Providence (12-3) is 2-0 in the league, having beaten Marquette and Seton Hall. The Friars are led by a trio of sophomores – forwards Jonathan Kale (7.2), Weyinmi Efejuku (15.9) and guard Geoffrey McDermott (11.3) and senior center Herbert Hill, who leads Providence in scoring at 16.7 points per game.
The Friars also will get back point guard Sharaud Curry, who was suspended for the last four games for a violation of team rules but will play against Louisville Saturday.
"They are a big time team," Pitino said. "They were young last year and now they are blossoming."
Louisville is coming off one of their best performances of the season, getting their first road win in over a year Wednesday night against South Florida. The Cardinals shot 52 percent from the floor and made 13-30 three's.
The Cardinals are also getting better play from sophomore forward Terrence Williams, who has connected on 49 percent of his shots over the last four games, including 10-of-26 from the three-point line. For the season, Williams, the team's leading scorer, has made just 23 percent of his shots from the three-point stripe.
"I think the way we shot the ball against South Florida will be a big lift for our guys," Pitino said. "They do a great job passing the ball, spacing the floor and being unselfish. Now I want them to just take the open shot and not worry about if it goes in or not."
Palacios' status for Saturday's game against the Friars remains uncertain. He's nursing both neck and back injuries.
"It's very difficult to say how long he'll be out because he's the slowest healer," Pitino said. "It could be Monday or next week."
Caracter could also see the court Saturday against Providence. He didn't play against South Florida and has played in just seven of the Cardinals 16 games this season.
"He'll be suiting up tomorrow," Pitino said.
Another freshman, forward Earl Clark, didn't play against the Bulls, either. He's had an up and down first season and is still learning the ropes of Rick Pitino's system.
"He's going to be a terrific player," Pitino said. "But he doesn't understand defense, running sets or spacing."
Pitino no fan of the Internet?
Is Rick Pitino a fan of the Internet? You wouldn't think so judging by his comments Friday afternoon at his pre-game press conference prior to Saturday's game against Providence.
"I don't know how much the Internet plays in their (players) lives, but I would imagine that it does," Pitino said. "I try to tell them - don't let it be part of your life because there's nothing of value on there except if you're searching the web to buy things. I hope they don't ever read message boards or things of that nature."
Populated by people from all walks of life, including community leaders, businessmen and women, doctors, professors, lawyers, students, teachers, prominent boosters and season ticket holders, message board posters don't appear to be Pitino's cup of tea.
"I stole a line from (Colin Cowherd)," Pitino said. "He said message boards are unsuccessful people knocking successful people. And I couldn't have thought of that any better. That is about as on the money as any statement I've ever seen."