Well, it will be a year after this (barring a meeting in the Big East Tourney) before Pitt plays Louisville once more. Louisville will spend one more year in the Big East with Notre Dame.
The big news going into the game was supposed to be about both teams needing to prove something.
Pittsburgh has won four in a row, but the Panthers don’t have a ton of great wins — the two best are probably Georgetown and Connecticut. A road win over the Cardinals would be impressive. Speaking of Louisville, it has lost three in a row to tumble from the No. 1 ranking. Pace will be a factor in this one, as will the ability of Tray Woodall and James Robinson to take care of the ball. On the other side, the Pittsburgh guards need to stop dribble-penetration and hope the Cardinals aren’t hot from 3-point range.
As a general rule, I find most teams have to hope the other side doesn’t heat up from outside the arc.
But the story has slightly changed as Louisville is going to be a little shorthanded. Wayne Blackshear — once more — has injured his shoulder and Kevin Ware was suspended for the game.
I have no knowledge of what Ware did or how long he’ll be sidelined, but let’s just say that this morning I was given a description of Pitino’s rage regarding this situation, and there is no portion of that description that I could include in this post without receiving an X-rating.
/Insert obligatory joke regarding the tirade lasting maybe 15 seconds.
From a scoring perspective, it is a piece but not huge. The two combine to average 13 points/game. But they are both part of the backcourt — Ware is a guard while Blackshear is a slashing guard-forward. Blackshear averages 22 minutes and Ware almost 16.
The pressure only increases on Peyton Siva to avoid foul trouble. Something that has limited him in this Cardinal losing steak. Louisville can’t afford to have to sit him as much with less backcourt depth.
I’m stuck once more on DVR delay. A disturbing trend this season.