Coping without Caracter

Louisville (5-2) tangles with Purdue in the John Wooden Tradition this afternoon in Indianapolis – minus starting center Derrick Caracter.

Louisville (5-2) tangles with Purdue in the John Wooden Tradition this afternoon in Indianapolis – minus starting center Derrick Caracter.

Without Caracter, who is suspended for the game for breaking curfew last weekend, Rick Pitino only has seven scholarship players available on his bench. With an already thin front court, Pitino has had to juggle his roster and get creative with lineup configurations this week due to Caracter's absence.

Terrance Farley steps in for Derrick
Caracter against Purdue.

"Earl is going to play a little at the five spot, which worries me a little bit," Pitino said. "He's had to learn a new position this week. Everybody is going to have to play different positions. We had a great week of practice and our ratings are far different than they have been. And that's quite pleasing."

The depth problem for the Cardinals has gotten so bad this week that Pitino recruited 6'8 Josh Chichester from the football team. Chichester practiced with the team this week and could see action today, if needed.

"Getting Josh in here is going to help us tremendously," Pitino said. "He gives another good, athletic body to play. I think in two weeks he can contribute and help us win but that doesn't mean he's not going to play on Saturday. He may have to play a few minutes on Saturday."

The Cardinals should be well rested, though. They haven't played since falling to Dayton last Saturday in Freedom Hall. In Purdue, Louisville will face a young but talented opponent. The Boilermakers start four freshmen in their lineup.

"This is the best opponent we will have faced," Pitino said. "The shocking thing is how well they play defense being so young. They create a lot of steals and they play the passing lanes very well. This is another great challenge."

With Caracter sidelined, Pitino could turn to a four-guard lineup against Purdue. While that arrangement would improve the Cardinals quickness on the court, it might not be the best scenario on the backboard.

"I'm concerned about the backboard any time you play four guards," Pitino said.

Pitino also wants to see his team play better defense in the paint - a difficult proposition for a team that can't afford foul problems.

"We've been playing good defense in terms of guarding the perimeter and stopping the three-point shot but we have not done a good job defending the low-post," Pitino said. "We've been working very hard on that this week. And we've got to create more turnovers. But 50 percent of the reason we're not creating turnovers is we're trying to play position defense and stay out of foul trouble because fouls are going to dictate whether we win or lose."

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