Pitino wants continued improvement in exhibition

No. 17 Louisville (4-1) faces Lindsey Wilson (6-1), the No. 2 ranked team in NAIA, in an exhibition tonight at Freedom Hall in preparation for Saturday's showdown against Florida.

University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino wants his team to play two exhibition games each year; however, he'd prefer to play both games in the month of November rather than interupting the regular-season schedule.

Off to a 4-1 start, Pitino's No. 17 ranked Cardinals face NAIA Lindsey Wilson in tonight's exhibition, essentially a tune-up for Saturday's showdown against Billy Donovan's Florida Gators in Gainesville.

"We want to play two exhibition games before the season starts," Pitino said. "This is not a good situation and to play an exhibition game right now is very difficult."

Lindsey Wilson (6-1), one of the best team's in the NAIA ranks this season, enters tonight's exhibition ranked No. 2 in the country. They'll be led by 6'7, 220-pound forward Terrance Taylor (13.6, 8.4) and 6'6, 210-pound forward John Spivey (13.3, 7.1).

"For their level, they're one of the better teams in the country," Pitino said.

Pitino once again will be without the services of reserve forward Otis George. George missed Saturday's game against Lafayette with a sore right foot and his status for this weekends game against the Gators isn't known.

"We're still not going to have Otis George and whether or not we'll have him for Florida I don't know," Pitino said. "He either has a bruised foot or a pre-stress fracture but nothing has shown up on the x-rays that make us think it's a stress fracture. We'll try to practice him tomorrow."

With Saturday's tilt with Florida looming, Pitino wants to see continued improvement in three critical areas from his team.

"What we want out of this game is to continue to work on our rebounding, our screening and movement and on our defenses," Pitino explained. "We're still not where we want to be on defense and we need to pick it up and grow a little bit defensively."

Pitino was critical of his teams defensive effort in its 98-57 victory over Lafayette last Saturday, citing the Leopards numerous open looks at the basket.

Besides continued improvement on defense, Pitino also wants to provide his bench with more playing time and experience before heading to Gainesville this weekend.

"The more we can play guys like Lorenzo Wade, Brad Gianiny and some of the other guys the better they become in gaining experience [to play] a Florida," Pitino said.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:38 PM at Freedom Hall.

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