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NCAA MEN'S REGIONALS SEMIFINALS & FINALS: INDIANAPOLIS


March 30, 2013


Chane Behanan

Wayne Blackshear

Gorgui Dieng

Rick Pitino

Peyton Siva

Russ Smith


INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA

THE MODERATOR:テつ We are joined by the University of Louisville, and we will have an opening statement from Coach Pitino, and then we'll go to questions for anybody up here for the first 20 minutes.
Coach?
COACH PITINO:テつ Well, we're very excited to be in the Elite Eight.テつ We did not play one of our better games out of the last 15 or so yesterday, but I think that was due to Oregon.テつ We played very good offensively.テつ It was just our weakest defensive game.テつ And the guys basically defensively had a night off, so they're going to be very, very fresh against Duke.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions?

Q.テつ Gorgui, can you say a little bit about how and when you began playing basketball and how you came to the U.S.?
GORGUI DIENG:テつ I was just like‑‑ my brothers was playing basketball in the beginning and I went and watched them play, and I fell in love with the game.テつ And I waited for it to play.テつ And I start playing when I was like 7, 8 and I think serious play when I was 16, 17.

Q.テつ How did you come to the U.S.?
GORGUI DIENG:テつ I went to SEEDS Academy, and they had a basketball in South Africa, and after that camp, I think one of the high school coaches was there, and he just asked me if I wanted to come and play here, and I came to high school and came to college.テつ Coach came and recruited me and I just play for Louisville.

Q.テつ I guess for any of you, as it happens, how is the team's health and how are you guys feeling health‑wise?
RUSS SMITH:テつ I think we're getting better.テつ We're all getting better.テつ We've been getting treatment and stuff, and this day off is going to give us a lot of time for our bodies to recuperate.テつ So I think we'll be good heading into Duke.
PEYTON SIVA:テつ I think the game last night helped us out a lot by Oregon running so much ran it out of us all.テつ Our trainer, Fred, has done a great job of taking care of us and seeing us.テつ We've been taking antibiotics and I think everybody is getting their energy back and everybody's become more upbeat.テつ And Russ stopped coughing on everybody, so I think we're doing better.

Q.テつ Wayne, you're the only guy from Chicago in this game.テつ What does that mean to you?
WAYNE BLACKSHEAR:テつ It's no different from nothing else.テつ I got a lot of family coming in tomorrow.テつ So it's no difference from playing with nobody else on the team.

Q.テつ For any of the players, a lot of the national media are making a big deal about Duke and Coach Pitino and Christian Laettner.テつ Does that name mean anything to you?テつ And if so, what?
CHANE BEHANAN:テつ I wasn't even thought of when that game was going on.テつ But I have saw the same highlight over and over on ESPN every morning‑‑ I mean, since this morning.テつ And it's a new era.テつ Coach, he's much older now, more wiser.テつ So we know we're going to do a little things differently now.
PEYTON SIVA:テつ It was a great shot.テつ I just saw it, one of those shots that you just love if you're a coach and hate if you're another one.
It's a great game, probably one of the greatest games in history for Coach P and Coach K to coach in.テつ And we didn't watch the film on that game, so we don't really know that one, surprisingly.テつ But it's a great game back then.テつ We're in the future now.
RUSS SMITH:テつ Well, obviously, it was probably one of the greatest games ever, and it was a tremendous shot.テつ And like Chane said, I wasn't even thought of so I couldn't even really comment on the game.テつ I just seen highlights.
But it's a new game and hopefully, history don't repeat itself.

