The Louisville Cardinals caught a break in the Big East race last night when the Connecticut Huskies beat the first place Syracuse Orangemen, 62-55. The Cardinals (7-4) sit just one game behind the Marquette Golden Eagles, Georgetown Hoyas and Orangemen, who are all 8-3 now.
The Cardinals catch another break tonight when they face the St. John’s Red Storm without its head coach, Steve Lavin, who will miss his second straight game following the death of his father, Albert “Cap” Lavin, this past weekend.
Lavin, a true basketball guru and historian, also missed the Red Storm’s last game against Syracuse to be with his family.
St. John’s guard, Phil Greene said, “The whole team is really emotional right now. We rally around each other and we are just going to have to get through it. We are like family, so we will pick each other up so we are ready to play against Louisville.”
Louisville can’t prepare for this type of emotion and must be aware that the Red Storm are playing for their head coach and his father. However, the Cardinals also may be battling rust, since they have not played since their dramatic five-overtime loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Feb. 9.
Either way, this is the Big East and nobody will feel sorry for them.
If the Cardinals can handle the Red Storm, they should be able to win their next three games as they play the South Florida Bulls, Seton Hall Pirates and DePaul Blue Demons, the three worst teams in the conference.
That could mean holding the Big East lead, or at least a share of it.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo