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ESPN Practice Report 8/24/2011

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ESPN Nearly every Big East team has broken fall camp. So what are the unanswered questions remaining with less than two weeks before the season begins? Next up in my team-by-team look is Louisville. 1. Your starting cornerbacks are ... The biggest question mark on the team was not resolved during fall camp. Louisville has yet to announce its starting cornerbacks, hoping to give their players a few more days of competition before making a decision. Anthony Conner, Titus Teague and Jordon Paschal appear to be the top three players vying for a starting spot. None of them have very much playing experience. Conner started two games in 2009 before missing all of 2010 with a torn ACL. Teague appeared in four games last season; Paschal is a redshirt freshman. Behind them, Calvin Pryor, Charles Gaines and Andrew Johnson are options as well. Luckily for the Cardinals, they have excellent safeties in Shenard Holton and Hakeem Smith, which should help immensely. 2. Can Josh Bellamy keep it up? By all accounts, Bellamy had one of the best fall camps of any Louisville player. Can he keep that up headed into the season? The Cardinals have a lot of talent at receiver, but need a go-to guy to emerge. Last season, he had 29 catches for 401 yards and tied for the team high with five touchdowns. He has showed flashes of being the big-play receiver that is much needed. Now he has to prove it on game day. 3. Offensive line issues. The most solid player on the Louisville offensive line missed most of fall camp, a development that surely has Cardinals fans worried. Mario Benavides, one of the best centers in the league and the anchor of the unit, has missed a significant portion of camp with a foot injury. Louisville already had to replace four starters on the offensive line. The last thing the Cardinals need is to play without Benavides. There has been no update on his status since camp broke. The good news is he is a veteran, so he does not need as many reps as everyone else on the line. The bad news, of course, is that the Cardinals could go into the season with an entirely new offensive line.

Kyle Kuric's super-monster-dunk against Notre Dame

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Here is Kyle Kuric's "Dunk of the Year" nominee on Notre Dame's Scott Martin. Wow. Just. Wow

Red-White Scrimmage at the YUM! Center on Oct. 24

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The 2010-2011 Cardinals will open the doors of the YUM! Center to host an intrasquad scrimmage on Sunday, October 24th at 2PM 5PM. Tickets go on sale Thursday morning and cost only $5. Unless you're going on a YUM! tour (see previous FanShot), to the Eagles Concert, or to the So You Think You Can Dance tour, this will be your first chance to be inside the best arena in college basketball. So DVR the Bengals game and head downtown. Also, Elisha Justice is likely to get playing time. Order Tickets Online

The Pinkie's take on Pitno v. Sypher

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For the last month it has been Calipari, Calipari in the bluegrass. Now Rick Pitino, one of the only coaches in America with a profile/ego to rival that of the new Big Blue coach has found himself at the center of local, and national headlines. The extortion side of this at the least is a serious issue. Whether or not Pitino was nailing Sypher, I personally could careless. That is both persons personal lives and I am not concerned with what they do on their own time. It isn’t a crime to have an affair, it is to attempt and blackmail someone.

LOUISVILLE MICHIGAN STATE PREVIEW

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The last time these two programs met, Denny Crum was pacing the sidelines and Mateen Cleaves, Mo Peterson and Charlie Bell led Tom Izzo’s Spartans to a 69-57 win in East Lansing. Michigan State went on to lose to Duke in the National Semifinals that year (1999) and win it all the following year (2000). Ten years later, Louisville (31-5) is now the team sporting multiple future NBA draft picks and will face Michigan State (29-6) Sunday in the Elite Eight. The Spartans will be playing for a chance to go to the Final Four in their home state after coming back from 13 points down to beat Kansas 67-62 in the Midwest Regional semifinals. It is doubtful .... http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/cards/pinkie-previews-ncaa-elite-eight-michigan-state-louisville-breakdown/

The Pinkie Previews NCAA Sweet Sixteen - (12) Arizona vs. (1) Louisville

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The Louisville Cardinals (30-5) have reached their 17th NCAA Sweet 16 via hard fought victories over Morehead State and Siena. The 17 appearances rank fourth all-time since the NCAA began Sweet 16 records in 1975 (North Carolina 23, Kentucky 20, Duke 20, Louisville, UCLA and Kansas 17) Louisville coach Rick Pitino is now .... http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/cards/pinkie-preview-ncaa-sweet-sixteen-arizona-louisville-breakdown/

CARDS SURVIVE AND ADVANCE; SIENA RECAP

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Louisville fans can take comfort that this group of Cardinals will not go down without a fight. The Cards displayed real basketball toughness en route to Sunday evening’s 79-72 victory over Siena in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at University of Dayton Arena. The win propelled the Cards to the Midwest Regional Semifinals against Arizona (the lowest seeded team remaining in the entire tournament) next Friday at 7:05 p.m at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Terrence Williams played one of his best games in a UofL uniform, scoring a team high 24 points, while pulling down a game high 15 rebounds to ... RECAP OF SIENA: http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/cards/toughness-prevails-cards-79-saints-72-tomarkens-tabulation/

MOREHEAD RECAP, SIENA PREVIEW

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Louisville and Morehead State played each other for the second time this season on Friday, and pretty much played the exact same game. Morehead hung with the Cards for the entire first half, trailing by just two at the break, 35-33. The second half was all Louisville, and number one seeds moved to 100-0 all-time against 16-seeds, as the Cardinals dominated the Eagles 39-21 in the half for the final 74-54 margin. Samardo Samuels led Louisville (29-5) with ... Coming off a double overtime thriller that ended early Saturday morning, Siena is going to need to dig deep to find the stamina that will enable them to keep up with the Cardinals. Louisville’s relentess defensive pressure wears teams down as evidenced by their last three games in which they either trailed at the half (final two BIG EAST tournament games) or led by just two (Morehead State), but went on to win big as their opponents succombed to the pressure and folded in the second half.... COMPLETE MOREHEAD RECAP, SIENA PREVIEW UP AND READY!!! http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/cards/preview-ncaa-second-round-siena-louisville-breakdown-recap-morehead/

NCAA FIRST ROUND - MOREHEAD STATE PREVIEW

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The Cardinals (28-5, 16-2 BIG EAST) opened their 2008-2009 season in the Billy Minardi Classic against the Morehead State Eagles. That regular season ended with a BIG EAST conference and tournament championship. They will be opening their 35th NCAA Tournament appearance, tied for fifth most all-time, against those same Eagles with the hopes to end this run with a National Championship. Preview the First Round matchup at: http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/cards/preview-ncaa-first-round-morehead-louisville-breakdown/

Three Big East Teams Receive No.1 Seeds

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At one point during the season the experts were saying that the Big East could get as many as nine teams in the Big Dance. Well, that did not happen, but for the seven teams that got in they were all rewarded with at least a No.6 seed. Watch out for Chattanooga, this year's Cinderella team - that was a joke.

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