After a disappointing freshman season in which he received 20 DNP-CDs, Kyle Kuric worked hard in the offseason to become a reliable rotation player for Rick Pitino‘s Louisville Cardinals last year. This season, he has seen has role increase even more, finishing the year as the Cards’ second-leading scorer at 10.8 points per game, while shooting a sizzling 51.6 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from deep. If Louisville is going to advance far in this year’s NCAA Tournament, it will certainly need more numbers like these from Kuric as they pursue the school’s first national title since 1986.
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Dime: How is the NCAA Tournament different than the regular season for you guys in terms of preparation?
Kyle Kuric: It’s just a lot more intense practice-wise. It’s a lot of film work and a lot of practice and stuff like that. That’s probably one of the better things you can do – watch film and watch what they do, try to know their tendencies and stuff like that. We’ll go through all their plays and stuff like that, so we know what’s coming for the most part and prepare to stop it.
Dime: Last year, you guys lost in the first round to Cal. What are you doing differently or emphasizing more?
KK: Last year, we didn’t defend very well at all. They came out and shot a very high percentage. And that’s what we’re focusing on more this year, our defense, because that’s what’s gonna keep us going in the Tournament.
Dime: Do you look ahead at matchups down the road or do you just focus on the game in front of you?
KK: When (the bracket) first came out, we obviously looked at what could happen, but I mean, at this point we’re just focused on the first game and that’s it because we can’t prepare in the future for who we’re gonna play next because we don’t know. Right now, we’re just focusing on Wright State.
Dime: What does the game-day routine consist of during tournament time?
KK: We usually have a walkthrough five-and-a-half, maybe five hours before the game, and then we pre-game about four hours. We eat everything from almonds to French toast and eggs and sausage and bacon, stuff like that.
Dime: How is the post-game routine different?
KK: During the regular season (after games), we’ll shower, look over the game work, get something to eat on the bus and head right to the airport and head back. But for this, it’s get something to eat and come back to the hotel.
Dime: What, if anything, did you guys take away from the UConn loss in the Big East Tournament? Or do you guys just try to forget it and move on?
KK: We’ve just kind of got to move past it. We’ve got to focus more on finishing games out and running plays correctly. And we’re gonna put the game behind us, but we’re also going to learn from it and keep it with us so we don’t make the same mistakes.
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