Now, the Cardinals face a different type of challenge in Newark, New Jersey.
"Not only is lack of preparation time a concern, but traveling to New York with one day to prepare is a major hassle," Pitino said. "By the time we get to the airport and by the time you get to the city, logistically you have a lot of problems. It is important we have a good crisp practice today, get a lot of rest, and watch as much film as we can cram in within a 24-hour period."
8 of their last 9 heading into
tonight's game at Seton Hall.
Here's the most pressing task for Louisville, who has won their last four games and 8 of their past 9: Following up their strong performance over Marquette with an equally strong effort on the road against the Pirates, who are just 1-3 in the Big East.
"We can't waste all these efforts and then turn around and give it up," Pitino said. "So we've really got to bring it. But I think our guys will. They feel good about themselves now and we'll be OK."
With their rousing win over Marquette Thursday night, Louisville moved into a tie for first in the Big East standings at 3-1. But continuing to build on their momentum won't be easy against the Pirates, who are led by 6'5 forward Brian Laing (18.4, 7.2) and 6'0 point guard Eugene Harvey (16.8). Seton Hall knocked off South Florida 74-64 Thursday, as freshman guard Jeremy Hazell scored 22 points and hit 5 of 11 three's.
Seton Hall comes in averaging 81.8 points, No. 2 in the Big East. They also led the league - and rank 9th in the nation - in steals at nearly 11 per game. The big keys for Louisville will be to take care of the basketball and prevent the Pirates, who shoot just 31 percent from three but take more three's than everyone in the Big East except Louisville and West Virginia, from getting hot from downtown.
"Seton Hall has a lot of similarities to Marquette. They're a big steal team and are great in transition," Pitino said. "In fact, with about three minutes to go at Marquette, it was anyone's game. They have explosive scorers and are a terrific one-on-one team. We have little preparation time, but we have to be ready for multiple defenses. They will press full court, they will press half court, and they will give you two or three different presses that change up on made buckets.
Fortunately, Louisville has emerged as one of the nation's strongest defensive outfits. The Cardinals rank 11th nationally in field goal percentage defense and held Marquette without a three-point field goal Thursday night.
"I am really proud of our guys coming out of the Marquette game. Mentally and physically, they zoned in," said Pitino. "Since Palacios and Padgett have returned, are maturity level has risen considerably. If we can continue to focus the way we have, we will be an outstanding defensive team and our offense will get better with each game.
"The BIG EAST is a meat grinder with eighteen league games and depth is a necessity. Having all of our guys back is a great luxury and every single guy has shown improvement. We need to continue to stay focused and not have a little relapse like we had against Rutgers. It was a great win on the road beating Rutgers, but we did not play as well as we did in previous games. We look forward to rebounding and playing much better on the road against Seton Hall."