LOUISVILLE — Louisville acting drillmaster David Padgett opened his Friday columnist appointment with some breaking news, announcement that he won’t be afterward in the big-ticket footsteps — or accouterment choices — of his predecessor, Rick Pitino
“I apperceive what’s on everybody’s apperception so I’ll go advanced and abode it now, I will not be cutting a white clothing tomorrow,” Padgett said with a smile.
Pitino abundantly wore a white suit, and sweated through it in the aboriginal half, during a Cardinals’ “White Out” d adjoin Georgetown several years ago.
Louisville admirers accept to achievement that moment of absurdity is a acceptable assurance for the Cardinals (18-8, 8-5 in the ACC), who activate a alarming final bristles amateur of the approved division by hosting No. 14 North Carolina (20-7, 9-5) at 8:16 p.m. tonight at the KFC Yum! Center. The game, which will be addition “White Out,” is the alpha of a barbarous amplitude that includes a cruise to No. 12 Duke on Wednesday, followed by addition to Virginia Tech aing Saturday. After that Louisville will host No. 1 Virginia on March 1 afore closing out its approved division at N.C. State.
“With bristles difficult amateur comes bristles big opportunities,” Padgett said of the accessible agenda that could make, or break, the Cardinals’ NCAA Tournament chances. “We’ve had a actual acceptable anniversary of practice. We took a brace canicule off beforehand in the anniversary from convenance and affectionate of aloof regrouped. The guys assume accessible to go. They accept a absolutely acceptable focus about them, so hopefully that translates into us arena able-bodied tomorrow and aggravating to get one of these aing five.”
Of advance it won’t be easy. The arresting civic best Tar Heels accept won four beeline games, including an 82-78 achievement over archrival Duke.
North Carolina is led by 6-foot-8 green inferior Luke Maye (18.3 points, 10.4 rebounds per game), who hit the game-winning attempt adjoin Kentucky in the Elite Eight aftermost year, and chief bouncer Joel Berry II (17.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, three assists). The Tar Heels additionally affection alum alteration Cameron Johnson (13.1 points, 4.7 rebounds), who torched Louisville aftermost division back he played at Pittsburgh, as able-bodied as inferior bouncer Kenny Williams (11.6 points, 3.4 rebounds) and chief advanced Theo Pinson (9 ppg, 6.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists).
“They’re acutely altered in a brace areas than accustomed Carolina teams. They don’t accept the two acceptable low-post presence[s] like they’ve had in the past,” Padgett said. “They’re alarming this year because they shoot the brawl so well. They boilerplate 18 assists a d in alliance play, which is an absurd number. They’re a high-assist team, you’ve got to be there on the t and you’ve got to be accessible to claiming a lot of shots, because they’re activity to booty a lot of jump shots but they can accomplish them. We’re activity to accept to avert the 3-point line.
“Obviously the backboard is activity to be a big, big agency in the game, as it consistently is with them. But we’ve got to appear out and avert like I apperceive we’re able of doing. … We can’t get into a clue accommodated area we’re aggravating to barter baskets with them and accomplish it a 98-95-type game. We accept to run our breach and break accommodating and aloof do what we do. Instead of accepting a acceptable shot, try to get a abundant shot.”
Something that should advice the Cards is the acknowledgment of arch scorer Deng Adel (15.5 points). The inferior advanced has sat out the accomplished two amateur with an abate injury.
“As continued as he doesn’t accept any setbacks he should be accessible to go a little bit,” Padgett said. “We’ve aloof been demography it day-by-day. That hasn’t absolutely changed.”
And the Cards are aloof aggravating to booty their end of the division agenda game-by-game.
“It’s bristles actual difficult games, there’s no assault about the backcountry about it … but we’re aloof aggravating to booty it one d at a time,” Padgett said. “It’s the end of February, every game’s boxy at this point of the year.”
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