The Courier Journal’s Jeff Greer has an extensive Q&A with Rick Pitino posted and it covers a lot of topics. It really is an informative read. I just wanted to point out a part of it that is interesting when he talks about this season’s team. We knew that the chemistry wasn’t the best last year. In fact, I found it hard to cheer for the team sometimes. They weren’t unlikeable, they just maybe weren’t as likeable as I would have wanted to see. That is just a personal opinion, but one that I know some people do share. Something was just different.
Pitino mentioned it several times last year. Chinanu Onuaku addressed it while practicing for the USA U19 team. The older guys hung out with their girlfriends and the younger guys mainly hung out with each other. The older guys didn’t have patience they needed. It was like a team divided. That should not be a problem this season, and here is some of that Q&A where Pitino discusses it with Greer. He says that this team could be a fan favorite…
ESPN’s Jeff Goodman is reporting that the Louisville Cardinals appear to be one of the teams that will be playing in the Battle for Atlantis in the 2016-17 season.
That is a great start to the field that will battle it out in the Bahamas. The first thing that sticks out to me is a possible matchup against Michigan State. As you know, the Cards will play the Spartans this coming season in the ACC/Big10 Challenge. So there is a chance that they could meet for the third consecutive year in the Battle for Atlantis.
There is always something to talk about in the world of UofL sports, even basketball in the month of June. Newcomers on campus, upcoming trips, and injuries unfortunately. This is just a quick rundown to get you caught up on some things lately.
*Chinanu Onuaku has been selected to participate in the U19 USA Basketball Camp that runs June 12-26. There are 24 players invited and the team will be cut down to 12.
*Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come in his one year as a Louisville Cardinal, but Trey Lewis already finds himself injured with an abductor strain.
Rick Pitino talked for about 15 minutes on Sunday evening with the Courier-Journal and WLKY. He talked about still having the passion to coach, what this team needs, Terry Rozier, Mangok Mathiang being named a captain, and more. Here is just some of that interview.
On naming his captains
I know Mangok’s going to be one of those guys. I don’t know who the other will be. I’m hoping it’ll be a fifth-year senior who has leadership qualities.
On if he helps departing players with anything
What I do is I stay out of the agent business. The only time I give advice to my guys is if they need financial advice. I tell them what to do because that’s where they make their biggest mistakes.
Moderator: We’ll go ahead and get started with an opening statement from Coach and then take questions for the student-athletes.
Pitino: Well, we’re very excited to move on. The first round is very difficult. We knew it would be a fight. These two young men down the stretch made big plays for us, and we have been calling it Madness for years, but out of my 20 NCAAs, I think this is the craziest I’ve ever seen it opening up early. There’s a lot of reasons for it. Give you just some examples, I thought Jim Calhoun on television today made an excellent analogy. He said, you know, if you limit Tom Brady, the quarterback of the Patriots, to a few throws per game and keep his numbers way down, then the possessions don’t go…don’t favor the Patriots.
This is just a quick clip of some of the press conference following the win over UC Irvine. I will try to get the full transcript posted at some point.
There is no clever intro to write for this one. The Cards were in complete control on Thursday afternoon against the Tar Heels and wound up losing the game. Sometimes, that is a matter of one team just coming back and taking the game from the team that was winning. Other times, the team with the lead just gives it away. This one was the latter. Rather than talking about where to watch the rematch with Virginia on Friday night, we have nothing to do until Sunday, when the brackets come out. Here are a few thoughts from the game, and I am not here to sugarcoat anything.
Open for a reason
This week on 55…..
We talk about everything in the world of Cardinal Athletics. We talk the latest episodes of the Cardinal Sports Zone podcasts which you can find at CardinalSportsZone.com/podcast (Cheap Pop). We go over the silent (K) assassin and new commits, uniforms,rescheduled soccer and the Big Snack! Just a few more episodes of 55 left for the regular season. What’s next in the ever-changing world of 55? Clues later.
Without further adieu, here are the most ridiculous, outlandish, interesting or just downright obnoxious things I have heard this week. THIS is 55…..
I think we messed up defensively on that last play by running into the screen but our guys did so many good things tonight. I’m really happy we won. It would’ve been a really difficult loss because we got our 35 deflections, we were eight for eleven on the break, we moved the basketball, and their focus on the scouting report was outstanding. I was so happy Mangok made that shot because it was a big lift for our basketball team after playing real well. What we tried to do, obviously we didn’t have a lot of time to, was run a lot of motion. We were hoping that Terry could get in the lane, look down low to Montrezl if he couldn’t turn the corner. Mangok was the 64th option.
