Pitino: Schedule to prepare team for next season

Coach Pitino spoke with the media Thursday morning about the 2003-04 basketball schedule and his decision to redshirt power forward Ellis Myles.

Cards face one of nation's toughest schedules

Pitino on the 2003-04 Cardinal basketball schedule

Well there's good and bad in every schedule.  The good for this schedule is we have tried to get on television as much as we could.  We also tried to make this the most competitive schedule that we've played since I've been here to prepare us for what we think the following year will be the most talent since I've been the coach at Louisville.  And any time you have a new team the best thing to do is give them the best competition they can possibly face.  So we worked diligently on getting teams with a below 100 RPI and played in the tournament.

The bad part of schedule is with the new alignment of the league that we're not happy about because we have to play Cincinnati, Marquette and Memphis twice.  So of all the teams in the conference we face the most difficult road because we are playing those teams twice.  We also have to play Charlotte and East Carolina on the road so it's very difficult.

Now just like this schedule the good news is the following year we'll get some of those teams at home but the league schedule is a killer for us.  As well as the non-conference schedule so we get it both ways.

We thought with Iowa as an opener it's a very difficult opener in the John Wooden Classic.  Then we play Western Kentucky, an NCAA team in Nashville.  We play Holy Cross who's been almost a giant killer the last few years.  They have a great team back.  Seton Hall will have their best team back....they'd had a strong second half last season.  Florida will be a top 5-7 team in the country.  So you open up with all NCAA teams right off the bat and then we play VMI.  We have a little breather at Kentucky.  Toledo at home.  Murray State which has six seniors and then we get into our league schedule. 

We are missing one game which we are part of an exempt situation.  The NCAA appealed it and they won the appeal.  So now we'll be scurrying around for that last game.  It's kind of late but hopefully by the end of this week we'll have our last game intact.

So it's a very, very competitive schedule and I hope we're up for the task.  We'll probably have three new starters in our lineup.  We're not rebuilding.....I think we're reloading in terms of just different players coming in all talented.  I think by far the following year will be our deepest and most talented basketball team but that's the way it's supposed to work.  So we have a big challenge that lies ahead of us.

February schedule...  Logistically there's nothing good about this schedule.  If you look at it you end the season at St. Louis and Marquette.  In the middle you got at Cincinnati, TCU, and Charlotte.  And of course you have to play Cincinnati, Marquette and Memphis twice...who are probably the top three or four teams in the conference this year...

I think if we're as good as we're going to be the following year the best thing to do.....is put their feet to the fire because it can only benefit you the following year.

Pitino on three potential new starters this season

I think this team has potential I just don't know how they're going to mesh.  We're going to have possibly three new starters to our lineup.  So how quickly we can get them in a crash course to learn the system and perform remains to be seen but we could have three new starters in our lineup this year.

Pitino on the team's leadership this season

I don't think it's Reece's leadership we'll miss it's his talent because we have good leadership in Ellis, Luke and some of the other guys.

Pitino on the decision to red-shirt Ellis Myles and who will fill the void at power forward

He's [Ellis] going to red-shirt this year.  I've made the decision on it and I don't think he'll be at one hundred percent.  I think it's in his best interest mentally to red-shirt him for him to have the best season he can have his senior year. 

Well, you have Luke Whitehead, Otis George and Kendall Dartez will all share that position.

Pitino on recruiting

Recruiting is going great.  We have one more spot to fill and I hope we can fill it with a big man.  And we're very excited about our recruiting class.  Actually, we have two spots to fill.

We're going to bring in a point.  Q A really good point?  I hope so for our sake.


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