postgame louisville coach rick pitino loss uva
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Postgame: Louisville coach Rick Pitino on loss to UVA

louisvilleLouisville coach Rick Pitino talks with reporters after the ninth-ranked Cardinals fell to #3 UVA, 52-47, on Saturday.

 

Opening statement: “Well this is a great venue to play college basketball, I think its one of the best I’ve seen. It’s my first time here. I think the crowd’s great. I think they’re on top of you. I think the environment is awesome and I think their team is awesome. They can make it very difficult. I was very disappointed in our team because we worked very hard for three days on how to beat their defense and we ignored it in the first half, by-and-large. The one thing you cannot do is break the offense and go one-on-one with high pick and rolls against this team. And we did that. Finally, in the second half, we ran our offenses and got good looks, good plays, good post plays, and we almost came back. But. its very difficult to come back against this team. We learned a very important lesson losing to North Carolina at the buzzer about pick-and-roll defense and how it can hurt us. And we learned a valuable lesson tonight about being able to execute a gameplan.”

On Virginia’s defense: “Their defense is awesome. I won’t take anything away from them, but our offense was ridiculous. We just didn’t run our sets. We didn’t move the ball. If you don’t do that you’re going to make Virginia look like the best defensive team in the history of the game. They’re terrific. I love their team, I love what they do, but we fed right into the monster and the crowd.”

On not executing the offense in the first half: “I think [our guys] were anxious to score. They broke the play down and tried to get into the lane. I think that they didn’t understand how Virginia is good defensively and that the first or second option will not be there. The pick and roll high does not work too well against these guys unless you’re going downhill. If you’re going east and west it’s not going to work.”

On being able to create turnovers: “I think that the weakest thing we’ve had this year, and the last four years, is our press. Our press hasn’t been good this year. From denying the ball inbounds to trapping, not getting enough of it. It could be the lack of a bench because guys are extending so much energy. The press has probably been the weakest part of our defense this year. We didn’t even get five traps tonight.”

On under-the-radar Virginia players [Evan Nolte and Darion Atkins]: “I think they’re good mid-range shooters. I think they execute well. They’ve been down to Virginia Tech, they’ve been down to Georgia Tech but then they make the right plays down the stretch and make big shots. We did a good job of limiting their threes, we did a good job of making sure we switch correctly, but we did a very poor job of executing offensively in the first half. They’re an excellent team. Every coach talks about a fist, having all the guys playing together, and they’ve got a great fist. They have a lot more talent than people recognize, they have tremendous experience, and they have a fabulous coach.”

On why Virginia is so much better defensively than other teams: “Basically what they’re doing, and what separates them, is that they have five guys who are alert to the ball. Some programs teach ‘play your man, see the ball.’ They play the ball. It’s truly unique because they’ll give up some threes sometimes and if you make it you’ll stay in the game, like against Duke. They’re just well drilled and schooled at what they do. It’s brilliant. I love what they do and I was trying to teach my freshman six weeks ago to look at how this team plays as one. They’re on a string moving with the ball. If they give up anything its going to be a late three or, if you create so much movement, you’ll do what Chris Jones did in the second half and get to the rim. Unfortunately, we waited until the second half to do that.”

 

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