|Louisville coach Pitino could win No. 500 Saturday vs. Purdue|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 14 December 2007 15:23|
The 22nd-ranked Cardinals play Purdue in the early game at the Wooden Tradition. Florida State will play No. 18 Butler in the second game.
Louisville fell short in Pitino's first attempt to reach the milestone when the Cardinals lost to Dayton at home last Saturday. His second try will come against a team he says plays as intensely on defense as any team in the country.
He especially likes Purdue's young players. The Boilermakers have at times had four freshmen on the court at the same time - Robbie Hummel, Scott Martin, JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore.
``We're very impressed with Purdue,'' Pitino said. ``It's amazing those four freshmen can play so well on the defensive end. Freshmen generally do not play good defense. It's going to be something to behold as time goes on and they click together.''
Forward Earl Clark averages 14.1 points and 11.9 rebounds for the Cardinals, who are holding opponents to 36 percent shooting this season.
Purdue coach Matt Painter knows what he's up against.
``We know that playing a team like Louisville, with a great basketball tradition and a Hall of Fame coach, is an honor,'' Painter said. ``At the same time, we tell the guys, this is what you came to Purdue for.''
Florida State (9-2), is on a six-game winning streak. Butler, which won the Great Alaska Shootout last month, lost at Wright State last Saturday.
Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton expects a tough game from Butler, which will be playing just a few miles from its campus.
``We have such a healthy respect for the job that Coach (Brad) Stevens and Butler is doing,'' he said. ``They definitely have our attention. I'm sure that we understand that in order for us to be successful, we need to be at our best.''
Florida State has held all six opponents during the streak to 61 or fewer points after early season losses to Cleveland State and South Florida. The Seminoles have beaten Florida and Minnesota during their run.
``I think we're coming together as a team better,'' Hamilton said. ``After the losses, we gained a full understanding of the little things that are so important to be successful. I think we're coming together as a team.
Florida State has a trio of veteran guards: senior Isaiah Swann, who averages 15.1 points and 3.8 assists, senior Jason Rich, who averages 9.8 points, and junior Toney Douglas, who is averaging 12.7 points and 2.9 assists.
Butler counters with senior guards A.J. Graves and Mike Green. Graves averages 15.4 points, while Green averages 13.7 points and 5.0 assists.
``I know both teams have good guard play,'' Stevens said. ``They've got a lot of guys that have had success at a high level. Our guys have had the chance to play a lot of big games in a lot of big atmospheres.
``This is as difficult a test as we could possibly have.''