As if Kentucky doesn't have enough of an uphill climb against No. 4 Louisville on Saturday, Cardinals coach Rick Pitino announced on Wednesday that big man Gorgui Dieng will be returning to the floor, according to CBSSports.com.
Dieng, who was averaging eight points, eight rebounds and two blocks before breaking his left wrist against Missouri on Nov. 23, is a key cog in Louisville's defense.
He helped the Cardinals secure a 84-61 victory over then-No. 13 Missouri, but the Cardinals lost the following game to Duke, 76-71.
Louisville has allowed 55.5 points per game this season, 11th in the nation (via TeamRankings.com). The Cardinals held Missouri to its lowest point total of the season on Nov. 23 with Dieng in the lineup. The Tigers are currently averaging 78.2 points per game, 29th in the country.
While Kentucky is averaging 78.5 points per game (25th in the country), the Wildcats haven't defeated anyone significant, and they've lost three games already this season (including to then-unranked Notre Dame and Baylor).
The return of Dieng will also help against Kentucky's biggest threat on the glass, freshman Nerlens Noel. Noel is averaging 9.1 rebounds per game this season and he posted 16 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and four steals against Duke on Nov. 13 in Kentucky's second game of the season.
We all know how important Dieng was to Louisville's success last season in the NCAA tournament when the Cardinals made it all the way to the Final Four. He not only averaged 8.8 rebounds, but he also posted a combined 17 blocks in five games during March Madness.
If Kentucky had trouble scoring on Duke, Notre Dame and (worst of all) Baylor, how are the Wildcats going to outscore the Cardinals...with Dieng?
They aren't; that's a rhetorical question.
What are your thoughts?