Van Treese ready for his homecoming

It will be a homecoming for Stephan Van Treese when the University of Louisville meets Kentucky on Friday night in Indianapolis. The 6-foot-9 Van Treese has become a key player for the Cardinals and is from Indianapolis. Cardinal Authority checks in with Van Treese on his return home.

University of Louisville senior Stephan Van Treese has become a huge factor in the Cardinals' postseason run, averaging 8.3 rebounds in five wins.

Now, the 6-foot-9 Van Treese gets to go home and play his role in front of hometown fans as U of L travels to Indianapolis for the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 to meet Kentucky on Friday at Lucas Oil.

"It's so cool," Van Treese said. "I am looking forward to going home. To be able to play at Lucas Oil for me is amazing. I can't wait.

"I've already had so many people text me for tickets."

It's the second year in a row the Cardinals are playing at Lucas Oil in the NCAA regionals and Van Treese said last season was a "great memory." The Cardinals beat Oregon and Duke before moving on and winning a national title.

"Yes, playing at home makes it much better," Van Treese said. "I remember just last year that were there and so many people from Indianapolis that came out to watch me play. They were just happy that I was a Hoosier and playing on that stage.

"Now to go back again is going to be amazing."

Van Treese has been amazing in his role in recent weeks, coming on strong late in the regular-season and carrying it over into the postseason.

U of L coach Rick Pitino said he needs Van Treese to be a physical presence in the middle, grabbing rebounds and playing solid defense.

"We don't need him to score," Pitino has said.

In the postseason, Van Treese has been Van Beast. He had a career-high 13 rebounds in the senior-day win over Connecticut, while grabbing 10 rebounds in the first two AAC games before eight boards, four points, three assists and two steals in the AAC title game win over Connecticut.

"I just have to get boards," he said. "Honestly, everything is clicking for me right now but it's easier when you have guys like Luke Hancock and Russ Smith on your team. So much attention is being paid to them, they're not worried about me." Added Luke Hancock: "He's making a lot of plays for us right now. We expect him to keep rocking. He just needs to keep doing what he's doing."

Only this week, Van Treese gets to do it at home.

"My dad said, ‘Yeah baby, I can't wait for Indy'," he said. "So, he's excited, I'm excited, my whole family is excited. I can't wait for this game."

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