No. 3 Louisville hosts Hartford tonight

No. 3 Louisville welcomes the Hartford Hawks for a Tuesday night contest at the KFC Yum! Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:07 p.m.

The third-ranked University of Louisville Cardinals return to action tonight when they host the Hartford Hawks in the Hall of Fame Tipoff.

The game will be a clash of two differing styles.

Winners of two straight, Hartford (2-2) employs a more unique style of play, similar to the offense that former Big East foe Georgetown runs. The methodical Hawks 66.3 points per game average ranks 286th in the NCAA, compared to the fast-paced Cardinals average of 88.7, which is 29th.

"This will be the toughest team we have faced in terms of preperation," said U of L head coach Rick Pitino. "They are very similar to Richmond in the way they play, the offense they play, or Georgetown. They run a lot of the same sets that Georgetown runs, which is very difficult to prepare for and if you make a mistake they'll burn you."

Being successful against such an offense takes discipline and precision.

"If you switch, they'll slip it," Pitino said. "If you don't switch they'll hit a three. They've got a great post-up player. So, this is probably the biggest challenge we've had in terms of preperation."

Pitino has little concern that his team will overlook an opponent. The Through three games, the Hall of Fame coach has been impressed by his teams ability to focus on the upcoming opponent.

"I think they focus really well," Pitino said, further explaining that the team doesn't focus on what conference a team may be from, but instead, "they look at the opponents strengths and weaknesses."

After a trio of games, the Cardinals are led by senior Russ Smith's 20 points and 5 assists a game.

"Russ is playing terrific basketball," Pitino said. "What you'd expect from a first team All-American."

The Cardinals rebuilt backcourt has been impressive. Junior college transfer Chris Jones is second on the team, averaging 13.7 points and 4.3 assists an outing. Jones leads the team with 7 steals.

Forward Wayne Blackshear, who has logged the most minutes on the young season, has played very well early. His three-point accuracy of 53 percent leads the team and his 13.3 points per game is good for third.

"I don't have an indicator of what our strength is right now, or weakness," Pitino explained. "I know we have very good guard play. I know we have very good power forwards. I see Stephan Van Treese getting better and more confident, which is good. I think Wayne Blackshear, as I've said all along, is playing good basketball."

With a win tonight, Louisville will extend its school-best winning streak to 20 games.

The game is scheduled to tipoff at 7:07 p.m. and it will be broadcast locally by WHAS 11 and online at ESPN3.com. The radio broadcast will be available on 790 WKRD.

Next up for Louisville is a trip to Uncasville, Conn., to face Fairfield at the Mohegan Sun on Saturday, Nov. 23.


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