|Date||Tuesday, December 30, 2003|
|Time/Location||7:38 p.m./ Freedom Hall (18,865)|
|Radio||WHAS (840 AM)|
|Series History||Louisville leads 6-1|
|U of L Ranking||AP 11th|
|Satellite Coord.||SBS 6, Transp 6 (KU Band)|
|Officials||Tom O'Neil, Mike Sanzere, Kevin Mathis|
Don't even think it. It's simply won't happen.
Even if you're not a gambler, rest assured this fact is a safe bet. Despite the fact that #11 Louisville is coming off Saturday's seismic win over rival Kentucky in Rupp Arena, there will be no let down tonight against the deep and talented Toledo Rockets. And U of L head coach Rick Pitino says you can take that to the bank.
"They're much better than even their record indicates," Pitino said of the Rockets. "This is a team that my team will definately be up for. Once they watched Toledo, they forgot all about Kentucky."
Toledo enters the game as a battle tested road team, having won five of six games this season away from home. And the Rockets do it with offense.
"Their two and three men are as dynamic a combo as there is in college basketball," Pitino said of Villegas and Triplett. "Triplett's as good a two guard as we'll see come in here. Villegas is also a great, great player. When you watch him, you'll think you're watching Francisco Garcia. That's how good he is."
Unlike Lousville, who played an emotionally charged game just three days ago, Toledo has had eight days since beating Wright State 103-66 to prepare for their trip to Freedom Hall.
"Playing against Louisville will certainly be our toughest test of the season," Toledo head coach Stan Joplin said. "We'll need to try to keep them off the boards and prevent them from getting on any big scoring runs so we can keep the game close."
Pitino says the key to getting ready to play a game like this following a big rivalry win is really very simple.
"Preparation, focus, respect for your opponent, and humility," Pitino said explaining the secret of his team's success after big games. "When we play Toledo we have an unbelievable amount of respect for their abilities. We showed unbelievable character, as much as any team I've coached, against Kentucky."
Instead of having a negative impact on his team's play, Pitino senses Saturday's win is having the opposite effect.
"I'm seeing a change in the entire team," Pitino said. "Their self esteem is very high."
Pitino will also make another change to his starting five tonight, reinserting 6'4 Larry O'Bannon back into the starting lineup after the junior scored 11 points Saturday in U of L's win over Kentucky.
"We're going to need him to guard Triplett in this game," Pitino said.
Probable Starting Lineups
|F||Luke Whitehead||6-6||220||Sr||14.4||9.9||San Francisco|
|F||Francisco Garcia||6-7||185||So||17.5||4.9||Bronx, NY|
|C||Kendall Dartez||6-10||225||Sr||5.0||4.4||Houston, TX|
|G||Taquan Dean||6-3||185||So||12.8||4.1||Neptune, NJ|
|C||A.J. Shellabarger||6-9||250||Sr||4.3||2.9||Calina, OH|
|G||Justin Ingram||6-2||180||Fr||10.3||2.8||Lansing, MI|
|G||Sammy Villegas||6-6||204||So||14.3||3.0||Lima, OH|