The University of Louisville basketball team will open play in the NCAA on Friday; here's a notebook of items from the U of L camp

INDIANAPOLIS - The University of Louisville basketball team will open play in the NCAA on Friday; here's a notebook of items from the U of L camp. The Cardinals will play Jacksonville State on Friday at 2:40 p.m.

Cards loose in open workout

The University of Louisville basketball team had its mandatory open practice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in preparation for the opening game of the NCAA Tournament on Friday against Jacksonville State.

The Cardinals had a 'real' practice before coming to the tournament site where it was more of a shoot around.

After missing out on last year's tournament, the Cardinals said they are prepared and loose.

"I think we're ready," point guard Quentin Snider said. "We're playing our best basketball and we're confident."

Anas improved from the line?

Anas Mahmoud is hitting just 49 percent from the free-throw line this season but said he's been working "extra hard" since the loss to Duke last week to try and improve.

Mahmoud said he's hit 85 percent from the line in practice this week.

"(Coach David Padgett) told me to do like practice and I won't miss," Mahmoud said. "It's about confidence. I've been shooting a lot and working on it a lot and I'm getting more confident."

11 million a little high

Pitino joked earlier in the week that his team had shot 11 million free throws, trying to improve from the line.

"He said 11 million?" Mangok Mathiang asked. "Ha, it feels like it. It might be pretty close. Everybody has just been focused on it.

"It's a lot of free throws. It might not be 10 million but it's a lot of them."

Donovan Mitchell said most of the members of the team have been showing up around 11 p.m. each night and shooting extra free throws - trying to make 20 free throws at each basket in the Yum practice facility.

"It's crazy," Mitchell said. "Usually, guys come in at night and take jump shots but we know what we need to work on and guys are just shooting free throws. It's working, I think guys are becoming more confident."

Mitchell 'can't get too excited'

Donovan Mitchell said he felt like his poor effort against Duke was due to lack of experience.

"I know now I can't get too excited," Mitchell said. "I think I did get too excited in the last game. I can't do that. I need to stay even and stay locked in and focused. I've been talking to Q (Snider) a lot because he's been here before.

"I just need to stay focused."

Mitchell leads the team with 15.7 points a game and had nine 20-plus games in his last 19 outings.

U of L vs. the OVC

Louisville was a charter member of the Ohio Valley Conference, which is where Jacksonville State is in right now. The Cardinals were just in the league one season - 1948-49.

The Cardinals have a collective 123-41 record against current members of the OVC. U of L played one OVC team this season, beating Eastern Kentucky 87-56 on Dec. 17.


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