of the guys were glued to the TV. Several players and coaches said the Cardinals have watched the same amount – if not more – film on the Shockers as any other opponent.

Pitino said he has watched 12 full games of Wichita State and the focus will be there because "we know we have our hands full."

"The word humility," Pitino said. "We understand that Wichita State can beat us. We know they're a good team, not a typical No. 9 seed. So the guys watched a lot of film, they prepared and they're going to be focused."

Several players said the attention on Ware took a little stress off the team, allowing them to perhaps prepare even better this week.

Jones said on Friday that the Cardinals (33-5) are prepared.

"The focus has been on preparing for Wichita State," assistant coach Wyking Jones said. "Kevin is being commended for his courage in a tough situation and it's very deserving but the rest of the players are locked in and focused.

"We have all seen what has happened to Kevin and what he's been doing but they're locked into playing a game."

Junior center Stephan Van Treese said just watching a few films on the Shockers showed the Cardinals that "they're not a mid-major team."

"We know we can't take them lightly," he said.

Senior Mike Marra, who is injured, said Pitino has kept this team "so focused" all season that it wasn't about to stop now.

"This whole season goal has been to win a championship, and we are not going to settle for anything else," Marra said.

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