Nov. 18, 2012
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Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino
"That's the best we've played between the Red-White scrimmages, exhibition games. Obviously, you look good when the ball goes in. We played tremendous defense. Everybody really played very well to the defensive end, rebounded well, very active and we needed to have a great game going into the strongest field I've ever seen since I've been a coach. Been to Maui many times - like Maui some years, you have a Chaminade week and one other team week and six strong - but this is the eight-strongest teams I've seen in one place since I've been a head coach. I couldn't tell you who the best team is; I couldn't tell you the worse, because they're all so strong. Minnesota to Missouri, to Memphis, to Duke, to Stanford, us obviously, we're there, Virginia Commonwealth is tremendous this year. Northern Iowa, who we're playing, has a great basketball team. This was a great game for us. We certainly played all phases of the game extremely well."
(On the strength of the group during the game)
"It's not going to mean anything. This nonsense of where you stand in November on Thanksgiving. It's where you stand in February and March obviously, but, with our schedule we got to be ready, we could lose all three, win all three because every team's a great team. I'm real happy the way we played defense, real happy the way we've been rebounding, real happy with our full court press, everything about the game very pleased with. It's the best we've looked."
(On scaling back defensively)
"I tried playing everybody except the assistant coaches. I really tried to; we took off our pressure. You never want to scale, but you want to stop pressing. You always want to defend. If you look at Cincinnati, as I look at certain schools, certain things stick out to me: one is Cincinnati, the other is Syracuse in our league. They stick out as really playing defense for a full 40 minutes and playing very well. We thought thing team would give us problems, but we shot so well and, when you shoot so well, you get your press on that many more times."
(On Wayne Blackshear's scoring)
"He still way behind what I want him to be, but he's ascending and that all you want. I think Luke (Hancock) will benefit from getting away from this place; he's hearing it from too many people. The best thing for a shooting slump is the road, no questions about it. The people there will have no idea what is going on. He did some other good things tonight. Wayne (Blackshear) did some good things. I thought all the guys played really well."
(On playing a zone defense for the first time this season)
"We didn't play it too much. We played it a few times. A guy like Montrezl (Harrell) still struggles with it a little bit because it is something we have to work with. But it was good, we had a few good moments of it. Other guys know it far better."
(On Wayne Blackshear's progress since his injuries)
"You have to realize one thing - if anyone in here has ever had an injury you know what I am talking about. To have one shoulder separation in difficult, but then you get start to get back in shape and then you separate the other one. He was inactive for almost two years, and then, unlike other injuries, you have to be immobilized all the time so he you can't really do a whole lot. His ball handling skills, his quickness, and all his reflexes aren't there yet. But tonight, I saw a good looking jump shot. I saw a very active basketball player, and I think he is ascending the right way."
(On if the good shooting tonight can carry over)
"We are a defensive team. We win with our defense. If you shoot like we did tonight, everything looks great. Shooting, without question, cures a multitude of sins. In 2005, we had six-and-a-half players and went to the Final Four because the point, the wing, and two other wings shot the ball. Shooting can cure all your problems and you don't see all the problems a team has. That is not us. I am happy we shot it well. I am happy we moved the ball well, but we win because of defense. This team is built on defense. It was last year, and it will be this year. I think as everybody feels good, Russ (Smith) had a lot of confidence. Peyton (Siva) had a lot of confidence and Wayne (Blackshear) had a lot of confidence. I think they look for each other and they made the extra pass tonight. It was really exceptional basketball. Miami of Ohio is a very well-coached team, very well coached. Because we shot so well and was able to put the press on, we made them look much worse than they really are. They are a very good basketball team. They look good on film, and they are very well coached. I don't know John (Cooper) at all, but I was really impressed with Samford's coach and this coach and what they were able to run. We took them out of what they run, but I was impressed with what they were all about."
(On what the team needs to do against Northern Iowa)
"Well, they run a lot of motion on their offense. They have a lot of shooters, and they are a veteran ball club. It will be a very tight game. All the games in this tournament will go down to the wire. We just have to do the right things and keep to our staple, which is our defense. We are rebounding the ball. That was the greatest improvement and our point of emphasis, rebound the ball better."
(On getting the win)
"That's the type of defense we want to play. The team looked great. We played well on the defensive end and pushed the ball on offense and got easy shots. People were cashing their open looks so we can't complain."
(On shooting well behind the 3-point line)
"People have been harping on our shooting the whole time, but when we're getting open looks and running the floor as a team, we can make shots."
(On going to the Bahamas to play)
"I did not go to the Bahamas last season. Because of NCAA rules, I couldn't travel with the team, but I've heard a lot of stories about how good of a time it was, and how the team really came together. We're excited to go down there and play some big time teams and ready for a challenge."
(On what the team needs to do against Northern Iowa)
"I'm not 100 percent sure we need to play defense like we did in today's game, but we spent our whole week preparing for today's game, so we really haven't looked into Northern Iowa that much."
(On whether or not his shooting will improve)
"Yeah, absolutely, I wouldn't be allowed to shoot as many shots as I am if I couldn't shoot it. Maybe it just getting more comfortable with that pace or whatever it is, but they're going to start falling."
(On his steal and dunk in the second half)
"I just baited the steal. I saw them sitting back and I saw him throw it, and went and got the steal. That's just how I play, I go out there and play hard and try to help the team whenever I can."
