Long Beach St.-Louisville Preview

Kyle Kuric is doing his best to keep Louisville from succumbing

to some early injures, but he might need help in the next game.

After using a late run to stay unbeaten, the No. 6 Cardinals

could face another challenge Monday night against visiting Long

Beach State, which upset another top 10 Big East foe earlier this

month.

As many as five players have missed time this season for

Louisville (5-0), and forward Stephan Van Treese is out once again

– this time indefinitely – after re-aggravating his ailing left

knee in practice Saturday. Mike Marra (knee) is expected to miss

the rest of the season, and Wayne Blackshear is recovering from

shoulder surgery.

The news isn’t all bad, however. Rakeem Buckles (knee) has

returned to limited practice, and Peyton Siva made a surprise start

Friday against Ohio after missing two games with a severely

sprained left ankle.

Siva missed all seven of his field-goal attempts but provided

some much-needed defensive help in a 59-54 victory that gave his

team the Global Sports Invitational title.

With Siva trying to get back into a groove, Kuric provided 16

points and hit the tying 3-pointer with 2:20 remaining. That shot

was part of a 16-5 game-ending run that erased a six-point

deficit.

“We’re in a survival mode right now is all we’re trying to do,”

coach Rick Pitino said. “We are so banged up, we lack practice so

much because our practices right now are so light and so easy, I’m

just afraid to get somebody hurt. We’re just trying to survive

right now and hold off the enemy until the cavalry comes.”

Kuric has helped his team get by as the only Cardinal averaging

double figures in points at 13.0. The senior swingman has also made

nine of his team’s 27 3-pointers.

Gorgui Dieng has chipped in 10 points in each of the past two

games and had a career-high 16 rebounds in the win over Ohio.

The Cardinals might need more contributions from their sophomore

center against the 49ers (3-2).

Long Beach State has dropped two of its past three games – by a

combined six points – but claimed an 86-76 win at then-No. 9

Pittsburgh on Nov. 16.

Senior guard Casper Ware, averaging a team-best 18.8 points, had

a career-high 28 and shot 10 of 18 in that upset. He has struggled

to find his touch over the past two games, however, misfiring on 16

of 21 attempts.

Ware was 4 of 12 and finished with 15 points during a 73-71 loss

at Montana on Saturday. T.J. Robinson, the school’s all-time

leading rebounder, tried to pick up the slack with a season-high 25

points and 13 boards.

Long Beach State will try to bounce back by winning its first

meeting with Louisville, which is seeking a 14th consecutive home

victory.