Cards host Delaware State in NIT

Louisville will have to combat Delaware State's slow-down offensive style Friday night in the National Invitational Tourament. Delaware State advanced to tonight's game against the top-seeded Cardinals by defeating Northern Arizona earlier this week.

Scoring might be at a premium Friday night when Louisville takes on Delaware State in the National Invitational Tournament. Delaware State, which advanced to play the Cardinals by defeating Northern Arizona on the road earlier this week, has only allowed two opponents all season to score more than 70 points.

That's impressive, considering that Delaware State has played several heavy-weights this season, including UCLA, Rutgers, Michigan, Marquette, Bradley, and Maryland.

"The name Louisville's not going to intimidate this team one bit," Pitino said. "They played a lot of those teams tough, and they beat Kent State who is in the NCAA Tournament."

While Delaware State will get after Louisville with pressure defense, there's no question that the Cards opponent is adept at using the shot clock on offense.

"They do a lot of things defensively that UAB would do," said Pitino. "Then they turn around on offense and control the basketball. They like to milk the clock."

How does Pitino plan to counter Delaware State's slow-down offensive style?

"We just need to play smart, fundamental basketball," Pitino said.

The Cardinals enter tonight's game 18-12 on the season. Should they win, they'd face the winner of the Clemson/Louisiana Tech game next Wednesday.

"There are two ways to look at (playing) in the NIT," Pitino said. "You can either be deflated that you didn't make the NCAA or you can use it as Memphis did last year as a spring board to a great future."

Pitino said Taquan Dean and Chad Millard missed most of practice this week nursing injury. Dean is expected to play, while Millard is struggling with back pain. "He'll be fine by game time," Pitino said of Dean.

About 11,000 tickets have been sold for Friday's first round game against Delaware State in Freedom Hall, which would already be thousands more than the largest crowd at any other site to date. Should U of L advance to the quarterfinals, Freedom Hall will be available for the March 22 game.

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