Inside Cardinal Basketball: Tuesday notebook

Gorgui Dieng

The University of Louisville men's basketball team is still ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll after a win over Manhattan on Sunday to begin the season. Here are a few notes about the Cardinals' program.

GORGUI WORKED ON HIS JUMPER

University of Louisville junior center Gorgui Dieng has said several times during the preseason that he really worked hard on his jump shot in the offseason.

Dieng said he put in a lot of time working on extending his range, which would make him tougher to guard for opponents.

On Sunday, his improvement showed.

Dieng hit two mid-range jump shots and on another put the ball on the floor and attempted to go around a Manhattan defender. He was fouled on that play.

"Not only is he a good passer like David Padgett, with the passing ability on the perimeter because he sees things," U of L coach Rick Pitino said. "But he also has something David didn't have which was a really improved 15-foot jump shot. That is a big threat against a zone. When people come up on him, he is going to find the bounce pass on the baseline or he will look opposite."

Dieng, who hit 52.5 percent from the field last season, was 4 of 6 in the opener. He only played three minutes in the first half after picking up two fouls.

"I put a lot of time in it (during the offseason)," Dieng said. "My sophomore year, I struggled to make that shot and worked on it a lot this summer.

"I try and take the play the defense gives me."

HANCOCK SHOULDER GETTING BETTER ‘ALL THE TIME'

Junior transfer Luke Hancock has struggled some, especially shooting, in the two exhibition games and the season-opener against Manhattan.

Pitino said Hancock "will come around," noting he's still trying to overcome his shoulder injury that had sidelined him for all of the offseason.

Hancock was just 3 of 10 from the field against Manhattan and finished with eight points, four steals, two assists, one rebound and three turnovers.

"It's fine," Hancock said of the shoulder. "Sometimes it gets a little tight or sore after a long practice. But it's going to keep getting better and feeling good."

MASIELLO LAUDS PLAY OF THE CARDINALS

Steve Masiello, who played for Pitino at Kentucky and coached with him at Louisville, was on the opposite bench on Sunday.

In his second season as the head coach at Manhattan, Masiello brought the Jaspers to town for a game and left very impressed with the Cardinals.

"I don't know what their weaknesses are," he said. "I've watched a lot film on them. I've seen them improve just in the three games so far this year. Their size, their length is unbelievable, they get after you. Russ (Smith) and Peyton (Siva) were nightmares to deal with and then you have Gorgui (Dieng) in the back and you got Chane (Behanan) and Montrezl (Harrell). Guys like Zach (Price) and Stephan (Van Treese) are giving them very quality minutes.

"Really there's no let up and that's what makes them so special."

EXPECT OT AGAINST Notre Dame

U of L has played only one game so far, but perhaps the best bet of the season is predicting the ending of the two Big East games against Notre Dame.

"Two double overtimes," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said with a laugh.

U of L and Notre Dame have played overtime six of the past eight meetings, including two double overtime games.

"It's awesome," Brey said. "Rick and I were laughing about it on the road this summer. It makes for great games. Before the games, he'll now come over and say do you think one or two overtimes.

"It's become kind of a rivalry because of the exciting games. It's been a great matchup. Heck, TV wants us twice."

Notre Dame is leaving the Big East for the ACC and Pitino jokingly said at Big East media day that "I am not going to miss them at all."

"It's one of the great institutions in America but we go to overtime or double overtime every single time we play them," Pitino said. "It's crazy."

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