Q.テつ Coach Pitino, how has your relationship with Coach K grown and changed since that shot?テつ Because you two now are forever linked by that.
COACH PITINO:テつ Well, we've been friends from that point on.テつ Both of us looked at the game a lot different than the Kentucky fans or, for that matter, the Duke fans.テつ Both of us just sat back and coached and watched an incredible offensive display.テつ Even when we played the overtime without Mash, it was a great game.テつ Anytime you write a whole book about one game, it's kind of special.
We came on the losing side, but I've had the Kentucky fans always say it's one of the worst losses.テつ To me, it's one of the best losses I've ever had.テつ A bad loss was Providence last year by 31 points.テつ A bad loss is something where you guys play terrible, you don't play.テつ It was a great loss because my guys played almost a perfect game and just had the wrong ending for us.
But it was one of the greatest basketball games ever played because it was so high‑powered with great play.テつ One great play after another.テつ That was fun to be part of, and I've always loved Coach K from before that moment to today.テつ I think he's everything our game stands for in a good way.

Q.テつ I just want to ask the players to talk about when you met Duke back in November, Gorgui wasn't there.テつ How much difference does that make, and is there something else that's changed from the first meeting?
WAYNE BLACKSHEAR:テつ Yeah, like you said, we were not with Gorgui.テつ And it was a tough game, and we still competed and we came up short.テつ But we came out aggressive and played them very well.
CHANE BEHANAN:テつ Like Wayne said, without Gorgui, it was real tough for us.テつ Limited us from offensive rebounding and defensive rebounding and also blocking shots.テつ That's it.
PEYTON SIVA:テつ I think it was a great game.テつ Both of us have improved a lot more since that Bahamas tournament, and it was a great opportunity to play against them at that time.
Who would have known we'd be playing right now for a chancing to the Final Four.テつ Nobody would know that.テつ With Gorgui back in the lineup, it definitely gives us another dimension to the game.テつ V.T. and Zach and Montrezl has helped us out a lot replacing Gorgui in the game.テつ But you can never really replace Gorgui.テつ He's playing good right now and is definitely going to help us out a lot.

Q.テつ Rick, when you guys first started‑‑ announced to be going to the ACC, how quickly do you immediately think about a chance to play Duke every year, multiple times, possibly?
COACH PITINO:テつ It was on the top of my list.テつ Now, you know, I'll tell you the truth, I don't even really think about it at all, because we've got another year to play.テつ One thing I can tell you I don't do is I really never live in the future.テつ I really don't.テつ I just live for today, coach for today.テつ I don't take anything for granted.
My wife's got a great expression:テつ Make a plan for the future and you'll make God laugh.テつ And that's pretty much‑‑ I believe in that.テつ So I don't really think about it.テつ That's a long way off for me.

Q.テつ Rick, in what ways do you feel like Duke has‑‑ if there was any big area of improvement, that they've made since that November game?
COACH PITINO:テつ Well, I think Curry's gotten healthier, obviously.テつ He had a stress fracture.テつ That's the biggest thing.テつ He's gotten healthier.テつ They learned to play without Kelly and we learned to play without Gorgui.テつ It made us play better without him.テつ It made them more efficient in other areas.テつ Now he comes back and they're better.テつ Gorgui comes back and we're better.
We played a very good game that night, had a chance of winning.テつ They were just a little bit better down the stretch.

Q.テつ Rick, what type of challenges does Plumlee present not only as an offensive player, but a defensive factor around the basket?
COACH PITINO:テつ Well, he's very long.テつ He's very skilled.テつ He jumps‑‑ the whole family jumps extremely well.テつ So he's someone that understands the game real well.テつ He hits his cutters the right way.テつ He's a very good rebounder, very good outlet person.テつ He runs the floor well.
He's a very good athlete as well as being a very good basketball player.テつ So he poses a lot of problems for us with one day of prep.

Q.テつ Coach Pitino, tomorrow will be the fifth anniversary of Bill Keightley's death.テつ I know you two were really close.テつ How tough did he take that first loss to Duke and how much would he really enjoy seeing you beat them, especially on this stage?
COACH PITINO:テつ Well, he enjoyed beating Louisville.テつ He enjoyed beating Tennessee.テつ He enjoyed‑‑ that game hit him really, really hard.テつ And it did hit all of us hard for about 24 hours until I watched the tape.テつ Then I just sat back and I said, darn, that was some helluva basketball game.テつ I got the guys together and I said, man, that was a great game.テつ Really was a great game, especially playing without Mash.
So I always remember it in a positive light.テつ Bill wouldn't remember it in a positive light.

Q.テつ Coach, Seth Curry hasn't fared well this year in games where he's got one‑day rest.テつ Is that something you incorporate into a game plan is really trying to effectively defend him out of the game?
COACH PITINO:テつ I don't know what his health status is.テつ I don't know why that would be.テつ I know he's playing good basketball.テつ We battled, we're getting healthier.テつ We battled, about five or six of us, a bad cold for the week.テつ And it showed on our defense last night.テつ But I think it was more Oregon than it was having colds, and we are getting better.
Our guys, I think we're well rested, because‑‑ I really mean that.テつ We didn't play a stitch of defense last night, so we're well rested.テつ Especially Russ.

Q.テつ I want to ask Chane about what it's like to match up against Ryan Kelly.テつ Have you faced another guy who can play kind of the European Stretch 4 the way he can with his size and ability to move the ball?
CHANE BEHANAN:テつ Well, it's going to be real tough.テつ But I got four other guys behind me that's going to contribute and help.テつ Russ digging, Peyton digging, Gorgui trying to block shots.
Just go out there, give it your all.テつ Playing for the Final Four.テつ That's basically all I can say.テつ Coming to bring it.

Q.テつ Rick, the first time you guys played Duke, you didn't have Gorgui.テつ How is he playing right now and what kind of luxury is that to have him this game?
COACH PITINO:テつ Gorgui has really‑‑ the good thing about Gorgui, Russ, is as the season's gone on, they've been like a great stock.テつ They just keep adding to their games.
Russ, as a freshman, it's been well documented that he thought about transferring.テつ I thought about shipping him to a different planet.テつ And he stayed and really studied his game and said, okay, I took 18 shots last night and 17 were bad ones.
Now he's evolved into a basketball player that maybe takes one difficult shot per game, plays good defense, makes good passes, makes good decisions.
And the two of these guys, probably out of ten guys I've coached, have improved dramatically as much as any two basketball players I've coached.
I said, Gorgui, we'll work on your mid‑range jump shot.テつ He takes it from not having a good mid‑range jump shot to being flat to being great, not being good.テつ Everything he does, he doesn't believe in being good; if he's going to master something, he wants to be great at it.
So both of these guys have improved tremendously.テつ And Gorgui has become an outstanding passer, he's become an outstanding shooter.テつ We all do shot blocking, become a better rebounder.テつ He's always been very smart.テつ He's a highly, highly intelligent person.
But he struggled a little bit in the beginning, because, as you may know, he goes from being able to say hello and good‑bye to me in late November to seeing him again late February and being semi fluent in English.テつ That's pretty incredible.
I know when I was named the Puerto Rican National coach, I bought Rosetta Stone and was working on it two hours a day.テつ And all I look back on it now, because I had such great difficulty, is how did he do it?テつ He's highly intelligent and picks up things quickly and knows what you mean.

Q.テつ Rick, what did you think of Duke in the preseason?テつ Did you feel like they were one of the teams that could be right up with you guys competing for a national title?テつ And what's it like to have to play them in an Elite Eight when they were number two in the country the last week of the season?
COACH PITINO:テつ I think when you looked at our bracket with us, we looked at Colorado State and said five seniors and two of the seniors‑‑ two fifth‑year seniors?テつ It's going to be a heck of a basketball game.テつ And then obviously, last night, Oregon.テつ Oregon made us not look as good as we are.
And then now you're playing a team like Duke or Michigan State.テつ So we knew our bracket was going to be a highly, highly difficult.テつ It was a bracket that you weren't going to see a whole lot of upsets in, because the teams were so good.
Our respect level for Duke is as high as it gets.テつ Not only for their players, for their coach, for the way they represent‑‑ their program is run.テつ We know that.テつ We played them a great game there.テつ We know we're going to have to play a great game to come away with a victory.
But we feel after last night's game, I think our guys are disappointed in their defense and I think tomorrow they'll play it much better.

