Pitino expects competitive exhibition slate

Louisville will open the exhibition portion of their schedule tonight against Carleton University at Freedom Hall, then turn around for a second exhibition contest Wednesday against Georgetown College.

Louisville will open the exhibition portion of their schedule tonight against Carleton University at Freedom Hall, then turn around for a second exhibition contest Wednesday against Georgetown College.

Carleton isn't a mystery opponent for Rick Pitino's team. The two teams faced each other in Canada last season with Louisville escaping with a 67-66 win on Juan Palacios last second basket. Carleton already has nine games under their belts this season, boasting an impressive 7-2 exhibition record.

"These two exhibition games go hand in hand with our schedule," Pitino said. "They'll both be extremely competitive and exactly what we need. Carleton has beaten Alabama, taken Illinois into overtime and played Villanova tough. So it will be a terrific test for us.

"Georgetown College won their opener by 50 and were very difficult to play last year. We have two exhibitions and it's something we need to get ready for the Las Vegas tournament in a few weeks."


Carleton has won five straight Canadian national championships and is a deep and experienced outfit that should provide a stern early season test for Louisville, especially on the defensive end of the court.

"We've just been working on our offensive and defensive execution," Pitino said. "75 percent of our practices right now are just drilling on defense. Carleton is an experienced team and because of their depth and experience they've played these teams tough. I'm really curious about this game because it will be a great barometer to tell where we are at this point.

"They'll get up and down, they run a lot of pick and rolls and they execute real well," Pitino said. "We had a tough game against them last year and they have a lot of games under their belt. They're way ahead of us from an execution standpoint. They've played a lot of games and they're about three weeks ahead of us in terms of execution."

Pitino said he intends to start off the exhibition game with David Padgett at power forward and Terrance Farley at center.

"We'll see how David plays at the four spot," Pitino said. "Defensively, Terrance will play the four and David will play the five. Offensively, Terrance will be at the five and David will be at the four."

Pitino is excited with Padgett's play so far during pre-season practice.

"David is playing the best basketball of his career right now," Pitino said. "He's moving great – pain-free. He's making great moves – great offensive decisions. His leadership is tremendous. It's really great to see David playing like this. I have six pro scouts in already and all of them have said how good he looks."

It also appears that sophomore guard Jerry Smith will be back in the lineup tonight. Smith missed the Cardinals public scrimmage last week because of a thigh bruise.

"Jerry is fine," Pitino said.

Pitino also said that sophomore center Derrick Caracter is close to making his weight goals and it appears he'll be ready to go against Carleton this evening.

"He's very close," Pitino said. "He's about two pounds away from making it. Two pounds for Derrick is nothing. He can lose it sleeping."

On the injury front, senior forward Juan Palacios continue to mend from a torn MCL sustained in Louisville's second practice earlier this month.

"He's only about two weeks into his rehab," Pitino said. "He is walking on it gingerly and we expect he'll have full range of motion in another week or so."

Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised live on WBKI channel 34 in Louisville.


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