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January 15, 2014

Jones out, Blackshear update

Louisville coach Rick Pitino took the mic to preview Thursday night's Houston game and dropped a lot of news: one player is out and one player is out of the starting lineup.

Pitino said starting point guard Chris Jones will miss the Houston game with an injury.

"He tweaked his oblique so he will miss this game," Pitino said.

Pitino said Jones had a sore oblique and then tried to throw a long pass in the game Sunday and tweaked the muscle.

Jones, a 5-foot-10 junior college transfer from Memphis, Tenn., is averaging 11.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game this season.

Junior small forward Wayne Blackshear will be out of the starting lineup tomorrow night. The 6-5 forward is averaging 9.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game this season, but has played only 13 minutes per game the last five games.

"We went back and looked at all of Wayne's fouls and 70 percent of them are his fouls and 30 percent of them were totally bogus," Pitino said.

The starting lineup for the Houston game will likely be Russ Smith and Terry Rozier at the guard spots, LUke Hancock at the small forward spot, Montrezl Harrell and either Stephan Van Treese or Mangok Mathiang at the five spot.

Louisville is now four games into its league schedule and Pitino said he believes the league is every bit as tough as he thought it would be. He said it reminds him of Conference USA in that the top teams are perennial tournament contenders.

"I think you'll see five teams make the tournament from this league," Pitino said.

There is a massive gap between the top five teams in the AAC and the bottom five according to the ratings Percentage Index (RPI), which is used by the NCAA to help seed the NCAA Tournament.

The AAC's top 5 teams in are all in the RPI top 45 and have a 66-15 overall record. The bottom five teams in the are all lower than 171st in the RPI, and have a 38-35 overall record.

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