By: Breanna Willis
Bellarmine men’s basketball team kicked off its final season as a Division II team in an exhibition game against the Louisville Cardinals on Tuesday night at the KFC Yum! Center.
Although the Knights are moving on to Division I, the team did not come in with a chip on its shoulder and prepared thoroughly for the match up.
“Watched a lot of film. We had to go over their tendencies a whole lot. It was more personnel than anything else,” sophomore guard Cobe Penny said.
Sophomore guard Juston Betz agreed. “I feel like for the most part we executed what we wanted to execute. Really we don’t change much when we prepare for other teams. The only thing we change is how we adjust to personnel,” Betz said.
In general, the team overall is excited for the transition and playing the Cardinals was a taste of what’s to come.
“It gives everybody a glimpse of what’s to come next season. So, this game tonight and then on Friday at Notre Dame is going to be huge for us next season,” sophomore guard Pedro Bradshaw said. “We just continue to do what we do every day, which is work hard and stay together and I think we will be fine.”
One thing that makes a difference is the atmosphere. Cheers filled the arena with each basket the Knights scored.
“If games are like this, it makes it more fun to play,” Dylan Penn, sophomore guard, said.
The Yum! Center is a unique place to play, having been the host site for NCAA tournament games and professional games in the past.
“Not all arenas are like this. Obviously, it’s a beautiful arena, but it’s exciting,” Betz said.
Many of the team’s players were pleased with how the team performed against the Cards.
“It just shows that we can come out and compete at the D-I level and still be as prominent as we are now,” Penny said.
The focus for the Knights is this season only, and the team is sticking true to what Bellarmine basketball is all about.
“Bellarmine basketball is putting other people before yourself and trusting each other. We pride ourselves on being the most together team every time we step on the floor, whether it’s practice or a game. We know we have each other’s backs,” Betz said.