"I'm relieved because I wanted this so much for the players. For me, I say this with all humility, I've had more fulfillment in the game of basketball than ten coaches combined. But I've never had a group like this in my life. There are 12 unbelievable guys that just pulled together. I've wanted it for them because they've worked so hard and gone through so much adversity. I wanted them to get the experience that I've been through. I'm relieved for them. We have a blast together away from the lines. Between the lines I'm trying to drive them to limits they didn't think they could get to. I mean Russ Smith, nobody wanted. But he bails us out time and time again. Now, we keep talking about going to a Final Four and winning a championship."
Pitino on keys to victory
"We were in control, then we didn't block out on the free throw and they made a three. We've made this run for one reason. We've played good defense the whole year, but the one thing we've tried to do -- we felt we were physically weak and small so we really guarded the paint well and gave up a lot of threes at the midpoint of the season. When we got to the post-season I said 'that's over…we're going to guard the line with our life.' We did a super job against Cincinnati and held them to 14 points at halftime. We did a great job tonight because I think they made two late and only five for the game. This is one of the toughest teams because they have such a great inside - outside attack. They can kill you with Drew Gordon inside and if you help they throw it back outside. So they're very difficult to guard, but we played great defense. We just had a very difficult time keeping them off the backboard."
Pitino on next round
"It depends who we're playing. Our goal against Davidson was stop the three and keep them out of transition. We knew this game was going to be a %%MATCH_7%% game. It was going to be smash mouth basketball. We knew it was going to be a low-scoring game. %%MATCH_8%% is slowdown; Michigan State is fast break. As I look at this tournament, %%MATCH_9%% is in a class by themselves. North Carolina is a little below them. And the rest of us are playing to try to upset those two teams."
Pitino on Russ Smith
"I got upset at Russ tonight….because he wouldn't stopping clapping while I was trying to go through a play. He kept saying I'm okay. Finally, I had to say 'I don't care if you're okay.' Coaching him is about as much fun because you really don't know what's going to happen on the next play. He bailed us out with threes tonight and he's really not a three-point shooter. That is Russ Smith."
Pitino on rebounding deficit
"When you put such great emphasis on stopping the three and you're out on the line and there's long rebounds…they come up with the rebound. That's the danger of really playing above the line. We need to do a better job, but that's the first time we've been really hurt like that."
Pitino on %%MATCH_10%%
"I didn't feel Peyton was going to have a great game because of the way they play the pick and roll. They string it. But at the end of the game when they had to have stops he made a great move. He did something that he hasn't done with us in two years. That pass he made to Gorgui he came to a jump stop and made the play. That was a great pass. He made big plays down the stretch and he is having a tremendous postseason."
Pitino on Wayne Blackshear
"I'll tell you who else played really well tonight and I'm getting more confidence in him is Wayne Blackshear. I think he's going to go from 8 minutes to 12-15 minutes. I think that's going to give us a big lift."