Is there anything else to be said? Well quite honestly, yes there is. It was a great game before Mangok Mathiang delivered the dagger to beat Virginia. Read that sentence again. My computer almost wouldn’t allow me to even type it. Terry Rozier gets trapped and delivers the ball to the open man. When you realize who that open man is and that HE IS ACTUALLY RISING UP TO TAKE THE SHOT, it was the classic “NO NO NO NO YESSSSSS” moment. And good for him. This may ignite him to finish the season strong. Or it could be the last positive thing he does. Who knows? Regardless, he had his moment tonight, and it was awesome!
Well that one didn’t turn out very well. The Cards got down early, but rallied with an 11-0 run to start the second half to tie the game up. From there, it was a back and forth battle, with the Irish pulling away in the last few minutes. Louisville drops to 2-1 in their new season that I proclaimed them to have, and have one big regular season game left when Virginia comes to town on Saturday.
Nobody likes to relive losses, so if anyone is even reading this, thank you. I won’t take up much of your time. Just a few quick hitters from the game.
Rozier trying to impress?
Check out these photos from the North Carolina game on Saturday. These were taken by Tim Haag. Follow him on twitter for more great pictures @UofLBirdsNest.
Here are Coach Pitino’s comments after the thrilling comeback win over North Carolina on Saturday. The video is from TheCrunchZone.com and the transcript from the Courier Journal is also included.
(Opening Statement) “As far as playing at home, what’s really applicable is what John Wooden said a long time ago, `Be quick but don’t hurry.’ That’s really the reason why we haven’t played well at home, we are rushing things offensively, from the pick and roll on and not letting our movement set in. In the second half, we didn’t do it but I am real excited because we didn’t play well offensively and we won it. This team needed to get back to, I told them in the one timeout we were up 11 at their place and now we are down 11 and we need to get this game back, but I needed the old Louisville team back. I can’t have the one that just wants to score and they dug in, the rebounding was a big edge in their favor, in the second half we held them to two and we got 22 second-shots ourselves. Real, real proud of our guys, took a heck of an effort to win the game but we believed we were going to win it.”
Sometimes, the worst thing that can happen after a loss is a lot of time off between games. It feels like the Cards haven’t played in a month. They will finally hit the court again on Sunday at 4 p.m. when they take on the Pittsburgh Panthers on the road. The game will be on CBS.
Rick Pitino talked about the game at his press conference on Friday afternoon. Here is what he had to say.
“As you all know, Pitt’s had a great winning record at home, nearly 88 percent, and certainly, they have a great home court with their student body. It’s always been a tough place to play, and we’re looking forward to it. Obviously it’s a nationally televised game, and I know our players are fired up about it.”
Coach Pitino met with the media on Friday afternoon to preview the Duke game. The Cards will face Duke on Saturday, one week after facing North Carolina. These are regular season games for us now people. How cool is that?
Video from Howie Lindsey of CardinalSports.com. Transcript from Courier-Journal.com.
Opening statement: Well I like 12 o’clock games much better than 9 o’clock games so we’re looking forward to this. Certainly this conference is different on every given night. Any time you have a large conference, you’ll see things that you don’t expect. Certainly, you did not expect the Miami victory that way in the last 10 minutes of the game. But nonetheless Duke presents a lot of problems for us that we have got to take care of in order to get a victory.
Video from TheCrunchZone.com
“The first unit guys played really well and passed the ball really well. They did a lot of really good things at executing, making extra passes, and executing. Their team was totally overmatched, and I think they worked really, really hard, and I just wanted to make sure that they weren’t embarrassed in any way possible because they worked so hard. It was good that we gave some guys an opportunity, with a big game coming up, to play. And real, real proud of the way our starters played tonight, they did a terrific job.”
The Cards defeated Clemson on Wednesday night by a final score of 58-52. For most of the game, it wasn’t pretty. But pretty or not, Louisville now finds themselves 14-1 and 2-0 in the ACC. Here are my 5 quick thoughts from this game…
1. Montrezl foul trouble hurts
With 14:36 left to play in the first half, Montrezl Harrell picked up his 2nd foul and went to the bench for the rest of the half. With 1 foul already, Harrell made the unwise decision of trying to take a charge. Even if it was a charge, you are putting a 50/50 call in the hands of the referee. Picking up that charge is probably not worth the other side of the coin, which is you sitting for the next 14:36. For what it’s worth, it was the correct call as a block and it wasn’t really close. You just can’t put yourself in that position if you are Montrezl.