March 10, 2007

First off, Rick Pitino is a popular coach with the media because he can be blunt, funny and just entertaining. His post-game press conference after the game (PDF) was that. He did say that his team was tired and ran out of gas in the second half. He didn’t say it was just because of the Double-OT game (though that would be my guess, and not unreasonable).

He did come down on his team and players.

Q. Sosa out, talk about the way he played?

RICK PITINO: I didn’t think he was playing too well. That’s why I kept him out.

Q. What was he not doing?

RICK PITINO: He was not making other people better.

Q. I know that your focus is on your team, but when the opposing coach has a situation where his big guy gets a quick third foul and then a quick fourth foul and he leaves him in, how does that impact, if at all, any decisions you make?

RICK PITINO: Well, they did the smart thing, they put Kendall on our five-man and put Gray on our four-man. We still want to go strong to the glass and take it in. He’s been getting in foul trouble a lot and has to be careful on offensive rebounding to get inside position. I think they are getting used to playing without him because they have been, and tonight, if you say you shut out Fields and Gray and you lose, that’s just our inability to execute. We didn’t do a lot of things defensively, we didn’t force turnovers, we didn’t get deflections and create steals. When I see that, I see a tired basketball team a little bit and I don’t know if it’s tired physically but more emotionally. David wasn’t on top of his game, Sosa was not on top of his game and sometimes double overtime games do that to you.

But that’s no excuse. You have to give Pitt the credit for winning.

He also talked about how the team kept forgetting the scouting report and getting away from what they were supposed to do in the second half — that pretty much explains the continual timeouts in the early going in the second half.

Pitino was the only one to show up from Louisville in the postgame press conference. Pitt had Coach Dixon, Antonio Graves and Mike Cook.

I think Dixon has concluded Mike Cook can take it and needs to be publicly prodded at times. He is the only player I’ve ever heard or read Dixon come close to publicly challenge — something that he does not do or like to do.

JAMIE DIXON: Well, I was very excited about the win and happy for our guys and happy for the way we responded especially in the second half. Obviously being in an 11-point deficit, shows the character of our guys, especially the two guys here, impressed. I’m proud of Antonio and Mike, especially Antonio for knocking down and playing so well the last two days. Proud of him, he’s practiced hard and worked hard and is going to the gym late at night the last couple of weeks. And hard work pays off. And Mike is rebounding like we’ve been bugging him all year, so I’m proud of them for really stepping up.

[Emphasis added.]

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Lets kick G’towns ass tomorrow and bring home the BE championship!

Hail to Pitt

Comment by Rex 03.10.07 @ 3:32 am

Need a ticket for the game tonight. Can anybody help? Thanks.

Comment by steve 03.10.07 @ 7:42 am

I’m happy dixon’s happy, and i’ll be happier if he’s happy after tonights game, and maybe we can all be happy together.

Comment by Stuart 03.10.07 @ 11:36 am

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