(On the improved three point shooting)
"We just get in the gym and work every day. We told guys to not get their heads down, just keep shooting the ball and eventually it's going to go in."
(On going to play in the Bahamas)
"My teammates told me that it's going to be pretty tough. There's going to be a lot of good competition, with VCU, Duke, and Minnesota. There are a lot of good teams down there so were going to have to play defense like we did today, and if we do that we should be OK, and hopefully come out with a win."
Miami (Ohio) Head Coach John Cooper
First of all, it was obviously a great job by the other team. I was talking to coach (Rick) Pitino before the game and I've heard all the things about them not making shots and I think it's interesting that everybody's saying that, because I think one of the things that they have created is that they've been able to win games without making shots. So now when you start making shots, it makes you almost a dual-headed monster. It also gives you confidence as you go through the season, because there's going to be points where they don't make baskets, but they'll always know that they're going to be in the game and they're going to be competitive. They did a terrific job and they were just so much better than we were and of course we couldn't score, but attribute some of that to their defense certainly."
(On playing two top 10 teams early in the season)
"We were outmatched so it starts there on both ends. NC State and Louisville are really two different teams. It's interesting, because I've had the experience of playing against both. You guys do it more with your defense here, they do it - obviously they're good defensively, so no disrespect - but they do it more with their offense. They just have so many guys who can score. That presents problems and challenges for our group as we go about trying to discover who we are and what we are, more importantly. It's a process and certainly it gets to the point where if you're not making shots and we haven't shown the ability to make shots, that it makes it even worse than what it really is. Being able to knock down shots is a great equalizer. It puts pressure on the opposing team also, but you get to the point where you're not able to score the basketball you're not able to get to the foul line, I think we only got to the foul line 12 times, so you're just putting a whole lot of pressure on your team. And we're just not at that point where we can take that kind of pressure and be that inept offensively to still be able to win basketball games."
(On what kind of adjustments he makes on offense against teams that are good defensively)
"I don't know necessarily if there's, per se, adjustments. Certainly there are game-by-game adjustments that you make. If you look at the game I would tell you that in the first probably six minutes, I was very pleased with our group, they handled the pressure well and then had a turnover - we threw the ball across the court, Bill (Edwards) did and so from that standpoint, we were fine on starting the game out well. As you saw what happened is we were stuck at the 10 point mark and I can't remember what the score was, but I just happened to look up and they were stretching. And not that the game had gotten out of hand ... I remember looking at the clock, maybe with about three minutes to go and Louisville had 33 points, so I was pleased with where we were, but we weren't scoring. When you're not scoring, then of course it becomes incredibly hard to do anything because now you're putting more pressure on yourself to be successful. Then as you saw in the game, there were times when maybe we had an open look, we're not sure, then we dribble into a bad shot, we take that and then of course now the pressure is affecting us even more, we're turning the ball over and pressure gets better when the opposing team is not scoring. Trust me. So if you can't make them pay for that pressure, then the pressure just becomes a little bit too much to handle. "
(On whether he saw any adjustments Louisville made after calling a timeout with the score tied at 10)
"I don't know that there was necessarily a defensive adjustment. I thought they continued to apply the pressure and maybe there was a better sense of urgency on their part, but this is nothing new to me. I think the first time I faced Coach Pitino was in 1995 when I was an assistant at South Carolina. So the pressure is still there. Obviously now they do it a little bit different per se, and sometimes you'll see zone, which, for me as an assistant who scouted Kentucky, is a shock. When he was there they didn't play zone. They still bring it. If you're good enough in the guard position, it definitely helps you to take on that pressure, because you're able to back it down. You're able to make them pay, you're able to get easy buckets, you're able to get wide open shots. When you get the wide open shots you have got to be able to knock them down. You look around the country, and not a lot of people can take it. You will see there will be a point in the season where there will be teams that back the pressure down, and whether or not they win the game is a different story, it changes the complexion of the game."
(On Josh Sewell's injury)
He hurt his ankle in the shootaround, he came down on someone's foot doing a layup drill. He rolled it pretty bad, it's swollen up, and unfortunately for him he is here in his hometown and he doesn't get to play. As the score stretch to about 40 maybe he might have been happy about that. Hopefully he'll be fine, we think it's only a sprain, he'll be further evaluated tonight and tomorrow, but I think he'll be fine as we go forward. We play again on Wednesday so I don't know what his status is for that game. My guess is he may not play in that game, but hopefully we'll have him back after that."
(On what he hoped to do early in the game)
"We zoned them. Obviously I haven't watched them enough. I've seen the tape. I don't know if this team will be termed a great shooting team. But so what? There are a lot of teams that win without being considered a great shooting team. For me, I define shooting as `do you knock in the ones that you need to win the key points of the game.' And if they're able to do that, they're going to be fine. I think Louisville will be able to take this game and get some confidence from there. I hear everyone yelling on Hancock to knock in a bucket. I hear it. So unfortunately for him, I'm sure he hears it also. I can't imagine going through what he's gone through with his shoulders. He's a good player, he'll be fine. It takes time. You'll see. They're a well-coached team, you'll be successful. They'll start making shots, that'll happen. They started to tonight, so now the next question is can they carry it over. If they play us, they'll carry it over obviously."