Pitino: No need to panic, just improve

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino isn't hitting the panic button after Cardinals have lost back-to-back games. Pitino told the media on Friday heading into Saturday's game against Georgetown the Cardinals will make some "subtle changes" to the lineup and noted that more than anything his team has to "dramatically" improve on the defensive end.

The University of Louisville men's basketball team has dropped back-to-back games to Syracuse and Villanova since last Saturday.

But coach Rick Pitino isn't fretting.

Pitino told media members on Friday that he "warned you we were going to have our ups and downs and some of you didn't believe me," and then pointed out what the Cardinals needed to do to get back on track.

Heading into Saturday's noon game at Georgetown, Pitino said he won't make ant big offensive switches but said the defense has to "drastically improve." He also said there could be a lineup change noting, "who starts doesn't matter to me."

"What we have to come is an awesome defensive team that takes high percentage shots," Pitino said. "In order for us to win – and win like we did last year – our defense has to be the best in the country."

The Cardinals (16-3, 4-2) will try to take that first step on Saturday against the Hoyas (13-4, 3-3), who average 64 points a game and shoot 46 percent.

Syracuse and Villanova both his seven three-pointers in wins over Louisville and Georgetown hits 34 percent from three, while not taking as many as other teams.

"We just have to do a better job on defense," said Pitino, noting that certain players "learned a valuable lesson" in the Villanova game.

While not mentioning him by name, Russ Smith was 2-for-13 from the field against the Wildcats and took some questionable shots.

"We have to take better shots and we have to improve dramatically on defense," Pitino said. "Certain individuals have to learn the scouting reports on defense of the other team. We have to learn."

Pitino said the recent rash of upsets in college basketball "is a surprise and it's not a surprise." But for now, Pitino said he's focused on making sure his team gets back on track headed into the rest of the season.

"We've got to be a top defensive team in the country if we want to achieve our goals in March," he said.


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