Struggling Cards face big task against UConn

No. 17 Louisville (13-4, 1-3) has dropped three of their last four games and face a daunting task Saturday night when they host third-ranked Connecticut (15-1, 3-1) without senior guard Taquan Dean.

Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals are on the slide. They've lost three of their past four games, and senior Taquan Dean will miss a few more games with a high ankle sprain. The Cards are struggling offensively, and to make matters worse, two freshmen reserves, Chad Millard and Bryan Harvey, are also ailing.

Now, the struggling Cards must face, perhaps, the nation's most talented team in Connecticut.

"We have a lot of things going against us right now, but anything can happen," said Pitino.

While Louisville is coming off an uninspiring 12 point loss to St. John's earlier this week, the Huskies appear to be putting things together. Jim Calhoun's squad sliced up Sryacuse's vaunted zone on the road the other night, and won in impressive fashion in the Carrier Dome.

"Syracuse tried to beat them with the zone, and they just took Syracuse apart," Pitino said. "You can't beat UConn with a zone."

The Huskies are led by All-America candidate Rudy Gay, point guard Marcus Williams and center Josh Boone. Williams missed the first semester after being suspended for legal issues, and it's clear UConn has taken it's game to another level with him back on the court.

"They're deep, they're tall, they have great experience, and a great point guard," Pitino said. "For the fourth straight year they're the number one shot blocking team in the country. They can beat you inside or outside. They're as good as it gets." "They're one of the top three transition teams in the nation," Pitino said.

UConn clearly presents problems with their offense. The Huskies average 84 points, and have shot 55 percent from the floor in their past two games. They're also got a strong defensive team. The Huskies average a nation's best 9.4 blocked shots per game, and swatted 16 against the Orange.

"They have all the ingredients to win the national championship," said Pitino.

The Cards biggest problem in league play has been on the boards. St. John's out-rebounded Louisville by 15, and the Cardinals struggled against both Villanova and Pittsburgh.

"Every Big East game we've been dominated on the glass, and if we allow UConn to do that to us we probably can't win," Pitino said.


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