With Marquette's win over Pittsburgh last night, Louisville now has an opportunity to tie the Panthers in the Big East standings at 12-4 – with a victory today. By virtue of their win last month against Pittsburgh, Louisville would receive the higher seed in New York later this week.
Today's game will also mark the final home game for four seniors: guards Brandon Jenkins, Brad Gianiny, and Chris Current and forward Perrin Johnson. A starting guard, Jenkins was the only one of the four that was recruited and given a scholarship to come play for Rick Pitino's Cardinals.
"You may wonder how special this group is to me because we had three guys that came here as walk-ons with B.J.," Pitino said. "These guys have just been unbelievable in understanding their roles and you have to have that to build a successful program. They've helped us on and off the court and I don't think we would have gotten David Padgett to come here without Chris and Brad. They were instrumental in recruiting him."
While Jenkins, a two-year starter, has been a key contributor throughout his career, Gianiny, Current and Johnson played lesser – yet important – roles.
"They never have a bad day – they bring it every day," Pitino said. "And they're always upbeat and positive. Everybody wants to play and not everybody is able to sit and watch and learn their roles. But these guys are able to sit and cheer their teammates on. They've been an integral part of the team by understanding their roles."
While Louisville, winners of five straight, enters the game as one of nation's hottest teams, Seton Hall is limping into Freedom Hall. The Pirates, led by freshman guard Eugene Harvey, have dropped nine of their past eleven games, including a 70-67 loss at last place Cincinnati last Wednesday.
The Cardinals have already assured themselves a first-round bye in next weeks Big East Tournament in New York's Madison Square Garden. Still, there's much at stake for Louisville when they tip against Seton Hall, who rank second nationally in steals, at noon.
"I'm not one for starting seniors just because it's senior night," Pitino said. "We have to win this game and this is a team that is No. 1 in steals and even though their record doesn't indicate it they're very tough to play because they disrupt your offense. So we've got to win this game, but I hope they can be apart of this victory."