Pitino and The Cards gear up for a road trip to New York this week, where they'll look to extend their winning streak to 3 when they go up against St. Johns and to 4 if they can knock off Syracuse. But we'll try not to get ahead of ourselves, Cardinal fans, let's back up and look at St. Johns. The Cards have had their ups and downs in Madison Square Garden, but if they handle the Red Storm like the 12-10 (2-8 in conference) team that they are, and don't stumble, they should be heading to the Carrier Dome with that winning steak extended as planned. That would be their longest since before Christmas when they rattled off wins against Louisiana-Lafayette, Radford and South Florida.
St. Johns is going to put up a fight trying not to loose their 6th game in a row, and they certainly won't be a push over at home. If you'll remember just over a month ago, St. Johns outscored Louisville in the first half of their meeting at Freedom Hall and only wound up loosing by 7. DJ Kennedy scored 20 points with 8 rebounds and could be motivated to put on another show in the garden. Straggly Jarred Swopshire and Jerry Smith who had been struggling at the time had their best games for The Ville that day. They both have played up and down all year, down for the most part, but just recently shined this past weekend at Rutgers. Hopefully, they can continue their up swing for this game in The Big Apple.
This will be the first meeting between Syracuse & Louisville this year but The Cardinals are no strangers to big time Big East showdowns. After Playing hard against respectful foes Pitt, Nova and West Virgina (I said the teams were respectful, not the fans of all the foes *cough Mountaineer in-breds*....excuse me I've been sick, sorry) we wound up blowing large leads by the conclusions of those games. That being said we have the tools in the box to beat a top rated team like the Orangeman. We just need to make sure we use those tools correctly. Shutting down Wes Johnson would be a good start to coming home with that key victory we need.
A split on this road trip would be suitable for the Cards but it doesn't take much to figure out that Louisville would really benefit from a Marquee win against a team to begin to solidify a spot in the NCAA tournament. Two road wins including a win over a top 3 team would almost ensure we get a bid as long as we can win the rest of our home games and take care of those opponents we're expected to defeat.
What do you say Cards?....Feel like proving something to those who doubt your toughness and ability to close?