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Louisville's basketball team has struggled at the free-throw line; the Cardinals are getting extra work in this weekend at the line

Louisville's basketball team has struggled at the free-throw line; the Cardinals are getting extra work in this weekend at the line.

It's not like the University of Louisville basketball team doesn't practice free throws.

U of L coach Rick Pitino has said on multiple occasions this season that he actually spends more time with this team than he has with past teams, working during and after practices on improving free-throw shooting.

But it hasn't worked.

In an ACC loss to Duke on Thursday, the Cardinals were just 15 of 26 from the line and are now shooting just 68.5 percent for the season, a number that ranks 233rd out of 351 teams in Division I basketball.

"Unbelievable," Pitino said after the game on Thursday on his WHAS-840 interview. "We practice free throws more than we ever have but it hasn't worked and we might have to do something else."

And that something else is more work and perhaps a lineup change.

The Cardinals landed around 2:30 p.m. on Friday in Louisville and were practicing at 4 p.m. On Saturday, the Cardinals went in the afternoon but many of the players spent more time in the gym shooting free throws before and after practice.

"We have unlimited time to work on it this week," Pitino said, noting U of L is on spring break.

Pitino has also hinted in several conversations that his staff is tinkering with the idea of "going small" when the team gets in the bonus late in games, meaning he could go with one big man and four guards.

V.J. King hits 82.1 percent, while Donovan Mitchell is hitting 80 percent along with Deng Adel (76.1) and Quentin Snider (72.5). So those four could be in the game along with one of the big men, likely Mangok Mathiang - who is hitting 66.7 percent but is up to 72.4 in ACC play.

"I think we're just not focusing at the end of practice when we shoot free throws for some reason," Mitchell said. "It was everybody (in the Duke game) and we can't have that happen. We just have to stay focused."


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