Chris Jones WON'T PLAY
University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino said his team will be without point guard Chris Jones on Thursday night when the Cardinals host Houston at the KFC Yum! Center. The game is slated for 7 o'clock.
Jones injured his oblique muscle on Sunday when he missed most of the second half of a win over SMU. He was already playing with a sore knee and ankle.
Pitino said the oblique injury is "like a hamstring of the side, and that can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on how serious it is."
Jones had suffered an injured wrist earlier this season.
The JUCO national Player of the Year from last season, Jones has started 16 games for the Cardinals and is averaging 11.3 points a game for the Cardinals.
BLACKSHEAR HEADED TO BENCH
Pitino said junior forward Wayne Blackshear won't be in the starting lineup on Thursday night, saying he wanted to keep him out of foul trouble.
Blackshear has averaged 13 minutes a game in the past five games, getting in foul trouble each of those games. He fouled out against SMU.
Pitino said the staff went back and looked at every foul by Blackshear and "70 percent of them are fouls and 30 percent of them were totally bogus."
With him coming off the bench, Pitino said he hopes Blackshear can play 20-25 minutes without getting into foul trouble.
"That's what we need from him," Pitino said.
Terry Rozier, Russ Smith, Luke Hancock and Montrezl Harrell are expected to start along with either Mangok Mathiang or Stephen Van Treese.
KEATTS ELEVATED ON STAFF
Pitino also elevated assistant coach Kevin Keatts to the team's associate head coach. Keatts is in his third season at U of L.
Keatts turned down two head coaching positions last season, with Pitino noting that "showed me how much he's committed to this program."
A former head coach at Hargrave Military Academy, Keatts has helped the Cardinals to a pair of Final Four appearances in his first two seasons.
Keatts said his duties won't change with the promotion.