Q.テつ For Peyton, Coach Krzyzewski was in here a little while ago and said this is like a national championship game tomorrow.テつ Do you have that sense?テつ Do you feel as if you beat Duke, you're likely to cut down the nets?
PEYTON SIVA:テつ Right now, every game is a national championship.テつ You got to win to survive.テつ And that's how you have to play it, because if you lose, you go home.
So right now, there's potentially three games left, and each one you have to play like a championship.テつ That's how we look at it, and that's how we'll go out and play. テつWe have to leave it all on the line.テつ We're trying to play for a potential spot in the Final Four.
Duke's a great team.テつ They're playing really well.テつ Like you said earlier, number two when the season ended and he was really hot.テつ They had a couple mishap games, but they've been playing great.
We've got to come out and play our hardest and play like it's a national championship game.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We're going to dismiss the student‑athletes to the meeting rooms.

Q.テつ Rick, as much as you value this game, how meaningful is it to be attached to one of its great moments of all time, speaking about 1992?テつ And everyone else revisits that game often.テつ Do you ever allow yourself to think back when you have a few moments offseason?
COACH PITINO:テつ I do, and I've watched the game about five times.テつ The fascinating thing about that game, we lost and it cost us the Final Four.テつ When we got back, four of those guys had their names retired to the rafters the day after that game, which was incredible when you think about it, because Kentucky always puts All‑Americans up there in Farmer, Feldhaus, Woodson and Pelphrey.テつ Were put up there because of the‑‑ that they all stayed, they didn't leave, scandal hit Kentucky and they stayed, and they went from a scandal‑ridden group that didn't play to having their jerseys retired in a loss.テつ So it's pretty darn special moment for those guys and me.
And it was just a great, great basketball game that I think most of the Kentucky fans just don't realize when you play in such a great game against a group of guys that didn't boast, didn't go out there and make you look bad, all they did was praise their opponent, so they were gentlemen, and I just have such great memories of that game.
But I do think about it often.テつ Not in a revenge standpoint, but just in a great game that I was happy to be part of.

Q.テつ Coach, this has been talked about as a national championship game, but really is a prelude to what the ACC is going to look like in the future.テつ Coach K said when all the teams get in the league, it will be the most powerful basketball conference ever.テつ Can you talk about joining something like that and how this is going to kind of be the norm, playing in that league?
COACH PITINO:テつ Well, I really don't think about it.テつ I have to be honest with you.テつ I'm sure everything he's saying is 100 percent correct.テつ But I don't allow myself‑‑ it's just a rule of mine‑‑ to think about the future.テつ I just don't do it, because I don't know what the future holds for me.テつ So I never think, except for the next game.テつ My players know that.
I don't think‑‑ I think Peyton gave a great answer.テつ We said it last night.テつ You're going to play four national championship games, starting with last night.テつ That's basically it, or you're out.
And every team left in this tournament is capable of winning a national championship, including Wichita State.テつ I mean, you flip a coin between Wichita State and Ohio State, I've watched them play.テつ They're really, really good.テつ Duke's tremendous.テつ Florida's tremendous.テつ Michigan's great.
Anybody can win this thing.テつ So we're looking at it starting with last night as four chances.テつ Peyton really said it the way we believe.

Q.テつ Coach, have you thought much about sort of the accidental nature of this team, how many guys that you're using who committed elsewhere, even signed elsewhere in some instances, and they all wound up in your roster?テつ Is that sort of a reflection of where college basketball is now, how many different guys came from so many different angles?
COACH PITINO:テつ I guess you're alluding to Luke and Montrezl?

