The University of Louisville basketball team was cooling its heels today after Temple decided to postpone the teams' 7 p.m. Thursday matchup because of weather conditions.
The make-up game will be played Friday night at 6, meaning an already long layoff for the Cards is getting even longer. And Cardinals' coach Rick Pitino is none too thrilled about it. The Cards arrived in Philadelphia via charter flight Wednesday night.
"What you hate is all the sitting around," Pitino said after the team practiced in Philadelphia on Thursday. "The guys just hang around and get stale and stiff. We need to play a game. It's going to have been nine days. I don't like it, don't understand it, but it's a one-year thing."
Teams coming off six-day or more layoffs in American Athletic Conference play this season are 0-8 in their first game back, a stat that Courier-Journal reporter Jeff Greer handed to Pitino during his Wednesday news conference.
"Thanks," Pitino said on Wednesday. "Boy I got a lot of confidence going in now. . . . I don't like that stat. I'll be curious with that stat now how we play. It's bugging the hell out of me now."
If it was bugging him Wednesday, it was driving him crazy on Thursday when Temple officials decided not to play the game.
U of L wanted to play it. Pitino said Temple coaches told him they wanted to play it. U of L got to its practice at the arena without trouble on the interstate. No one could figure quite why they weren't playing the game, except that Temple, which had billed the game as a "white out," wanted to create maximum opportunity for its fans to attend.
U of L would've preferred to play the game early Friday afternoon. But Temple didn't want an afternoon game, so they wound up with a 6 p.m. start Friday on ESPN2. The Cards will return home by charter after the game, should arrive in Louisville around midnight, then get back to work on Saturday with a 6 p.m. tipoff against Rutgers in the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday.
U of L lost its last game off a layoff, at home against Cincinnati, but if there's a saving grace in this return from layoff its that the Cards face Temple. While the Owls are the nation's only team with four players averaging better than 14 points per game, they're also only 6-16 on the season, 1-9 in league play and are the next-to-lowest rated team in the AAC in Ken Pomeroy's rankings.
"This (layoff), with Wayne Blackshear having the concussion, it wasn't the worst thing in the world," Pitino said.
It'll kick off a stretch of three games in five days, with Rutgers on Sunday and South Florida on Tuesday. That's coming off a stretch of three games in 16 days.
Pitino said the goal now is to keep his team from sitting around too much and getting "stale." The Cards had a study hall Thursday afternoon, watched some game film and then had practice. They planned to go to dinner together and watch some other basketball and film Thursday night.
"We've got some veteran guys and they know this is the time of year when things get serious," Pitino said. "I think everybody is anxious to get back to playing regularly, and hopefully we can come out and execute well, because we're going to need to."