Grimes suggests McConnell doesn’t support cancer funding bill Saturday, Mar 8 2014
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re: Brian Curella, owner of Flying Hands Music School Saturday, Mar 8 2014
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Louisville’s Petrino in no hurry to pick his quarterback Saturday, Mar 8 2014
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Louisville women open AAC tourney with 88-43 rout of Houston Saturday, Mar 8 2014
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Louisville basketball crushes Connecticut 81-48 to share conference title Saturday, Mar 8 2014
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AAC Basketball Tournament printable bracket | See where Louisville basketball plays Saturday, Mar 8 2014
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Russ makes unassailable point in home farewell Saturday, Mar 8 2014
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Rick Pitino postgame comments after 81-48 win over Connecticut Saturday, Mar 8 2014
Rick Pitino was happy after his team’s 33-point victory over UConn, and for good reason. Louisville was dominant from start to finish, and won itself a share of the American Athletic Conference title.
Here are Pitino’s post-game comments:
“It was great that we played that kind of defense and it’s why we have established so many great memories. The guys just played great basketball at both ends. They are a special class because, for four years, they totally did things for all the right reasons. They are throwback people. They are humble guys. I can’t ever imagine Russ Smith, knowing him, on senior night, would pass up all opportunities to score and get 13 assists. It shows you how much he has grown. If any pro scouts wondered tonight whether he can be a point guard, I think the thing is now closed. He can pass, he can handle, and he had an amazing performance by him. The rest of guys were all great. Stephan Van Treese played his butt off. When we were missing some free throws, he kept everything alive with so many opportunities to finish. For him to finish his senior year at home with 13 rebounds and playing that well was a big lift for us.”
(On an anonymous NBA Western Conference executive’s comments about Russ Smith)
“Anonymous people, and I know you deal with them all the time, have a right to their opinions. Obviously, if he watched the game tonight, he was probably glad he was anonymous because then he would be the stupid Western conference executive.
(On Russ Smith making his case as a point guard)
“I think he (Russ Smith) was trying to say, because we were making such a big deal out of it, was not getting carried away on Senior Day and stay focused. More than anything else, he got to play point guard and he knows the role of a point guard, which is pass before shot. So he moved over from the 2 to the point and that is why he had to do what he had to do.
(On if the large of a victory is surprising)
“Yeah it was surprising but they have had trouble as of late scoring. We played a match-up trapping zone and it was really tough to score against us. We took away the 3-point shot completely until the end of the game, and when you have great players like Shabazz (Napier) with no points and you look at their team and the volume of threes they shoot, and you don’t give up a three it was a pretty special defensive performance. ”
(On if this was a statement win nationally)
“I think, and don’t take this the wrong way, but I think those are the most foolish statements that everyone makes. Did we make a statement? We are just trying to win. We don’t ever make statements because it is all about matchup’s in this game. We don’t really care what other people think. We won a championship and another conference this year in a really tough league, especially at the top. The thing is we are so focused we don’t care about making a statement for other people to think. Maybe some of the guys who get on that stuff look at it, but I don’t. Anonymous people and the internet and all that other stuff, I don’t care if you are praising us or whether you are knocking us.”
(On sharing the AAC regular season championship)
“We are happy with it, as long as we have a share of it. I love sharing it with Mick (Cronin). I think that is great and they have had a terrific season. We are excited about it. We will share it with anybody and we had a great season. I am very proud of our guys. ”
(On 13 wins in the last 15 games, is the best you have been playing)
“With the defense playing the way it did tonight, that was pretty special. Tonight on the break we were 15 for 18 on the break. When we get out on the break, our percentages this year are incredible on the fast break. We had two guys with double figure rebounds and we were very, very active. We don’t turn the ball over much and if we can play that stifling defense, we are a tough team. We haven’t always played like that but we are reaching that point where we have been playing 90-100% man this season, and tonight we went all zone, which I thought we played awesome.”
(On transition defense off a miss, make, or a turnover)
“The biggest focus on the game was wearing those two guys (Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright) out physically without fouling, which we fouled a little too much there. Then to stop the three and to not give them second chance shots. Those were the three elements we were looking for in this game, and to wear them out so they can’t shoot or beat us off the bounce.”
(On Wayne Blackshear’s performance)
“Wayne (Blackshear) did give us a big lift especially with Luke (Hancock) in foul trouble. We passed the ball well. We shared the ball well. It was just a wonderful night of basketball, a wonderful afternoon of basketball and you want it to be this way. It’s a story book ending for four guys and if Montrezl (Harrell) is a fifth guy it’s just a wonderful ending for those guys because it’s their last game they will play here in front of a very appreciative crowd … and Pitbull.”
(On Montrezl Harrell taking a play off)
“Once in a while, he’ll take it on defense. He was a little tired tonight. He was playing a lot of minutes. His wing span is just phenomenal. He’s an incredible basketball player right now. He’s improved his passing. He’s improved his dribbling. He’s improved his one-on-one moves.”
(On incentives to team like last year’s tattoo)
“I have not.”
(On Chris Jones’ performance)
“He’s playing great in practice and that excites me. You can see that when we put Tim (Henderson) in the game tonight, we didn’t lose a single thing. So we have him at all times able to step in and don’t lose anything when you put him in the game. He may not give you as much offense as some of the other players, but you don’t lose anything when he’s in the game.”
