LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -Rick Pitino told everybody his team was not in a shooting slump.
After shooting just 39 percent in consecutive losses to Georgetown and Pittsburgh, Louisville won its first two games of the NCAA tournament by a combined 48 points.
OK, so now maybe the Cardinals are getting kind of hot. But still, Pitino was worried after those two losses, right?
``I told you I wasn't,'' he said. ``What do you think now?''
In two tournament games, the Cardinals are shooting 58 percent on field goals and an incredible 51 percent on 3-pointers.
Jerry Smith, usually one of Louisville's surest jump shooters, was back on track, shooting 9-of-17 from the field against Boise State and Oklahoma, compared with 1-of-17 in the previous two games.
The difference? Shot selection.
``I've seen us have some really bad shooting practices, some real bad shooting games,'' Pitino said. ``It's always the result of taking bad shots. ... I was never concerned about Jerry Smith.''
Of course, as No. 3 seeds, the Cardinals were supposed to beat the Sooners and Broncos. But now No. 2 Tennessee is up next on Thursday.
The Volunteers do just about everything well that Louisville does, and that includes a deep rotation.
Louisville can often wear other teams down as they use 10 or 11 players per game, but 11 Volunteers play 10 minutes or more per game, ``maybe the deepest team we'll face this year, so our depth won't be too much of an advantage,'' Pitino said.
An ankle injury kept Tennessee scoring leading Chris Lofton from practicing Tuesday, but he's expected to play Thursday, a team spokesman said.
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