Q.テつ Yeah, Luke and Montrezl, Kevin as well.
COACH PITINO:テつ Yeah.テつ Well, it's a little bit different, the circumstances were kind of incredible, because most of it was because of Kevin Keatts.テつ Kevin Keatts placed Montrezl at Hargrave's.テつ So obviously, when Seth got fired, he knew Kevin, and we were lucky enough to get him.
Luke, Kevin coached at Hargrave's and his brother lived in Louisville.テつ So we got lucky there as well.
With Kevin, he just‑‑ Central Florida got in a little trouble.テつ He had to go somewhere and that was the only time we really recruited him.テつ We didn't really recruit Montrezl or Luke.テつ We're lucky that Kevin Keatts knew them.

Q.テつ Rick, you mentioned the other day that you consider Coach Wooden the greatest there ever was.テつ If Mike's team should win tomorrow, he would match Coach Wooden with 12 Final Fours.テつ Given how much the nature of basketball has changed over the last half century, is it possible to look at Mike and say, you know, for his era, he's done as much as Wooden did?
COACH PITINO:テつ I've said it about 50 times.テつ I'll make this 51.テつ Coach Wooden, I felt, was the greatest teacher of any sport of any game.テつ And Coach K is the modern‑day John Wooden.テつ I've made that statement over 50 times, and I believe that.
Just in the way he carries himself, in the way he teaches values, in the way he coaches basketball.テつ He's a fierce competitor like Coach Wooden.テつ You'll both see their intensity on the sidelines, and it will be saved for a lot of timeouts.
They're just great coaches, great people, great teachers.テつ They would both be great teachers of biology in the classroom.テつ Obviously, Mike being a West Point grad, has tremendous discipline in his life.テつ Mike is the modern‑day Coach Wooden.テつ There's no question about it because of the character that they both possess.
There's more to coaching than just teaching basketball Xs and Os.テつ It's what they stand for as people.テつ And both of them, I couldn't put anybody on any higher point than those two gentlemen.

Q.テつ Rick, for those of us that were there in Philadelphia, I think you could realize how good that game was.テつ Over time, it has held up as maybe the best game ever played.テつ Does it surprise you at all to look at the film and say that was really as good as we thought?
COACH PITINO:テつ I think it was such a high‑scoring game with so much perfection in the way the players passed and shot the ball, that's what made it stand the test of time.テつ It wasn't a slowdown game.テつ It was a game where two coaches could sit back and watch great players perform at the highest level.
It was like being in Carnegie Hall and just seeing the best musician or the best singer, and just sitting there in amazement of what they were doing out on the basketball court.

Q.テつ Rick, you don't want to talk about the future.テつ I wonder if you'll indulge me and talk about the past.テつ If you had never gone to the NBA, you'd probably be 800‑plus victories at this point.テつ You're six years younger than Mike.テつ Do you ever wonder about what your legacy might have been if you'd done what‑‑ taken the path he did?
COACH PITINO:テつ Well, I've heard that many times from‑‑ Dick Vitale tells me all the time, every time something happens when we lose:テつ If you'd never left Kentucky, you would have had so many wins.テつ He has it down to the win.
But I'll say this.テつ I don't think I could have enjoyed four years more of my life in coaching than New York Knicks.テつ As an assistant coach, I learned more in two years than I have in my lifetime working under Hubie Brown.テつ Then I had a blast as the head coach of the Knicks.テつ I grew up six streets from the Garden.テつ I enjoyed that.
The Boston experience wasn't great for me, because, like Pat Riley says, it's winning in misery.テつ But I learned something more valuable from the Boston experience than even working for Hubie wrong.テつ That was humility.テつ It took me goddamn long enough to get it.
To me, humility is the key to achieving any sense of accomplishment, because you really know why you win.テつ And it's the guys that are to my right, and you really appreciate when you lose‑‑ like I thought that Dana Altman and watching the film and everything‑‑ I didn't know him real well.テつ I came away with the sense of he's a helluva basketball coach.テつ He's a great one.テつ Maybe because Creighton wasn't as high profile, he's a great basketball coach.
I get a great appreciation when I watch film of other people out there.テつ I'm not sure I would have done that if it wasn't for the Boston experience.

