U of L basketball: Weekly notebook

Rick Pitino

Here are a few notes from Cardinal Authority surrounding the University of Louisville basketball team heading into Friday's game against Southern Mississippi. The defending national champions are 5-1 on the season.

PITINO BLOGS ON MISSED LAYUPS

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino isn't meeting with the media before Friday's game against Southern Mississippi.

So, the Hall of Fame coach posted on his blog.

One of the key points in the blog, which talked about the Southern Miss game and also the loss on Sunday to North Carolina, was missed layups.

By Pitino's count, the Cardinals missed 13 layups.

Luke Hancock missed three, while Montrezl Harrell, Chane Behanan, Russ Smith and Chris Jones missed two apiece in the 93-84 loss to North Carolina. Kevin Ware and Terry Rozier missed one apiece.

Pitino called them "obvious mishaps" on offense.

He wrote, "13 missed makeable layups. Some were semi-challenged but they were all makeable."

CHECKING OUT SOUTHERN MISS

The game on Friday against the Golden Eagles will be at 7 o'clock and will match Pitino against Donnie Tyndall.

Pitino points out that Tyndall "knows us very well," after guiding Morehead State to a win over U of L three years ago in the NCAA Tournament.

Southern Miss is 6-0 after a win over North Dakota State last Tuesday night. The Golden Eagles have seven players who came from the junior-college ranks.

"This will be a tough opponent," Pitino said. "(On defense), they are almost a twin of what we did the last two years."

Tyndall has two assistants with Kentucky ties, including former Male High and Murray State star Chris Shumate, who has been an assistant at Cincinnati, and former Morehead assistant and Bowling Green native Adam Howard.

CARDS BACK WORKING HARD

After taking Monday off, the Cardinals went with individuals and a full-team workout on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The team is expected to spend Thanksgiving practicing and then together for dinner before playing on Friday.

Pitino said his team was going to work "diligently" the next three days and at the end of his blog said the problems "will improve."

He noted the team was in the wrong defense eight times against UNC.

BLACKSHEAR FINALLY HEALTHY

Junior Wayne Blackshear didn't have the game he wanted against UNC, going scoreless and getting in foul trouble.

But Blackshear is still the fourth-leading scorer on the team at 9.3 points a game and has seemingly turned the corner this season.

"I worked so hard in the offseason," he said. "I had to get my body right."

Blackshear has been hampered by two shoulder injuries since he arrived at U of L. He was first injured at McDonald's All-American practice.

But he said this is the first time he has felt 100 percent there mentally.

"I don't think it was ever the shoulders (last year)," he said. "I felt like it was me in the back of my head, thinking about it. I had been getting hurt so much that I just always had it on my mind.

"But I am past that now. I just need to keep improving my game now."

THE GUARDS ON DEFENSE

Russ Smith and Chris Jones combined for 56 points against North Carolina and are the teams top scorers through six games.

But it's not offense that Pitino has been worried about.

"They're going to score," he said. "But they're not as good defensively (in the backcourt) as we were with Peyton.

"Chris is talented but he's still learning. We have three guys back there (including Terry Rozier) who has a great mentality to score. They have to keep improving on defense."

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