Louisville at full strength

A few hundred Louisville fans were treated to a thirty minute shoot around Wednesday afternoon at Rupp Arena. The six-seeded Cardinals are preparing for their first-round NCAA Tournament game Thursday against No. 11 Stanford (18-12).

A few hundred Louisville fans were treated to a thirty minute shoot around Wednesday afternoon at Rupp Arena. The six-seeded Cardinals are preparing for their first-round NCAA Tournament game Thursday against No. 11 Stanford (18-12).

The big story for Louisville was Juan Palacios. The 6-8 junior forward returned to practice this week and showed no ill affects during the shoot around from the back spasms that have sidelined him for the past few weeks.

Palacios is expected to play tomorrow against the Cardinal and his presence could provide a huge boost to Louisville's front court. "Tello looks really good and he's practicing well," center David Padgett said. "I think everybody should be able to play tomorrow."

Though Earl Clark is expected to start against Stanford, Rick Pitino surely is glad to have Palacios at his disposal, against a tall and physical Cardinal frontline that features 7-0 freshmen twins Brook and Robin Lopez. "I just want some quality minutes (from him)," Pitino said.

Sophomore forward Terrence Williams also looked 100 percent during the public workout Wednesday and showed no signs that the groin he injured against Pittsburgh in the Big East semifinals will hinder his performance against Stanford. Williams powered in several crowd pleasing dunks toward the end of the Cardinals practice.

Louisville's freshmen also didn't appear too worried about their upcoming NCAA Tournament - the first such game for starters Edgar Sosa and Earl Clark, and reserves Jerry Smith and Derrick Caracter.

"They are totally oblivious to stress," Pitino said. "I think they will play very well in this tournament."

Stanford took the court about an hour before Louisville. One thing is very apparent upon first glance about the Cardinal: They're big. Stanford's practice wasn't as spirited as was Louisville, but it's a near certainty that Louisville will have their work cut out for them trying to rebound against Stanford's 7-0 twins. In fact, how well Louisville rebounds could well determine the Cardinals fate.

"They beat you with power and size," Pitino said. "The key will be whether or not we can rebound with them. We have to take great shots because we won't get second shots."

Louisville and Stanford will tip at 12:40 Thursday.


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