For Louisville, rebounding is "the key"

INDIANAPOLIS - One of the biggest keys for the University of Louisville in tonight's NCAA matchup against Kentucky will be rebounding. The Cardinals will need to keep things manageable on the board in order to beat Kentucky.

It's no secret the University of Louisville has been a bit challenged this season when it comes to rebounding the basketball.

While U of L holds a plus 5.7 rebounding total in all games this season, the Cardinals have been outrebounded in 15 games this season with two other games the rebounding total tied with their opponents.

In the first matchup with Kentucky, the Cardinals were whipped 44-36 on the glass with UK as the Wildcats had 17 offensive rebounds on 35 missed shots.

"We know it's the key," U of L center Stephan Van Treese said of the battle of the boards heading into tonight's NCAA Tournament game against Kentucky.

The bigger Wildcats are plus 9.8 on the boards this season and have one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country.

"That's the biggest thing for us is to just rebound the basketball," assistant coach Kevin Keatts said. "They have massive size, but we have to do a good job in the post to limit their shots and to get the rebounds."

In the first meeting, Chane Behanan – who is no longer with the U of L team – led the way with seven rebounds. Van Treese had five but only played 18 minutes, while Mangok Mathiang started and played 22 minutes and grabbed three in the contest.

Van Treese is now in the starting lineup and has played well in recent weeks, averaging 8.6 rebounds in five post season games. Montrezl Harrell is averaging nine boards in the postseason, while Mathiang has played key minutes.

"Every possession is going to be big in this game," Van Treese said. "We're an experienced team and have been in this situation before, so we just need to make sure we take care of what we're supposed to be doing."

Mathiang said the best thing for the Cardinals to do in their rebounding efforts is to "just crash everything."

"Get a body on them and get the rebound," he said. "All of them."

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