University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino said he was "devastated" after his team dropped a 70-68 decision to Syracuse on Saturday.
As typical after a loss, Pitino didn't go to dinner and said he "just felt awful" after watching the Orange score the final four points and his team make a couple of late-game mistakes that "gave the game away."
But when the Cardinals returned to practice on Sunday, Pitino said he couldn't have been more pleased with his team's demeanor. The Cardinals are preparing to play at Villanova on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
"A total professional attitude," Pitino said about his team. "I was devastated with that loss because of the way we lost the game. It really bothered me.
"But the players reminded me of my guys back in the pros. Players don't get affected by losses like coaches do. Peyton was in his jovial mood. He's having a great year. He just had a bad play. All of our guys are having great years.
"(The loss) didn't bother them one bit. I said aren't you guys devastated and they said, ‘No we are disappointed that we didn't execute but no we're not devastated'. Except for Luke Hancock, he said he was devastated."
The Cardinals dropped to No. 5 in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls and will take a 16-2, 4-1 record into the Big East Conference game at Villanova (11-7, 2-3). The Cardinals will play at Georgetown on Saturday.
Pitino said he felt like there were no "great" teams in the country at this point but is hoping his team can perhaps get there in the next few weeks.
"I don't think we're a great basketball team," he said. "But to be honest with you, I haven't seen a great basketball team this year. Now, I've seen a lot of really good basketball teams. There's gonna be four teams that are going to evolve in the next six week into a great basketball team, and I hope we are one of those teams."
But at this point, Pitino said he doesn't agree with analysts that say the Cardinals are the "most complete" team in the country.
"I wish we were," Pitino said. "But we're no different than Indiana, Duke, Syracuse as far as being complete. I think we're very, very good. Right now, we could be No. 1 and we could be five where we are today and that is about right."
Pitino had a few more thoughts during the news conference. Here are some highlights from the media session:
*On Peyton Siva's game against Syracuse: "Peyton struggles with Syracuse. The length of their zone bothers him. We'll have to make some changes the next time we play Syracuse."
*On the loss to the Orange: "It was a game we gave away at the end. I haven't seen too many defeats where we have given the game away."
*On Villanova, which doesn't play three guards like Jay Wright-coached teams have played in recent years: "It's not the traditional Villanova team you have seen in the past. They have really good size and (JayVaughn) Pinkston off the bench is difficult to defend."
*On the play of Syracuse' Brandon Triche: "He surprised us a little bit. We knew he could shoot the three but we didn't know he had that type of range where he could go 8-10 feet behind the line and make it. I am not sure he knew it."
*More on Siva: "Some players don't play well against the length of the Syracuse zone. Some players don't play well against the Ravens. It just happens.."