Louisville - Notre Dame Notebook

InsideTheVille.com's post-game notebook includes comments from Rick Pitino and Notre Dame coach Mike Brey about Louisville's 64-50 win over the Irish to advance to the Big East championship Saturday night.

Rick Pitino's Opening Statement
"Our guys did a fabulous job because when we played them last time we played two overtimes. I think 7 of 11 games have been in overtime, you think about that, how scary that is. The amazing thing is the last time we played them, including two overtimes, we got out five times on the break. We were banged up obviously with a lot of injuries and we were willing to play that style. Tonight we weren't. Tonight we got ahead 11 of 13 times on the break for 19 points, and we shot a very high percentage. But in a matter of a game we had 20 assists, which is really, really good, played good defense. So real proud of our guys. We've wanted to get to this championship game again. We lost it last year in a very close battle, and now we get the opportunity to play for it again, and it's a great opportunity for the players and all our fans."

Pitino on Gorgui Dieng
"We were trying to obviously push the pace. We were trying to mix it up, and any time we got in a jam, we wanted to go inside to Gorgui because they don't trap the post and he did a very good job tonight of going to a variety of different moves, especially his jump hook. He's becoming a terrific player, and we're very fortunate to have him in our program because he's one of the most popular guys on the campus because he's such a terrific person. So he's really improving. I'm real proud of him. He plays real hard. And the sky's the limit to how good he can become down the road when he gets stronger."

Pitino on first half spark
"We were playing really good defense but we were giving up second shots. I said Gorgui can't cover Cooley by himself. The obvious thing they were doing is run pick and rolls and get him in foul trouble. If we get him in foul trouble today, obviously tomorrow it's difficult for us to win. We did it the other night. So I put the two mosquitos in the game with Russ and Peyton, and they just bother people, they just gnaw at people, they just really, really get under your skin, and that really gave us a big lift defensively."

Pitino on good defense
"We were putting good man pressure on it, and I thought Russ Smith did a tremendous job of leaving his man and helping Gorgui out. He kept saying to the guys in the time out, I've got Gorgui in the low post, and he did a really, really good job of that. I think Peyton is really changing pace, which is something he wasn't doing. He's doing a great job of changing pace and finding people. So our offense fed off our defense and our defense fed off our offense."

Siva on Rick Pitino
"It's very tough playing for Coach Pitino, but it's fun, especially when you put in the style of running and getting out of a break. During the season, we played a lot of slow ball and it really wasn't working for us, and he pulled us aside and told us we're going to run Coach P ball. It's really fun to get out there. He said it's going to be more rebounds, more steals, more assists, more points. As players, we love stats, so it's a great program, fun little system to play, and I love it. It's tough sometimes, but at the end of the day, he gets results."

Mike Brey on UofL's defense
"We turned it over there a couple times, and I don't think we really ever recovered. Their full court pressure kind of got to us, and we never really did recover. They defended the heck out of us. We had some open looks that you've got to knock down to kind of stop the bleeding when they were in the midst of their run, and we never got any of those. So give a lot of credit to Louisville, just kind of making us uncomfortable with their defense. When I called a timeout, I said this is exactly what happened at Louisville, and we got back under control. Now, they went back and played more zone down there. They fell back to more zone. They stayed on us with ball pressure in the half court. They kind of matched up, and that I think had us a little frenzied at times. Even when we got looks, we were kind of rushed."

Pitino on the Big East
"I think Conference USA has come to the Big Apple. Look, some of us who were born in New York City and can't fathom Syracuse being in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The strange thing about it sometimes is certain schools don't need money. It really doesn't matter. You can't use all of you say money is the reason, and it really is not the reason. We're the No. 1 revenue producer in college basketball by $11 million according to Forbes last year. We made 40 and Duke was second at $29 million. So with that in mind, when we make decisions of what to do with our program, it's based on all our athletes and our alumni. So Tom says, okay, he polled all our athletes about how much they love the BIG EAST, and 90 percent of them said they love it. Although we're going to miss Syracuse and obviously they have so many alumni in this area, I can't fathom the why part of it. Now, everybody says fast break. Well, we've got a better fast break conference now, so John has done a brilliant job with that putting it all together. Memphis will be very exciting for the league, Temple will be very exciting for the league. I think we're really going to miss Syracuse because the side of their court says New York's College Team. So we're going to miss them. Pitt and West Virginia were great for our conference, but putting Memphis and Temple in place of those two, you're replacing two great traditions with two great traditions, but we're going to miss Syracuse."

Pitino on Cincinnati
"I think my players are all rooting for Syracuse in the locker room saying they want to get a third shot at them. I said, you guys are sick. There's something wrong with you. It's not the team because you all know how good Cincinnati is, they beat us. It's the fans. You have to play a road game. So any time you can get Connecticut and Syracuse out and you can play a championship in a neutral site, it's really good for you. So Gorgui kept yelling for Dion Waiters to score, score, score. I said, son, you've got to realize we've lost to them twice now, let's play without 16,000 people."

Post-Game Notes

Louisville advances to the BIG EAST Championship final for the third time – all in the past four years.

Louisville is 1-1 all-time in BIG EAST Championship finals. The Cardinals won the title in 2009 and took second in 2011.

Louisville closed the first half with a 26-4 run in which it held Notre Dame without a field goal for the final 12:42.

Louisville shot 56.0 percent from the field – its best mark in a BIG EAST tournament game.

Tonight's game snapped a streak of four straight Louisville-Notre Dame meetings that were decided in overtime.

Louisville improved to 3-1 in the semifinal round of the BIG EAST Championship.

Louisville has won five of its last six games, and eight of its last 10, in the BIG EAST Championship.

Louisville has held six of its last seven opponents to 60 points or fewer.

Louisville had 20 assists on 28 field goals.

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