(On Stephan Van Treese energy tonight)
“It’s big, because if you’re not shooting a great percentage, it gives you a second look every single time. He played really good defense tonight. We need him to play exactly the way he played, you know, six points, 13 (rebounds) his last two free throws that is where he’s great. He’s got two steals in the game. We need him because now he’s a legitimate player that helps us win the game so now we fully expect him to play that way every night.”
Connecticut Head Coach Kevin Ollie Quotes
“Louisville took advantage of everything we did…and I’m the first one, I’m on the front line. We weren’t ready to play. [Louisville] took advantage of everything. Coach Pitino coached a hell of a team and those players played. They played like champions and we didn’t. I told the guys if we play like that, then we have two games in this season. And that’s it.”
(On the 30-plus point deficit)
“I didn’t see anything like this coming. And I’m glad it came because now we know how tough we have to be to be a champion. [Louisville] is a champion. We weren’t tough enough. We weren’t together enough. [Louisville] took every opportunity to take advantage of it. That’s what champions do. That’s why they’re the champions.”
(On Russ Smith)
“Russ (Smith) played the game. Russ is a great player. He let the game play him. If everybody is loading up, he passes. That’s what great players do. That’s what All-Americans do. And he’s an All-American. I told my guys to pass. They don’t pass. And that’s why we ended up with a defeat like this.”
(What needs to happen between now and the tournament?)
“We have to play. We have to play hard. We have to play together. That’s what has to happen. We have to play harder and it starts with effort. I have to coach better. I have to get the guys prepared better. We have to do it together as a team, and we didn’t do it together as a team. [Louisville] saw weaknesses and they exploited every last one of them. That’s what a great coach does and that’s what a great team does; and I was a bad coach today.”
(On whether Saturday’s game answered the question if Louisville is elite)
“I don’t know if we are elite so how can you tell. How we played, I don’t know. But [Louisville] is a good team. They are the national champions and they played like it. They played hard, they played together, their seniors played well, and they shared the basketball. [That’s] what a team is supposed to do. But I don’t know. What do you compare it to because we didn’t play our A-game?”
(Was it just the lack of effort which bothered you the most?)
“We have (Montrezl) Harrell dunking backwards. We have him hanging on the rim. We have (Luke) Hancock shooting open 3s. Yeah, lack of effort.”
(On why Connecticut isn’t play together at this point of the season)
“I don’t know. I’m going to look at the tape. We’ve been playing good basketball so we have faith in ourselves. We’re at the bottom right now. This is the worst we could ever play. But guess what? As bad as we played, we can turn it around. So I’m not giving up on the season. I’m just talking about right at this moment, we didn’t play together. This season is not over yet, but I told them if we play like this we have two games and then they can go to spring break.”
Russ Smith drops 13 assists in easy win over Connecticut Saturday, Mar 8 2014
Louisville 7:46 pm
Remember last year after Louisville won the National Title when it was announced that Russ Smith would go pro. All of the talking points were that he had nothing else to prove. That he couldn’t get much better.
Well, he came back for his senior year and on senior day, he proved all of those people wrong. Russ Smith can get better. He did get better. And on senior day, a day where we all recognized the crazy impressive scoring career of Russ, he dominated the game, scoring just three points. Three! He controlled the game taking just two shots. Two!
The senior guard that has both infuriated and enlivened his coach throughout his career, finished with 13 assists in the route over UConn. Forget RussDiculous and enter RussDistributeless. Yeah, that’s probably not going to catch on.
Russ Smith has absolutely been the focal point of the Cards’ last two games, as he has been much of the season, but the fact that he did it in such different ways is almost remarkable.
One NBA Scout said that Smith was a really good college player, but criticized his ability to run a team and distribute the basketball. Think he’s questioning that breakdown now?
All in all, it was an impressive performance for the Cards on senior day as they blew the No. 18 Huskies out of the KFC Yum! Center. Montrezl Harrell continues to transition into one of the best big men in the country. Luke Hancock played as if the calendar has turned to March and he’s ready for another Most Outstanding Player trophy. Stephen Van Treese was a monster on the glass, finishing with 13 rebounds. Both Chris Jones and Terry Rozier contributed. And even Wayne Blackshear got off the deck with 11 points.
Still, the Cards won this game on the defensive end, limiting Connecticut to 29-percent shooting overall and 19-percent from deep. Shabazz Napier was frustrated all game and finished with just nine points on 2-for-13 shooting. Ryan Boatright was just 2-for-11 on his way to five points. UConn’s backcourt combined to shoot 4-for-23.
The 48 points were a season-low for the Huskies.
Louisville now shares the AAC regular season title with Cincinnati and will enter the AAC Tournament as the No. 2 seed because they lost a coin flip. Coin flips aside, this team is playing their best basketball of the season. Playing their best ball in March is something that we have become accustomed to with Rick Pitino at the helm.
All season long we have questioned whether or not this team can get back to the Final Four. When the reason was no, we quickly pointed to the loss of Gorgui Dieng and Peyton Siva. But, now I don’t think there is a person out there that doesn’t think this team can get back to the Final Four for the third straight season.
If they do get back, it will be because of this now multidimensional Russ Smith. A Russ Smith has has gotten better. A Russ Smith that is on a mission to prove the NBA Scouts wrong and get the Cardinals back to the Final Four in the process.
Sen. Rand Paul wins CPAC presidential straw poll Saturday, Mar 8 2014
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