Winners of seven straight, coupled with the return of starting center Gorgui Dieng from injury, and the fourth-ranked Cardinals appear to have entered the new year in great form. However, the emergence of the annual flu bug has infected the Louisville basketball program and created a few battles this week.
“We’re battling the flu bug a little bit,” Pitino explained in his opening comments at his pre-game press conference on Tuesday.
Louisville (12-1) will play its Big East Conference opener on Wednesday evening against Providence (8-4) at the KFC Yum! Center and the team’s preparation for the Friars has been hindered.
Chane Behanan, who is coming off an impressive 20 point outing against Kentucky, is among those that have been slowed by the virus.
“I was sick during the Kentucky game,” said Pitino. “Chane Behanan and Mango are sick, so we’re a little under the weather right now. Our practices have not been good, so we are hoping that it’s not a long [term] bug”
Pitino added that the sophomore forward may still be unable to play by game time.
“They’ve been sick for a couple days and I think Chane is doubtful, but we’ll see.”
Louisville leads the all-time series 11-6, including six consecutive home wins against Providence. However, the last time the two teams met, the Friars upset the nationally-ranked Cardinals 90-59.
Tipoff between Louisville and Providence was moved up to 6:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3.com, as well as WHAS locally.