Miami v Louisville

Louisville center Gorgui Dieng will make his return Saturday against rival Kentucky

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Just days before their matchup with bitter rival Kentucky, the Louisville Cardinals received some good news.

As first reported by Jeff Goodman of, Louisville center Gorgui Dieng will play in Saturday’s game after missing the last seven games with a broken left wrist. With the Wildcats boasting the tandem of Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein in the paint, the return of Dieng comes at just the right time for the No. 4 Cardinals.

In Louisville’s two losses to the Wildcats last season Dieng averaged 6.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 5.0 blocked shots per game, shooting just 33.3% (5-of-15) from the field.

But despite the talent that Noel and Cauley-Stein possess, Dieng won’t be going up against a player the caliber of Anthony Davis this time around.

“He’s in great shape,” Pitino said in regards to Dieng on Wednesday. “His defensive timing is off, but he looks good offensively.”

In the five games that Dieng has played this season the junior from Senegal averaged 8.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game, and with him out of the lineup the Cardinals suffered just one defeat (76-71 to No. 1 Duke in the title game of the Battle 4 Atlantis).

Dieng’s return makes the Cardinals whole again in the paint, as he’ll join the likes of Chane Behanan, Montrezl Harrell and Stephan Van Treese in the Louisville rotation. How much will Dieng be able to play? And how much of an impact will he have against the Wildcats, who have won the last four meetings in the series?

On the season Louisville is limiting opponents to 0.8 points per possession, and a performance along those lines on Saturday would go a long way towards ending their four-game losing streak to Kentucky.

With Dieng given the go-ahead to return, the chances of that happening improve.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Louisville’s Rick Pitino on allegations: ‘We will get through this’

Rick Pitino
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville coach Rick Pitino remains defiant that his program will survive the allegations in a book by an escort alleging that former Cardinals staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.

Pitino said Tuesday that the Cardinals “will get through this the right way.”

The coach told a packed room at a tipoff luncheon that he understands the motivation behind Katina Powell’s book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” but questions the need for the alleged activities given the talent his program has produced.

Pitino added, “We will find out the truth, whatever it may be, and those responsible will pay the price.”

Georgia Tech lands Class of 2016 guard

Brian Gregory
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Georgia Tech picked up its third Class of 2016 commitment on Tuesday as the Yellow Jackets landed a pledged from three-star guard Josh Okogie.

The 6-foot-4 guard is considered the No. 143 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016 rankings and Okogie played with a very talented Team CP3 in the Nike EYBL. In 22 games this spring and summer, Okogie averaged 10.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 45 percent from the field.

Okogie joins three-star wing Christian Matthews and four-star big man Romello White in head coach Brian Gregory’s Class of 2016 at Georgia Tech. The group is definitely a solid influx of talent with some coming from successful grassroots programs.