Rick Pitino on Final ACC Teleconference of the Season

Photo: Tim Haag/CardinalSportsZone.com
Photo: Tim Haag/CardinalSportsZone.com

Opening Statement

We’re coming off a good road victory and I was real impressed after watching the tape of what we did team wise. We moved the basketball very well, shot a good percentage, took high percentage shots, and played good defense. So I was very pleased going into a homestand with two top 10 teams (at the time) and we certainly have to play well to beat either one of those teams.

How he compares the defenses of Virginia and Kentucky

Well they’re very different. I mean they are both outstanding, obviously. But their defensive schemes are very different. Kentucky will get up on you, they will switch a lot, and they will send their shot blockers to protect the rim. Virginia doesn’t have that type of shot blocking capability. Virginia relies on five people just playing the basketball, rotating properly, and making it difficult getting anything in the paint. So they’re very different, but they both excel at what they’re trying to accomplish.

Why Louisville and Notre Dame have had so many overtime games against each other

It’s just been great basketball games. It’s always been from five overtimes to just great, great games. One of the things about Notre Dame is that when they trail, they’re never out of it because the three point shot is such a great weapon. They pass, cut, catch so well, they shoot well. So you’re never out of the game. To get a victory, you have to play all 40 minutes, and obviously then some with the overtimes. It’s just one of those great rivalries where every game’s exciting, a lot of anxious moments, and certainly we’ve always enjoyed playing there as well as home against them.

What Quentin Snider can improve on

He’s picking up his dribble and point guards can’t do that. He’s got to learn to do what Peyton Siva did. When he goes in the lane and he doesn’t have anything, just to continue dribbling back out, or then learn what Chris Jones learned, to pivot if you pick it up. One time he got trapped at halfcourt (on Saturday) right before the half and he could have just pivoted and thrown a bounce pass and run the clock out. Instead he floated the ball, as well as Chinanu did that.

More on Snider

He has to learn how to run the pick and roll better because he goes wide and he doesn’t run his man off (the screen). That’s something all freshmen have to learn. When he gets in the lane, if he has nothing, he has to learn to dribble it back out and create something else, as well as pivoting when he gets into pressure and fighting off the defense. Ninety percent of the times when your trapped you should throw a bounce pass, but you never float a ball like he did in the game.

Is there a problem with scoring in college basketball? What should be done?

Obviously there is a problem. I was involved in a committee to improve scoring in the NBA, and the only thing that changed…at that time when we met there was only one team breaking 100 points…we came up with a lot of different things but in reality it was just calling the game tighter, getting the defense off the players, and allowing less physicality. I think in the college game it’s a little bit different. I think the shot clock being 35 seconds enables you to keep the score low. I think that they’ll finally change it this year. That’s one factor.

The other factor is defenses are so good because they don’t give you the lane, they play great team defense. What happens is basically, you’re not getting in the paint. Shooting has gone down more than any other period of my 40 years of coaching. I haven’t seen this type of shooting in the last year or two. It used to be you would have three great shooters on the court at once. Now if you have one or two, you are lucky. The teams that have four are the ones that really excel. So I think the shooting has really gone down. Shot selection, people are taking challenged shots. When we take a challenged shot, we are less than 11% this year. Normally, we are less than 20% and now it’s less than 11.

So I think shot selection, the shooting abilities of players, the shot clock, and of course the defenses are absolutely outstanding.

On importance of ACC Tournament seeding

We’ve won the Big East when we had to play four games, and we’ve won it when we had to play three, so I can see both. But I’d much rather have a double-bye going into the situation than anything else. But we realize we’re ahead of North Carolina right now but we also have to play Notre Dame and Virginia. I think it’s important. I don’t think it’s Earth shattering to ether one of us. It’s probably going to help us with seeds if you get the double-bye but I think we’re both looking at anywhere from a 3 to 5 seed, both of us depending on who gets hot at the end of the year.

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