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Louisville/South Florida Preview

Time/TV: 3 p.m./WHAS

Site: Freedom Hall, Louisville

Favorite: Louisville by 11 1/2

All-Time Series: Louisville leads 19-3

Last Meeting: Louisville won 81-55 on Jan. 10

Starting Lineups:

LOUISVILLE (16-8, 6-4)

Terrence Williams, F.... 12.8 pts.
Juan Palacios, F........ 9.7 pts.
David Padgett, C........ 9.7 pts.
Brandon Jenkins, G...... 4.9 pts.
Edgar Sosa, G........... 10.9 pts.

SOUTH FLORIDA (12-12, 3-7)

Melvin Buckley, F....... 15.7 pts.
McHugh Mattis, F........ 13.2 pts.
Kentrell Gransberry, C.. 14.6 pts.
Solomon Bozeman, G...... 10.2 pts.
Jesus Verdejo, G........ 8.1 pts.

Notes and Quotes:

---South Florida has won two of its last four games and the two losses came by a combined six points. Kentrell Gransberry had 20 points and 19 rebounds in a loss to St. John's on Wednesday, and forward McHugh Mattis leads the Big East in blocks, averaging 3.92 per game.

"I just think they're getting better as the season goes along and improving steadily. They always give you 100 percent, ... and they've got excellent talent." (Rick Pitino)

---Throughout this week, Pitino has continued to emphasize the need for Louisville to get to 10 conference wins if they want a shot at the NCAA Tournament.

"There's a lifetime of basketball left," Pitino said. "We've got six games plus the Big East tournament to play before it shakes down. Does it look good for us? No, it doesn't look good for us. Are our backs against the wall? There are a lot of teams whose backs are against the wall.

If we can finish 9-7, we need the Big East tournament, if we finish 10-6, we probably need the Big East but we're in good shape. That's the way we look at it. It's not over yet."

---Troubled freshman forward Derrick Caracter will be in uniform this afternoon, and could see playing time for the first time since a Jan. 15 loss to Marquette. He has appeared in a total of just eight games this season.

"Once you're on the team, you have a chance to play," Pitino said. "Now, can he help the team win? I don't know. Offensively, he can definitely help us win. Defensively, he can help the team lose. I'm hoping he'll move his feet and start to play defense."

Pitino credited newly-hired assistant strength coach Ellis Myles with helping Caracter lose weight and meet some of the other undisclosed criteria for his return.

"We're not giving up on Derrick," Pitino said. "We're trying to get our frustrations put to Ellis and make him as miserable as possible."

---Despite a lack of production from multiple starters OVER the last few games, Pitino said this week that he will not be tinkering with the lineup.

On Brandon Jenkins:

"Look, the most difficult thing I've had in a long time is the Brandon Jenkins situation," Pitino said. "It's very difficult because if you look at it statistically, you should play Jerry Smith more or give Will Scott a chance, but I'm not going to do it. BJ has meant too much to this program; it's his right and his time to play right now. It might not look like the most prudent thing in the world, but my loyalty to him is unshakeable and we're going to stay with him."

"I do think he'll come out of it," Pitino said. "I see things in practice athletically that remind me of the old BJ. Now, if I can just get his mind set to not worryng if his shot doesn't go in, but just do all the little things like penetrating and offensive rebounding and running the break and dunking."

On Terrence Williams:

"I give T-Will a lot of latitude because I have no backup at his position basically," Pitino said. "(Against Georgetown), Earl Clark was a better basketball player than Palacios. I don't think you can just pick out Palacios. T-Will didn't play any better in either game."