The University of Louisville men's basketball team will play its first outside competition on Saturday when the Cardinals host Barry U. in an exhibition game.
And head coach Rick Pitino said he will use the game to work on certain situations, including trying to keep some key players out of foul trouble.
Pitino said he will use a rotation of players that is just six or seven deep, noting that "not everybody is going to play like in the scrimmages."
"The greatest motivator to play defense is the bench," said Pitino, noting he is trying to get some of the younger guys to play better on defense.
"Freshman are going to make mistakes, but you have to work hard."
Pitino said Montrezl Harrell has become a "great leader" and Terry Rozier "just does everything like a professional." He has also said Chris Jones has played exceptionally well in the preseason and Wayne Blackshear is "in the best shape he's been in and playing physical," while Mangok Mathiang must "play like Montrezl Harrell last year."
Those figure to be the starting five against Barry for U of L with sophomore Anton Gill and freshman Chinanu Onuaku also seeing quality minutes.
"Physically he's ready," Pitino said of Onuaku, who turns 18 on Saturday. "Mentally he's not." The freshman big man won't turn 18 until (tomorrow).
Pitino said he could play nine players in the game but "only six or seven will see significant minutes," noting he wants to try and work on making sure Blackshear doesn't get in foul trouble. He was prone to making fouls last season.
"His biggest problem is he uses his hands too much," Pitino said of Blackshear. "He's making progress. We have to keep him out of foul trouble."
Barry is coached by Butch Estes and is a Division II program but Pitino said they "have all Division I transfers," including Florida International transfer Deric Hill. He played for Richard Pitino at FIU two years ago.
The Buccaneers have three double-figure scorers back from last year's team that went 19-9 and made it to the Division II tournament. U of L practiced at Barry when it spent time in Miami early last season.
"They're very good," Pitino said. "It will be a good test for us."
Pitino said he's not "trying to give you a Lou Holtz act," but said he's not sure what to expect with this team heading into the season.
“I can’t figure these guys out; how good we are or what to expect this season," Pitino said. "I'm having a hard time figuring them out."