looks ahead at Cards upcoming schedule
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino says that the No. 9-ranked Cardinals upcoming schedule, beginning with a Wednesday night showdown with DePaul, will be a stiff challenge for his team.
"Right now our schedule takes on new meaning and we have to play a DePaul team that, I'm not sure if we can keep them off the backboard," Pitino said at Tuesday's news conference. "Then we go at Tennessee, at Southern Miss, Indiana, Cincinnati at home, at Houston, at Marquette, Memphis, at Cincinnati and then Marquette at home. We knew there would be some bumps in the road, and it looks like they are staring right in front of us right now."
The first test will be DePaul in Freedom Hall tomorrow night. Louisville (12-1, 4-0) owns a 12 game winning streak over the Blue Demons (10-4, 2-1), but new DePaul head coach Dave Leitao has already made a huge impact in Chicago and his team has responded.
"DePaul is as different a basketball team as I have seen," Pitino said. "They are a team that has changed their style of play, their defensive scheme, their rebounding scheme and the way they control the ball on offense. They are night and day a totally different basketball team."
DePaul is led by their big frontcourt in center Sam Hoskins (6'9, 250) and forwards Andre Brown (6'9, 230) and Quemont Greer (6'7, 220). Hoskins leads the team in scoring at 14.6 points per game and pulls down seven rebounds, while Brown snags 8.5 rebounds a contest.
Once again, Louisville's defense could be a key. The Cardinals have held nine consecutive opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the floor, a feat unmatched in school history.
Pitino said that he expects the Cards to see a lot of two-three zone from the Blue Demons and that sounds great to freshman sharp shooter Taquan Dean.
"When you hear that, it makes any shooter perk up," Dean said. "We just have to move the ball and get it in to the big men. If we do that, we can break that zone easily."
Tip off tomorrow night is at 7:38 p.m. and the game will be televised on WDRB Fox 41 with Don Russell doing play-by-play and former Cardinal great Junior Bridgeman doing the color.
Reece Gaines eight assists against TCU on Saturday moved him into ninth place all-time at U of L. The 6'6 senior now has 379-career assists.
Senior center Marvin Stone has been on fire of late. He scored a career high 23 points on Thursday at East Carolina, and followed that up on Saturday with 22 against TCU. The 6'10 Stone shot 77 percent in the last two games, hitting on 17 of 22 shots.
The Cardinals 12-1 start is their best since the 1996-97 Cardinals started 15-1 en route to an appearance in the final eight of the NCAA tournament, and the 11 game winning streak is the longest since the 1988-89 season.
The Cardinals lead Conference USA in scoring offense (85.2), scoring margin (+ 19.5) and assists (18.4).