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Pitino Vows a Tougher Schedule in '07-'08

One of the biggest criticisms of Rick Pitino during the two or three week period where criticisms of Rick Pitino were in abundance was over his reluctance to schedule quality teams during the non-conference portion of the season.

Now with higher expectations for the '07-'08 season, Pitino says he will schedule accordingly.

"I intend on playing a very competitive schedule next year because of all the players we have coming back,'' he said. "Getting tested early on should be a lot of fun for our players."

At present, U of L is schedule to play Purdue at the Wooden Tradition tournament and has a return game with Dayton. The Cardinals also play in a tournament in Las Vegas where they could meet North Carolina and are trying to arrange a game with UNLV.

Pitino also said Sunday that he would be willing to accept a transfer is a roster spot opens up at some point during the offseason, and then actually threw out the name of someone who's been rumored to be unhappy since he stepped on campus.

"Obviously, anybody who's not playing and getting substantial minutes, like Jonathan Huffman," would be a candidate to transfer out.

"We've talked in the past," Pitino said. "If he doesn't get minutes in the future it's in his best interest. I'm a firm believer if a person isn't going to get a lot of playing time, there is no reason to sit on the bench if he's talented. But that hasn't been decided."

When your coach hints publicly that you might want to seriously consider transferring, it's probably a pretty good indication that if you don't transfer you're going to be hanging out on the bench for the better part of two seasons.

There were several rumors in the middle of the season that Huffy was headed to Kansas State, but those rumors fizzled out as the weeks passed. A 6-10 guy with an outside shot screams potential and I'd love to see Jonathan improve his game, so maybe having a year off and then two years where he gets a lot of court time somewhere is the best thing for this young man.

Or if he chooses to hang around here maybe he can work hard and get himself to the point where he'll see significant court time in his senior year after Padgett and Farley have graduated.

The reason this is coming up now is that there are numerous rumors circulating that Duke's Lance Thomas will announce that he is transferring to Louisville sometime in the next few weeks. Thomas, a highly touted recruit a year ago who spurned U of L and Rutgers for the Dukies, averaged just four points a game for the Blue Devils in his freshman season.

As far as his own freshmen go, Ricky P had nothing but encouraging things to say about the Cardinal Cuatro (that never caught on).

"Although I think they were as good as any freshmen in the country as a group, they have so much upside it's not even close," he said. "They have so much room for improvement -- all four of them.

"They're not even at 50-60 percent of their potential, which is great."

Is it next season yet?