Louisville vs. Austin Peay

#4 seed Louisville (24-6, 11-5) faces the Austin Peay Governors (23-7, 13-3) in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament's East Region in Birmingham, AL Friday evening. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7:20 pm. Stay tuned to ITV for the best Cardinal Basketball coverage on the Internet.

 #4 Louisville vs. #13 Austin Peay

Date: Friday, March 21, 2003
Time: 7:20 pm
Site: Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center (16,750)
Television:  CBS
Radio: WHAS (840 AM)
National Rankings:
   AUSTIN PEAY    Not Ranked
   LOUISVILLE       20th AP, 13th USA Today/ ESPN
Significant injuries: AP- None U of L - Ellis Myles (Out)

The 4th seeded Louisville Cardinals are busy preparing for their first round NCAA Tournament matchup with 13th seed Austin Peay and the key word for the week is:  Focus.

''It's all about focus in the NCAA Tournament,'' Pitino said. ''And our team, if we lack one thing - we don't lack heart and desire - we lack in the focus area. We're weak in concentration and talking and communicating. . . . In a four-day period, if our guys are really serious about getting out of the first round, then they have to change their basketball personality and improve their focus, which is very poor.''

The Cards appear to be up to Pitino's challenge to increase its collective focus.  The Cards have won 5 of their last 6 games, and defeated Tulane, Memphis and UAB to claim its first C-USA Tournament championship over the weekend.

They also appear to have the right ingredients to make serious noise in the NCAA Tournament. 

In guard Reece Gaines and center Marvin Stone the Cards have experienced and hungy seniors eager to prove their talents to the nation and make the most of their last chance for post season glory.  Stone scored 15 points and corralled 6 rebounds against Memphis and limited Chris Massie to 0 points.  Gaines struggled offensively in the C-USA Tournament but provided the leadership and energy the team needed to cut down the nets on Saturday. 

Luke Whitehead has accepted his role on this team and Coach Pitino's ultimatum to rebound and produced three straight double-doubles in the C-USA Tournament to earn MVP honors.  Whitehead scored 17 points and 14 rebounds in the title win over UAB.

Interior reserves Kendall Dartez and Otis George have stepped up their productivity in Ellis Myles absence and have become dependable contributors off the bench.  The two forwards combined to score 34 points and pull down 12 rebounds in the C-USA Tourney.

And freshmen Taquan Dean, who nailed the game winning three in the C-USA semifinals against Memphis and Francisco Garcia, who was named to the C-USA All Tournament team, continue their outstanding play and appear oblivious to all post season pressure.

Coach Pitino apparently likes how his team has come together late in the season and to step up the intensity and pressure on the Cards NCAA opponents.

''I believe you've got to be more of a risk-taker,'' Pitino said. ''Run more. Press more. Have more fun. Don't be afraid to fail. And I think our players will do that. We have freshmen who are totally oblivious to pressure. We have seniors who are big-time basketball players. And we have so many middle guys who are rising to the occasion.

Meanwhile in Clarksville, TN, the Austin Peay Governors are excited to be playing in the NCAA Tournament close to home and are confident about their chances against the Cards in Birmingham.

"We are excited," Governors coach Dave Loos said. "One of the things we were hoping for was a site our fans could make it to, and we got that. I'm also excited about the No. 13 seed."

The Govs, the top defensive team in the OVC, face a major challenge trying to stop Louisville, the best offensive team in C-USA. 

"I think we match up very well," Davis said. "We're strong on the defensive side, and it seems like they struggle with pressure defense."

Despite talent, size and depth disadvantages, the Governor players remain confident and optimistic as they prepare for their first round matchup this week.

"I think this is a winnable game," Austin Peay guard Adrian Henning said. "We're going to go out and practice hard this week and try to get ready for an upset."

Individual Matchups

Louisville   Austin Peay

Reece Gaines

SR. 6'6, 215

First team All C-USA, Wooden Award Finalist.  17.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game.  Athletic pg that creates huge mismatch problems for opponents.  Cards leader in scoring, three pointers made and assists.

G

Corey Gipson

JR. 6'1, 185

OVC All Tourney. Athletic JUCO transfer point guard who plays solid defense.  Third on the team in steals with 32.  8.5 points, 2.5 assists per game.  Teams leading three point shooter with 54 on the season.

Taquan Dean

FR. 6'2, 175

All C-USA Freshman Team.  9.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game.  Solid defender who finished third in rebounding at the C-USA Tourney.  Dangerous three point shooter.

G

Rhet Wierzba

JR. 6'4, 190

Solid guard who finished second on team in steals (38) and made three pointers (52).  8.9 points, 3.8 rebounds per game.

Luke Whitehead

JR. 6'7, 220

C-USA Tourney MVP.  Three consecutive double-doubles to enter NCAA play.  Undersized, athletic rebounder who is playing best ball of the year.  8.5 points, 5.2 rebounds per game.

F

 

Adrian Henning

JR. 6'6, 205

OVC All Tourney.  Undersized, athletic power forward.  Govs leading scorer and rebounder.  15.4 points, 7.1 rebounds per game.

 

 

Francisco Garcia

FR. 6'7, 185

C-USA Freshman of the Year.  C-USA All Tourney.  Terrific scorer and passer who is ultra competitive and deadly from three point range.   Leads team with 39 blocks.  11.2 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists per game.

F

Anthony Davis

SO. 6'2, 190

Athletic, undersized small forward.  Teams second leading scorer and leader in steals (51). 14.0 points, 4.7 rebounds per game.

Marvin Stone

SR. 6'10, 255

Gives Cards inside presence.  Teams best post defender and rebounder.  36 blocks on season.  10.7 points, 7.2 rebounds per game.

C

Josh Lewis

JR. 6'8, 210

 OVC Tourney MVP.  Good athlete with improving offensive skills.  Govs leading shot blocker this year with 80. Third leading scored and second leading rebounder.  12.6 points, 7 rebounds per game.

 

Bench

Erik Brown

SR. 6'5, 190

18.7 minutes.  6.9 points, 2.2 rebounds per game.

 

G

Maurice Hampton

FR. 6'2, 160

14.6 minutes per game.  4.5 points, 1.5 rebounds. 

 

Kendall Dartez

JR. 6'10, 220

14.1 minutes.  4.5 points, 3.0 rebounds per game.

F

 

Bobbye Hill

JR. 6'8, 240

8.7 minutes per game.  1.6 points, 1.8 rebounds per game.

 

Bryant Northern

JR. 6'0, 185

11.1 minutes.  3.3 points, 1.1 rebounds per game.

G

Levi Carmichael

SO. 6'0, 175

14.0 minutes per game.  3.1 ppg.

 

Otis George

SO. 6'9, 215

8.4 minutes.  3.0 points, 1.9 rebounds pg..

C

Zac Schlader

FR. 6'9, 220

11.9 minutes per game.  2.3 points, 2 rebounds per game.

 

 

Team Comparison

Louisville
Statistical Category

Austin Peay

81.8
Points
71.3
68.5
Opponent Points
67.2
+13.4
Scoring Margin
+ 9.1
.460
FG %
.460
.402
Opponent FG %
.426
.360
3PT FG %
.357
.298
Opponent 3PT FG %
.364
.696
Free Throw %
.692
38.3
Rebounds
35.2
36.5
Opponent Rebounds
33.4
+1.8
Rebounding Margin
+ 1.8
16.6
Assists
13.8
13.4
Turnovers
15.3
4.7
Blocks
4.7

7.2

Steals

7.3

10 RPI 73
26 Strength of Schedule 179

 


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