LOUISVILLE — Louisville point guard Peyton Siva whipped the pass to no one in particular and watched the ball roll out of bounds.
The sophomore waited for the whistle and trademark foot stomp from Louisville Coach Rick Pitino. It never came, not under Pitino 2.0.
"Coach P is real like laid back, real chill," Siva said. "He's letting us play, but he's being the coach at the same time. He has this new like, feel about him that is making everybody around him confident."
Following a difficult 18 months in which he acknowledged a brief sexual encounter in 2003 with a woman later convicted of trying to extort him for millions, Pitino is trying to rebrand both himself and his program.
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The Cardinals will debut a sparkling 22,000-seat downtown arena this fall, and with it an uptempo style he used so successfully during previous coaching stops at Providence and Kentucky.
It's a move Pitino felt he had to make, in part to make up for his team's decided lack of size and in part because he believed the program needed a shot of adrenaline.
He's planning to provide it with a run-and-gun style reminiscent of the way his high-flying Kentucky teams played in the 1990s.
Louisville isn't nearly as loaded as those teams were, but that's not exactly a problem. The change has given him renewed energy.
"I've been through a tough 18 months and now it's over and I had to do the right thing in a lot of places," Pitino said. "Also I'm much more tolerant of certain things."
That doesn't mean expectations are lower. The Cardinals were picked to finish eighth in the Big East, and playing at a breakneck pace could be problematic at times considering the team's lack of depth.
Yet the Cardinals are optimistic. Though they lost their top three scorers from a team that went 20-13 and lost in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, they also lost some locker room drama.
Charismatic but inconsistent guard Edgar Sosa is gone. Sophomore center Samardo Samuels opted to bolt for the NBA.
Planned reinforcements, however, haven't exactly panned out. The NCAA ruled incoming freshmen Justin Coleman and Gorgui Dieng ineligible while Memphis transfer Roburt Sallie didn't meet the deadline to get his academic affairs in order.
Either way, the Cardinals have to press on. Pitino is dubbing this season a "bridge year," hoping a solid recruiting class coming in next season will return the program to the top of the Big East.
"Our style is to wear people out," Pitino said.
■ A limited number of single-game tickets to Louisville's first 14 home men's basketball games in the KFC Yum Center will go on sale Friday at 9 a.m. The tickets are located in the upper corners of the arena.