It seems the creative scholarship shuffling Pitino did after last season is the reason behind Dixon pooh-poohing the Cards' injury situation.
Here's a refresher course: After last season ended, Pitino told three scholarship players that they had to be walk-ons. These weren't any three scholarship players. Two of the three played key roles on the team and are continuing to do so this year.
Kyle Kuric was the team's leading returning scorer and remains in that role this season. Chris Smith is the team's third-leading scorer. Elisha Justice is the other, and he's the only one seeing walk-on minutes. He is averaging 1.5 points per game this season and has seen his role decreased from last season.
Kuric is one of several Cards bitten by the injury bug this season. He has missed the past two games with an ankle injury and Pitino listed him as doubtful for the game against Pitt tomorrow night.
Freshman forward Wayne Blackshear sustained a shoulder injury in practice in October and has not played this season. Junior guard Mike Marra, who started 11 games last season, sustained a season-ending knee injury in November.
Junior Rakeem Buckles sustained a season-ending knee injury against Marquette Monday afternoon. It is the second knee injury in as many seasons for Buckles, and he has already been ruled out for 2012-13.
"They have a lot of guys on scholarship and a couple of extra guys as well," Dixon said. "They have a lot of depth, a lot of players."
Dixon was asked whether the Panthers could take advantage of Louisville's short bench.
"They've got 15 players, 13 on scholarship and two others who have been on scholarship," Dixon said. "Depth is something that stands out. They have an injury or two, but they started out with more players. I don't really think of it as a limited bench. They'll have plenty of guys on the perimeter as well as inside guys."
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