NOTEBOOK: Louisville-Georgetown

Louisville started the season slowly, endured injuries and other distractions and now has re-grouped to win five of their last six games heading into an important Big East clash against No. 11 Georgetown Tuesday night.

Rick Pitino has had teams where there was so much talent that he simply had to keep them moving in the right direction.

This year's team has not been one of those.

Pitino's coaching has been challenged this season and, despite personal distractions, he has managed to find a way to use the pieces he has and get them winning.

With point guard Edgar Sosa and inside power Samardo Samuels as centerpieces, Pitino has been a maestro directing this team, changing defenses and altering personnel to fit situations.

The latest examples came Feb. 17 when Samuels had it his way offensively against Notre Dame, scoring a career-high 36 points in a double overtime game. Pitino left him in to play 45 minutes, even though he had been spelling him often with Terrence Jennings.

The next game, as Samuels was having defensive problems with DePaul's Mac Koshwal on Feb. 20, Pitino showed no reluctance in getting Jennings in the game to slow Koshwal.

His ability to mix and match became evident in the Notre Dame game when Sosa got himself into foul trouble. He put Preston Knowles into the game and moved senior off guard Jerry Smith to the point, rather than using freshman Peyton Siva.

"(Siva's) very weak for the Big East -- the slightest little bump and he gives up the ball," Pitino told the Louisville Courier-Journal. "I used Jerry because he's a senior (and) he plays point in practice quite often, so he was ready."

The results in all those cases were positive, and Louisville continues its late run toward the NCAAs.

F Samardo Samuels scored 36 points against Notre Dame in a double overtime victory. It was the most points scored by a Louisville player in eight years. He did it by making 16 of 19 free throws, tying the school record for free throws made.

G Edgar Sosa had eight assists twice and seven assists once in the past five games. He has had four assists or more in 16 games this year.

ON THE SPOT: It may have been the play of the year for Louisville and it came from Reginald Delk. The Cardinals were trailing Notre Dame by seven points in overtime when Delk, who has been a key player all year for coach Rick Pitino, hit a four-point play. It had been seven years since Louisville had produced a four-point play, and the timing could not have been better. Delk averages only 6.5 points a game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This isn't one of my better defensive teams that I've coached since I've been here. But that being said, with the game on the line, they could have folded about five times and they didn't do it." -- Coach Rick Pitino, after his team escaped with a double-overtime victory against Notre Dame.

Cardinal Authority Top Stories