Louisville - Cincinnati Notebook

InsideTheVille.com's post-game notebook includes comments from Rick Pitino about Louisville's 50-44 win over Cincinnati to win the 2011 Big East Tournament.

Rick Pitino Opening Statement
"I think you can see how excited our guys are and how much the tournament means to us. We wanted to come in here and start to play better basketball. We started to get healthy about three weeks ago and started playing guys more minutes, and it was our practices have been a lot of fun, even though we lost to Syracuse the last game of the season. It meant a lot to these two guys being seniors to win this championship, and they played every game.

"This game was very difficult, and we knew it would be, no matter how much we tried to push the pace. They know us as well as we know ourselves. We know them as well as they know themselves. Mick and I worked together, and we know the way each other think. We just it's very difficult to play two teams that know each other so well an hour and 20 minutes down the road. It was going to be a defensive battle. We knew we were going to give up some lay ups because we were guarding the NBA line with our life, and prior to Chane going for a steal, we were able to blank them from the line. So we did a lot of really good things defensively. We knew it was going to take defense to win this game. We thought it was going to take offense to beat Marquette, we thought it was going to take defense to win this one.

Pitino on winning the Big East Championship
"It's special because I love coaching these guys. We have a very unusual group. It's a throw back. This young man here, he'll speak in a few minutes, I coached him for four years, came in as a walk on, was dying to go to Duke as a walk on. His goals weren't very lofty, and then I said walk on about Duke, not about Duke. It goes from that to last week they were asking me do you think he could get a shot at the NBA. And I kicked him out of my office and said I don't want to think about it. He's really grown to that point.

"Chris has led a different life. He's been in with a very celebrated brother, and both of them have been great to coach, and they know what this means. Both of them, Chris had a great game tonight, and they've been knocked by the NCAA, and this meant a lot. This was a great starting point for both of these guys. We've got a great group. You saw how much enthusiasm they had for winning that championship. It means so much to them to win."

Kyle Kuric on Peyton Siva
"You could tell he stepped into the role we needed him to play. The Peyton that we're all used to, you could tell he didn't want to lose and he wasn't going to let us lose. Anytime something happened, he would pick somebody, every timeout, he was always talking. He was very vocal."

Pitino on stopping Cincinnati
"We played great defense at their place, held them to 32 percent shooting, but they made 11 threes, and against Syracuse they made eight threes in the first half. Our strategy was very simple, we were going to show zone, play man but we were going to guard the NBA line. We were going to limit their attempt and if they did get an attempt, it was not going to be a good look. Prior to Chane going for a steal there, we didn't give them good looks, and they were 0 for 9, I believe, at halftime from the three. We knew they were going to go one on one. We felt good with Gorgui being back there. He's learned now to foul being back there. So we knew we had to win this game with defense. We played a heck of a game against them at their place and lost. We showed the guys why we lost, but we wanted to stop the three point line tonight. We've been winning off our defense. We knew, although both teams were trying to push the pace, we know each other too well, and you don't have time to innovate your offenses with one day prep."

Pitino on NCAA chances
"I told the guys just two weeks ago, I said look, we've got to get through the last two games, and we'll go change and go back to the way we normally play because we'll have some numbers. We still have a couple of guys that aren't ready to play the type of defense. Wayne is starting to get it, but he's still away from that. Kevin is struggling with it. But getting Wayne and staying healthy is a big thing for us because with all these timeouts, it is so long, you don't have to use your bench quite as much. So that's a good situation for us.

Post-Game Notebook

Louisville won its second BIG EAST Championship. The Cardinals previously won the title in 2009.

The championship is Louisville's third postseason title that was won in Madison Square Garden. The Cardinals won the 1956 NIT and the 2009 BIG EAST title at the World's Most Famous Arena.

Louisville is 28-12 in the postseason (conference, NCAA, NIT tournaments) since 2005.

Tonight's game was the second conference championship final between the schools. Louisville was a 41-31 winner against Cincinnati in the 1981 Metro Conference tournament final.

Louisville held Cincinnati to 14 points in the first half – the fewest a team has scored in a half in a BIG EAST Championship final. The previous low was Pittsburgh's 17 points against Georgetown in the 2007 final.

The 94 combined points were the fewest in a BIG EAST Championship final.

Louisville outscored Cincinnati from the free throw line by an 11-1 margin.

Louisville held its opponent to 60 points or fewer for the 21st time in 35 games.

Louisville is 10-5 all-time in the BIG EAST Championship and has won nine of its last 11 games in the tournament.

Peyton Siva is the first Louisville player to win the Dave Gavitt Trophy as the tournament's most outstanding player. Jonny Flynn of Syracuse was the winner when the Cardinals won the title in 2009.

2012 BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament Team
Dave Gavitt Trophy (Most Outstanding Player)

Peyton Siva, Louisville

Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
Kyle Kuric, Louisville
Yancy Gates, Cincinnati
Cashmere Wright, Cincinnati
Dion Waiters, Syracuse

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