1. Ware returns, a special moment: It was a special, special moment when Kevin Ware jumped off that bench and checked in at the scorers' table. He hit his first field-goal attempt, he looked fluid running up and down the court and even got knocked down a couple of times. It's going to take time for him to get back to his old self, but Ware is well on his way. A huge, huge, huge lift for this team both on the floor and also mentally. Kevin Ware has been there and done that, so he will be a major addition to this team now that he's back.
2. Where's Luke?: The word is Final Four MOP Luke Hancock could play if it was March. But it's pretty obvious that coach Rick Pitino is not going to push Hancock and force him back onto the floor. He was dressed and even went through some warmups before the game. But he's not back practicing full-go yet and is just taking it easy. Here's hoping for a healthy Luke soon.
3. Must get better on the boards: UPike is going to be a good team at the NAIA Division I level but there's no way the Bears should have been close to U of L in rebounding. It ended 44-40 in U of L's favor with the Cardinals allowing 19 offensive rebounds. Mangok Mathiang had nine but the Cardinals must do a better job with getting the rebounds. Several times, the UPike offensive board came off a loose ball or long rebound. The Cardinals must make sure that is a point that improves and does in a hurry.
4. Oh, the combinations: Pitino can throw so many different lineup combinations out there and he was using a bunch in this one. Mathiang started the game but Stephen Van Treese was the first off the bench. He used three guards several times and at one point had a long lineup that included Rozier at the two and Ware at the three. There are dozens he can use, will be fun to see which ones he takes a liking too.
5. A few leftovers: Anton Gill only nine minutes and Ajoy Agau only four. Pitino said both have to improve on defense. . . . Van Treese did have six rebounds in 19 minutes. . . . Wayne Blackshear had 10 points but only played 15 minutes before fouling out. He's been in foul trouble in both exhibition games. . . . The Cardinals now get to do it for real. Cards play College of Charleston on Saturday at 1 p.m.