Q.テつ If you're watching a game on TV and as it seems to happen a thousand times, the Laettner shot is in a commercial or a promo, do you even look at it?テつ Do you change the channel?テつ How long did it take before you could watch that shot without having some sort of emotion about it?
COACH PITINO:テつ You know, a lot of people thought in that game you should have had a guy on the ball, but you can throw the ball out of bounds.テつ Bob Knight always said he never puts a guy on the ball.テつ I made a mistake in that game, and that's what I think about.
The mistake I made is I said we're going to sandwich him, it's going to him.テつ But watch out, they may shoot a guy on the sideline.テつ He may pass as they're running down the floor.
But then I grabbed Pelphrey and Feldhaus.テつ I said:テつ Whatever you do, don't foul him.テつ He hasn't missed a shot.
I shouldn't have done that.テつ That was the mistake I made.テつ I should have said:テつ Whatever you do, bat down the ball.テつ I don't care what the contact is.テつ But go for basketball.テつ And you saw my guys freeze a little bit.テつ So that was ‑‑ it wasn't on the ball because you remember all the‑‑ what's the guy doing the commercial with the astronaut on the sideline?テつ Bryce Drew.テつ And then you remember Tate George when they had the guy all over him on the ball.
So I shouldn't have said that.テつ Looking back, if I could have one thing over, I would have said to those guys:テつ Bat the ball down, whatever it may be.テつ That's the one thing I look back on the game, I wish I could have done differently in that game as a basketball coach.
But I did a Vitamin Water commercial with Christian Laettner.テつ A lot of Kentucky fans don't like him.テつ I got to know him and still don't like him.テつ I'm only kidding.テつ I'm only kidding.テつ He's a good guy.テつ I'm joking.

Q.テつ I apologize if you've answered this question already a little earlier.テつ How much does the addition of Dieng into this game change the dynamic of things from the first matchup of these guys back in November?
COACH PITINO:テつ I'm not sure, because‑‑ I'll tell you why.テつ I know he's obviously better than Zach Price and Stephan Van Treese.テつ But both those guys played terrific in that game.テつ If one of those guys would have played poorly, you'd say it's going to be a big difference.テつ But both those guys played very well in the basketball game, especially in the defensive end, the way they screened.
There's so much at stake at this game because it means the Final Four, that really past performances don't mean a whole lot.テつ So it's going to be a hard, hard fought basketball game, and we know that.
The thing about Duke is you got to keep them off the foul line, because they make every free throw.テつ And that's‑‑ any team like Duke that plays defense like they play and rebounds and if you put them to the foul line, you're probably not going to win the game.
Like last night, what was it, 26 times, made 24 out of 26.テつ Michigan State's not going to beat them letting them shoot 26 and making 24.

Q.テつ Coach, one more about Gorgui.テつ From a personal standpoint, how has it been these years you've had with him?テつ What about him is so disarming and appealing to people?
COACH PITINO:テつ His culture is far different.テつ We were talking the other day to Eric Crawford, who was with us, one of the writers.テつ He said that he goes home to his country, and if there's a 25‑year‑old that doesn't have a seat and he's sitting there at 23, he's got to give the seat up for the 25‑year‑old.テつ And he says his culture is you listen to anybody who's older than you.テつ Anybody.
And that's why he's able to grow so much, because there's nobody else in his ear.テつ Like I said to him after the season, Gorgui, I want you to put your name in.テつ We'll see if you're a first‑round draft choice and we'll go forward.テつ We'll decide from this.
He said, I will listen to everything you and Amadou say.テつ Amadou is a young man who works in the NBA from Africa.テつ He says, Whatever you guys tell me to do, I will do exactly.テつ I said, Gorgui, some agents or runners may try to talk to you.テつ He said, I don't listen to runners.テつ I don't listen to agents.テつ I'll listen to Amadou and you.テつ That's what I'm taught to do.テつ He's far different than the young kids today.
I took this other guy named Mangok from the Sudan through Australia just because of Gorgui.テつ And then I recruited a young man from Kansas City who has African descent.テつ Anybody from Africa, I go after.テつ I didn't even see Mangok play.テつ I take them because of their culture to learn.テつ It's unbelievable how humble they are, how much they're willing to learn.テつ They soak everything in.テつ And the way they look at adults, they revere adults and the wisdom that they may have to make them better.

