MEN'S BASKETBALL | MIDWEST REGIONAL

Louisville's press already troubling Oregon's offense

2013-03-28T20:15:00Z 2013-03-29T02:13:05Z Louisville's press already troubling Oregon's offenseCourtney Linehan courtney.linehan@nwi.com, (219) 933-3367 nwitimes.com

Oregon forward E.J. Singler says even with six players on defense, the Ducks can't replicate Louisville's press.

They talked about it in the film room in Eugene, Ore., and in the locker room of Lucas Oil Stadium.

All they can do is talk, Singler says, because the Cardinals' defenders rotate around the court so quickly even their own seniors struggle to keep up.

Louisville is hoping that defense keeps Oregon spinning long enough for the Cardinals to emerge with a win in today's Midwest Regional semifinal.

"There's not really a lot you can do to simulate it," Singler said. "All you can do is practice it, have some plays for it to break, but there's really nothing else you can do."

It's Louisville's signature move: rotating so much on defense opposing players never know who's guarding them. Cardinals junior Luke Hancock said after watching the defense from the sidelines for a full season, he still struggled with executing it on gameday.

"You've got to read your teammates and know where the rotation is and know where Coach (Rick Pitino) expects you to be," senior guard Peyton Siva said. "Sometimes you can take a gamble; sometimes you can't. It takes a lot of team chemistry and takes a lot of patience."

Louisville must have both, because the Cardinals are 31-5 overall heading into Friday's game. They won the Big East tournament, defeating fellow Sweet Sixteen contestant Syracuse 78-61 in the championship. They won their first two NCAA tournament games by a combined 57 points.

Oregon, meanwhile, has ridden something of an underdog narrative to this point. The Ducks are a 12 seed, making it to the tournament for the first time since 2008. Coach Dana Altman, who left Creighton three years ago, is coaching his first Sweet Sixteen.

The Ducks know they could be up against a wall if they don't clean up their offense.

"We've got to do a better job of handling the ball against them, because they're quick," Atman said. "They do extend their pressure. They do a great job changing it up."

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