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Blog Entry

Time to give Pitino his due praise

Posted on: January 29, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2011 3:53 pm
 

Posted by Matt Jones


After two months of fighting it, I grudgingly come to praise Rick Pitino’s coaching performance this season in Louisville. Believe me, all of my natural tendencies are to say that Pitino’s team has had success due to a combination of weak scheduling and fortuitous breaks in close games. But with Saturday’s win on the road against UCONN, I can no longer deny it. Rick Pitino is doing the best work of his Louisville career this season.

This edition of the Cardinals does not have the roster one would, or should, expect from a Rick Pitino team. There is not one player that has a certain NBA future and arguably the one with the most talent, Terrence Jennings, has consistently underachieved. The Cards are soft as butter inside and when they match up with most of the top teams in the Big East, they look vastly undermanned at nearly every position.

But this team has a moxie and toughness that recalls Rick Pitino’s Providence and early Kentucky teams. They hustle after every loose ball, play a tenacious brand of defense that gives their opponents fits and as shown against UCONN on Saturday, have a never-say-die attitude that allows them to remain in games long after they should have been eliminated. 

Already in the Big East this season, Louisville has come back from an 18 point deficit with 5:44 left against Marquette to steal a victory, but amazingly what happened against UCONN is more impressive. Down by two late in regulation, Peyton Siva (who just Wednesday added a game winner against West Virginia to his resume) weaved into the lane, driving by a host of UCONN defenders before squeaking in a game-tying layup. Then, down five with under a minute left in the first overtime, the Cards scrapped back with two late three pointers and once again saw Siva finish a clutch drive to send the game to a second overtime. In the unfamiliar setting of protecting a late lead in the second overtime, Louisville pressured UCONN into a desperation Kemba Walker thirty footer miss before stealing the most important win of the season.

It has been a trying few months for Pitino and the specifics of his difficulties often seem to be worn on his face every game. But his team has the youthful energy of the best of Pitino we remember over the last 25 years. Attacking the basket, dishing to open teammates and playing with an unselfish enthusiasm that as put a spring in Pitino’s step all season, makes the Cardinals a fun team to watch perform. They are capable of producing a dud every now and then, but they are also able to win games, in which from a talent perspective, they have no business even competing.

When I watch Louisville play, I continue to shake my head and wonder how the program has so little top-flight talent and what Pitino has been doing on the recruiting trail over the last three years. But then when the game gets to its closing moments and the team with the most poise and guts shines over the one with the better talent, I see Louisville grinding out another big win. None have been bigger than Saturday’s over UCONN and it is time for even Rick Pitino’s biggest critic to stand on the side and applaud what he has done this season.

Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Dec 11, 2008
Posted on: January 30, 2011 11:08 pm
 

Time to give Pitino his due praise

Cats,
Nice Rep... Who is obsessed with whom, you've posted multiple times in a row trying to defend yourself and spew your hatred.  Step back from the keyboard and stroll down to the DQ for a Dilly Bar, take a few deep breaths and understand that hating other people eats you more than it eats them.  Pour the Buffalo Trace into the cola and slide off into the night.




Since: Jan 30, 2011
Posted on: January 30, 2011 10:42 pm
 

Time to give Pitino his due praise

Again, acting like the UConn win was anything but a fluke upset against a team that shot 37% on one of Kemba's worst games of the year.  Get over it.  This just isn't Louisville's year.   Sure, rick is maximizing their potential, and unfortunately that equates to getting a few conference upsets by 1 point.  It will go no further than that.  Dont worry little brother, next year you will be better.  Still nowhere near where UK will be, but better at least.  And about the RPI, with every win you get, ours climbs too, because if you forget, YOU GOT BLOWN OUT ON YOUR HOME COURT BY UK.  Why do people keep bring up the fact that Uconn beat us and think its gonna upset us at all KNOWING that we already "BLITZED" you?  Cardinal fans at their best.  LOL




Since: Dec 28, 2010
Posted on: January 30, 2011 7:49 pm
 

Time to give Pitino his due praise

catsareback1
Don't get your fanny in a bunch because the 'Cats are playing in the most ridiculous basketball conference, the SEC (Send'Em Cash).  After all we did beat a team on their home court, a team that you couldn't beat on a neutral floor (and yall got blitzed).  The Cards' RPI and SOS is climbing by the game, and the fact that Pitino is getting more out of his team of non-allstars, than say one PayPal Cal is getting with his hoop squad (already having one blow up going Samuel L Jackson on Terrence Jones during the Alabama game).  At least our team is learning how to win on the road against quality competition and a top 5 ranked team nationally, holler at me when the Cats do the same with a six man roster (sorry the Enes Kanter thing didn't work out).  You still have to go on the road against UT, Florida, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and Arkansas and the way I see it you could possibly losing all of those games (good luck with that)!!!!!!



