Pitino on Louisville's win over the Vols

Rick Pitino talks about Louisville's convincing 79-60 victory over Tennessee Thursday night in the East Region semifinals in Charlotte, North Carolina.

On Louisville's defense: "I think one of the keys to our defense all year has been the changing of it. I think when you give any good team a steady diet of one defense it's not quite as good. But we extend our zone almost like a half court trap and we don't give the wings good looks, especially on Earl's side we're quite long and T-Will's a great athlete as well."

On Louisville's performance in the first three games of the NCAA Tournament: "The last three games out offense and defense have really been clicking. There have been other games where our offense has clicked or our defense has clicked. But our defense has stayed constant most of the year and this is a team we had tremendous respect for. Our guys prepared real hard for a week. I told our guys this game would be won on the backboard. They had 19 offensive rebounds against Memphis and whichever team out-rebounded would win this game."

On Earl Clark's performance: "Earl is very young. He just turned 19. When he first came to us Earl didn't have the ability to work very hard. He thought he was like most high school kids think they are. In the last six weeks he's just now acquired a work ethic. He's really worked hard for the first time in his life. He's been working his tail off in practice and it shows on the court. I'm real proud of him because he's come on. He's a young, young man but he's loaded with talent."

On preparing for Tennessee's pressing style: "We talked before the game and I told the guys they hadn't faced anybody like (Tennessee) this year. I had back in the 90's at Kentucky when we used to play Arkansas with Nolan Richardson. They were that type of team. I told them they had to be strong going back door (because) you can't beat them coming to the ball. The same thing with the pressure. You have got to beat it north and south not east and west and I thought we did a tremendous job going north and south in the second half. That's the way you have to play against them. We've seen every style of play this year but we haven't seen what Tennessee gives you. We did a really good job of locating people in the second half."

On the Cards bench play: "Derrick Caracter played real well tonight in all phases of the game and gave us a big lift when we needed it. I thought Preston Knowles gave us a nice lift. I think the guys are playing together really well and smart. When we played on the road this year in the Big East it makes you really tough. We developed a physical and mental toughness because of the type of teams we had to play."

Cardinal Authority Top Stories