Q.テつ Rick, because Russ has played so well in this tournament, and even last night you were saying he basically carried us, do you worry at all that the team becomes overly dependent on him and that if his performance, which has been exceptional, goes down even a little bit, other guys are going to need to do a little bit more?
COACH PITINO:テつ I told Russ this morning, I said, Russ, Duke trapped you every time on a pick and roll, and Duke is going to try to take you out of the game early on.テつ I said, You've got to get the other guys the ball.テつ Our guys know that.テつ There's no jealousy.テつ They know Russ has bailed us out of a lot of tough situations.
We've got a lot‑‑ Russ knows that.テつ We have a lot in our favor.テつ The guys texted me and said, What's wrong with this Undertaker?テつ He keeps picking the other team.テつ I said, He's been doing that since I've been at Kentucky.テつ Don't worry about it.テつ They said, Why?テつ I said, Because if he picks the other team, he picked Oregon, we have a great chance of winning.テつ I said, It's our key to our game and you must understand that Digger, I've known him a long, long time.テつ He picked every single game until Vitale told him to pick the Washington Generals over the Globetrotters.テつ It took him a year and a half to realize that they weren't supposed to win and he still kept picking them.
For us, the Undertaker is going to pick Duke.テつ We have major, major advantage in this game.

Q.テつ Rick, you were talking about the kind of the beauty and the level of play in that '92 game.テつ And at the time, obviously, you had upperclassmen and older players.テつ Can we see that again because players leaving?テつ Can you match that sort of intensity?
COACH PITINO:テつ Well, you saw what Colorado State‑‑ they had five seniors.テつ I think the game is better today because of the one and done.テつ Much better.テつ Because you have so much diversity.テつ Here, you have Kentucky who they didn't win because of the one and done.テつ They won because they had Miller, Lamb, Jones, and then two of the best one‑and‑done guys to ever play the game.
So that's fine.テつ They've proven success doing it that way.テつ But then you have a Colorado State that has five seniors.テつ You have an Oregon who has upperclassmen mixing in with young.テつ You have Butler who always gets seniors.テつ So there's so many different ways of doing it that you really can't pick the winner.
Would I be surprised right now if Wichita State won the championship?テつ Absolutely not.テつ I would not be surprised.テつ I would have been surprised if Florida Gulf Coast won it.テつ That would have been a big surprise.テつ But I would not‑‑ what's left?テつ And I think that's what makes it so exciting right now, because nobody really knows.テつ We're the No. 1 of No. 1 seeds.テつ But I know if we played the remaining seven teams ten times, one team would win six, the other would win four.
That kind of parity is great, because it makes fun games.

Q.テつ Coach, Quinn Cook was terrific against you guys in the Bahamas earlier this season, but his play has tailed off a little bit down the stretch.テつ How do you game plan for him, seeing what he's capable of, versus what you saw from him last night?
COACH PITINO:テつ I always tell the guys, in March, anybody referring‑‑ let's say you've taken a‑‑ 90 3s on the year and you're shooting 28 percent.テつ The fact that you've taken 90 and your coach lets you take 90, we consider everybody a big‑time 3‑point threat.テつ That's the way we look at everybody.
We don't look at the fact they're not playing well or playing well.テつ If they have played well and they've taken a volume of shots, we consider them a big threat.テつ One of the reasons we won last night is Oregon was winning with a 3‑point shot.テつ They were 8 for 11 against St. Louis.テつ They won by 20.
We held them to four made 3s in the game.テつ That's why we got beat off the bounce a lot, because we were pushing up.テつ We were going to take away the 3.
So we consider, although he may not be playing well right now, and the fact that somebody said that he hasn't played well with one day's rest, we don't pay any attention to those things.
We consider Cook a valuable, valuable asset.テつ We're going to try to stop him as well as Curry.

