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March 21, 2008

Derrick Caracter

Earl Clark

Rick Pitino


THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and have an opening statement by coach Pitino and then go to ask questions for our student-athletes.
COACH PITINO: Well, this is the second-best shooting team in the country. When you see a team shoot 51 percent and 44 from the three you think automatically the perimeter. Well, when you see statistics like that, you got to have a great inside attack, which they do.
But, I think our guys did a tremendous job tonight of really understanding what we had to take away on the perimeter. Boise State, or any basketball team that shoots it like Boise State, you can come away a loser if you don't handle the basketball well and take care of defending the 3-point line. We talked about -- we were going to get a lot of threes tonight. We knew that. We knew they would try to take away our interior. But we did a good job of making the extra pass, taking good threes, but doing all that and creating the good motion, and is not of any value unless you stop it, and we did a very good job of stopping a tremendous 3-point shooting team.
And these two guys, DC gave us a big lift with David in foul trouble. And Earl's been playing tremendous basketball of late and I was shocked he didn't have an offensive rebound. He's going to run home, but outside of that he played really well. It's a long trip, too.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student-athletes.

Q. You guys coming off the bench, how do you feel about that?
EARL CLARK: Coming off the bench I just want to be aggressive, just play hard and just try to focus on the scouting report. That's it.
DERRICK CARACTER: Coming off the bench, I just wanted to give a lift to my team and stay positive and help my teammates cheer them on. When I get in, I want to play as hard as possible, and do whatever I can do for my teammates and my team.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. You guys, if you would like you can head back to the locker room.
COACH PITINO: Great job, guys.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for coach.
COACH PITINO: You are going to be just as kind to me, right? Let me go because it's late and we got to scout.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take one question for Coach Pitino. No, just kidding. We'll go ahead and open it up for coach.

Q. Just talk about your 3-point shooting, you were so worried about Boise State doing that, and then you guys came out and did really what they needed to do.
COACH PITINO: We talked -- I told the guys that we're going to make a lot of threes tonight because they're going to take away our interior. And, I said, we got to create a lot of movement, which we did do. We need to make the extra pass, work inside to out. And we did a good job of doing that. So we knew the three was a going to be there, but stopping the three is very difficult, especially when you press as much as we press.
You got to be very alert. Not only are you giving everything you can in the back court, then you got to turn around and guard their screens, inside to out action. And we did a tremendous job of concentrating on that.

Q. It looked like early on with the up tempo you guys maybe played a little out of control at times, seemed like you got in and settled down. Could you talk about what you told them to maybe settle them down?
COACH PITINO: Just the only one I think T Will made his first few shots, and he thought he was King James. He just needed to settle down a little bit and he did. But they weren't out of control. I think when you shoot the percentage we shot tonight, I wouldn't use that term, but I know exactly what you mean. Of course, I think we were rushing things and not running our offense.

Q. A little off topic, but I wonder what your thoughts are on Butler and if they belong in this conversation with the schools that are here?
COACH PITINO: Let me say this, I have a different philosophy than people on TV. See, I don't think St. Joseph's is a Mid Major. I don't think Butler's a Mid Major. I don't think Gonzaga, obviously, is a Mid Major. I don't Xavier is a Mid Major. These are all great tradition programs. If you look at Xavier going back four coaches Matta, Gillen or whoever, Skip Prosser, they always win at the major level. Gonzaga, major level. St. Joe's goes back to Ramsey.
So I think it's insulting to call these teams Mid Majors, because there's a standard of excellence every year by Butler. And whether they play up tempo, or slow, whether they change coaches, there's a standard of excellence. Butler is a major powerhouse in the game of college basketball. And I get insulted myself and I'm not even working at those schools when they call it a Mid Major. Because, how many coaches do you have to go through? How many systems do you have to implement before you say they're major.
Now, a school like San Diego, is starting to develop their standard of excellence. So, it takes some time to develop that label. So, I think that we do a great injustice. I don't care what league they're in, to call St. Joe's with that unbelievable tradition or Xavier or Gonzaga and quite frankly, I know we played Butler a few years ago and they beat us in the NCAA. I would never insult them that way. Because they're major, major. Big time college basketball program.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your depth, I know you go plenty deep, but they shot 80 percent tonight, your bench did.
COACH PITINO: Well, the most important thing is how you score. It's off good ball movement, off good player movement, and that's really, really important. I was really impressed with the way the guys pressed tonight. I don't think we gave them an easy possession. I think they had to earn everything. We played that hard tonight because of our respect level for Boise State.
When you win on the road in triple overtime, you beat BYU and you shoot 51 and 44, our respect level for that team was off the charts. We were ready to play from the opening tip tonight, which everybody should be ready to play, it's the NCAA.

Q. Padgett picked up two pretty quickly, I don't think you played DC that long of a stretch, I think 17 minutes, and talk about his performance and your confidence in him to be able to go the stretch in that first half?
COACH PITINO: DC does a lot of good things out there. And David's -- I could gamble and try to pick up three, but I don't know the outcome of any game, obviously. And in order for to us win a close basketball game we have to have David on the floor down the stretch.
So, I try not to let him get his third, it was very early on. But David's got to learn, both of his fouls were bad fouls. His fourth foul was a bad foul. He's got to learn to let it go. If he doesn't block it in his plane he has to let it go. DC did a great job and we have a tremendous backup after him and we don't necessarily start the most talented guys, it really is, we try to really drill into our players' head, it's not important starting.
I think that Sosa and Earl, DC, can start, but we don't really pay attention to it. And it's good for those guys because they have a tough time following scouting reports, so it's really good for them to focus in and pay attention when they're on the bench, where Palacios and Padgett and McGee are all very good at that.

Q. Could you talk about -- just not only stopping the 3-point game -- you were able to do that without having Reggie Larry and their other big guy do much damage on the interior. Could you talk about not only stepping out on the three shooters but rotating inside and cutting that off as well?
COACH PITINO: We did a good job and they're tough in the interior. They have got good moves and they have to score against bigger people when you watch them on film, but I think we had a good thing. We had a lot of time to prepare for them. And that really helped us. Because our guys -- we got their attention.
I just happened to watch that triple overtime game and I was really impressed with them, still impressed. They had a heck of a year. They can really play. And all these teams like Boise State who can shoot it and they keep their players together for four years and they develop it and Greg's done a great job with that program. A great job.
There's so many terrific coaches like Greg and I'm just so impressed with every time I turn the TV I say, boy he can really coach his tail off. And they're just starting out. So many great coaches in this game, we're very lucky to have them.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you, coach.
COACH PITINO: Thank you.

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