Since: Jan 30, 2011
Posted on: January 30, 2011 7:05 pm
 

Time to give Pitino his due praise

I mean the problem with Louisville fans is, they actually think after that game the other day that they are better than Uconn.  Just like they believe they are better than UK (somehow).  Just like they believe they are one of the top teams in the Big East.  Until they accept reality, then there is no use arguing with them. 




Since: Jan 30, 2011
Posted on: January 30, 2011 7:00 pm
 

Time to give Pitino his due praise

As for saying Providence beat Bama, who beat us?  What does that even matter?  Tennessee Beat Pittsburgh and Villanova, and we all saw what Villanova did to you.  Is that what we base things on now?  Louisville fans are so retarded.  Heads up matchups are all that matters.  UK KILLED YOU.  It wasn't close.  It was almost comical.  And no, i'm not saying a win doesn't count if shots aren't falling for the other team.  I am however saying that since you have ONE win over a team that is in the current top 25, then you probably shouldn't be claiming how good you are.  That fact is even more evident since that loss was clearly against a team who was not at their best, and would be Louisville 9/10 times.  Also, dont saying Louisville is so good because they play in teh big east and are in second place.  Do you not realize that there are about 5 good teams in that conference, and you've only played one of them. I take that back, you've played 2 of them.  You got a one point win, and the other one blew you out.  Be realistic. 



Since: Jan 30, 2011
Posted on: January 30, 2011 6:55 pm
 

Time to give Pitino his due praise

LOL at the UofL fans that keep saying "you guys got your fair shot at Uconn and they beat you on a neutral court by like a hundred."  Sound familiar?  Familiar, but not exactly.  Because the Cards had their fair shot at UK and got beat "by like a hundred" AT HOME.  LMAO.  Get real.  lolololol



Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: January 30, 2011 2:08 pm
 

Time to give Pitino his due praise


Understand, the vitriol being spewed by UofL fans, when we should only be happy, is largely encouraged by their small-brained counterparts like you.


Hmmm...veeerry interestink!!

UofL fans are suseptible to being encouraged, "by their small-brained counterparts like you"."  That seems to say a lot for the gullibility of your typical UofL fan, doesn't it?  Why are they so easily led by these seemingly ubiquitous, small-minded counterparts?

I guess I can agree that there is a serious problem on these boards with the invasion of illegal counterparts.  Those little suckers seem to get into every nook and cranny of the web.

But in all seriousness...you guys need to work on what you consider admirable leadership qualities.  Stay away fron the guiles of the "counterparts" no matter how alluring the call.



Since: Oct 23, 2007
Posted on: January 30, 2011 1:50 pm
 

Time to give Pitino his due praise

I  want to point out that I am very happy but...this article is backhanded and that is the reason I have a problem with it.

For this guy to begrudgingly give Pitino his due just sounds silly. 

A team picked to finish 8th in what was supposed to be a down conference is now alone in 2nd in a conference that was better than expected.

My point is, there is no choice here.  The stats bear out that UL and Pitino deserve credit.

It doesnt have to be handed to them by anyone.

Catsareback, what exactly are you using to back up your arguments?  You had your chance at Uconn on a neutral floor that was mostly UK fans and you got run out of the building.  You dismiss Marquette and WVU as weak.  OK.  Then what are Georgia and Bama because UK has already taken L's to those teams this year?  Keep in mind that by your standards, an even weaker team in Providence, beat Bama by 12 this year. 

If both teams are on their game, Uconn beats UK by even more in Uconn than they did on the nuetral floor.  I mean seriously, you guys were beaten because you couldnt stop Walker. He didnt even have the help from Napier or Lamb that he does now.

Like was said before, you needed to pick another day because you really have a weak argument.  Especially as a fan of a team coming off a less than inspiring 6  point win to a below .500 team in an average conference. 

If Uconn didnt beat UL just because their shots didnt go down than UGA shouldve beat UK (again) by like 20.



Since: Dec 11, 2008
Posted on: January 30, 2011 1:25 pm
 

Time to give Pitino his due praise

Catsareback,
C'mon man, is your whole argument centered around no team being better than any other team because it all depends if the shots fall? 
C'mon man, basketball is a little deeper than that.  C'mon man, there is no way you can predict a UK win over UConn, you guys were HOUSED in their matchup. 

C'mon man, you were healthy, confident and playing well, and you were HOUSED. 

C'mon man, if you're going to mouth off, choose a better day, a day when you have material. 

Understand, the vitriol being spewed by UofL fans, when we should only be happy, is largely encouraged by their small-brained counterparts like you.



Since: Jan 14, 2007
Posted on: January 30, 2011 12:59 pm
 

Time to give Pitino his due praise

Have you listened to some of the stuff UofL fans throw out about UK fans? "Redneck," "Toothless," "Hillbillies," etc.


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