Q.テつ Rick, I know '92 was a while ago, but when you look at‑‑ when you break down the film and prepare for Mike's team now, compared to the way he was in '92, are there any differences?
COACH PITINO:テつ There's lot of differences on offense.テつ There's not too many differences on defense.
I think Duke has been pretty consistent.テつ You're not going to see a whole lot of full‑court pressure.テつ You're not going to see a whole lot of zones.テつ I think you may see subtle changes in the way they defend the pick and roll.テつ I think Duke is pretty much the same type of defensive team ever since Mike started coaching.

Q.テつ Rick, as many upsets as there have been during the season and as unpredictable as things have seemed, seven of the eight teams that are left have won an NCAA championship, everyone but Wichita State.テつ What do you think the state of parity is in the men's game at this point?テつ And do you think that there really are that many teams that can compete for the title?
COACH PITINO:テつ Like I said, I think the game is much better today.テつ And it's much better for a lot of reasons.テつ Because we have young coaches in the game‑‑ like Shaka Smart, like Brad Stevens‑‑ who now say that money really don't mean a whole lot to me, my program, my players do.
So the coaches are really staying and building something special and staying part of the organization.テつ During my era, everybody was leaving.テつ When I started out, including myself.テつ Now, today, all these coaches, they really don't care.テつ They make more than enough money.テつ It's the program that counts.
I really admire that in them.テつ I think the game is much better today because of the way it has evolved with the young coaches.テつ The young coaches are so good, so talented.テつ I think the game has become much better, the consistency of Colorado State being able to have all those really good players.
Going into next year, you'll probably rank everybody on how many great players they have coming in.テつ I've always ranked it how many great players they have coming back.テつ That's the way I've always ranked it.
And when the rankings started this year, I think Indiana was 1, probably, right?テつ And they more than deserved their ranking because of the players coming back.テつ And then the fascinating thing about this game is I've seen Syracuse now have almost three different lives.
Going into the Big East Tournament, they're losing.テつ Their self‑esteem is really low, not playing well.テつ Then they go the finals and are playing great.テつ They get it back.テつ Then they go into the tournament.テつ They lose to us and they had a big lead and they're not playing well.テつ Looks like they're going down again.テつ Now they come back again.
It's fascinating to witness for me.テつ But I think all these programs with great tradition have an unbelievable chance of winning this thing.テつ I think it's going to be a matter of, for us, if we put Duke to the line as many times as they went last night, we'll have a difficult time winning.

Q.テつ Rick, you mentioned Hubie a couple of times this weekend.テつ After all these years, are there a couple of things that have really stuck with you from your time under Hubie that really translate into today's basketball?
COACH PITINO:テつ He taught me not only so much about how data can help you in a basketball game, what's important and what's not important, but he really taught me‑‑ it doesn't help me too much today‑‑ about the pro mentality.
He got me to‑‑ he understood the pros.テつ He understood how to break down the statistician.テつ He understood how to put the game together, and he taught me about the professional athlete and what's important to him and how to handle the professional athlete.
Now, from that point on, what the professional athlete was like during the Hubie days and I was his assistant, that's pretty much how the college athlete is today, that mentality.
So he taught me so much.テつ Really, I don't think‑‑ it was the best two years of my life as a basketball coach.テつ I wouldn't say the ‑‑ maybe the two years at Providence because it was a Cinderella story.テつ Outside of that, it was the two best years of my life because I learned the most about basketball, handling players, all the statistical data that went into things being significant on the offensive and defensive end.テつ The man just taught me so much.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, Coach.テつ See you tomorrow.
COACH PITINO:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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