Conference Report Card: RD 64, Tourney To Date, Ranking

A-10 huge winner in the round of 64 with 5 bids-6 wins, and 50% of their wins coming by upset.

Big East big loser with 8 bids – 3 wins, and 60% of their losses were via being upset.

It is a long tourney, so we will see how conferences fair each round and overall.  Does the Big East stink?  Nope, they have had 3 months to prove they win basketball games, and they do, but they certainly are having a bad round of 64 this week.

Raw: RD of 64 Results



Raw:  Tourney-to-Date

This will be the same as above this round, since only 1 round has been played. I added any “first 4” to this group (La Salle, Boise St).  Next round, this table will accumulate, as the above table will only be round specific.


Conference Rank

Add this, subtract that, and a little of this, and walaa – Big East, you dropped a bomb first round.  Time to make up for that in the coming rounds.  Sorted best rd of 64 to worst.

Let’s hope the Big East steps up in the Round of 32.  Game on.

Go Cards.


PREVIEW: Louisville vs. Colorado State in Round of 32

Well we certainly have some storylines here.  Louisville vs. Colorado State.  Tom Jurich came from Colorado State to Louisville.  Larry Eustachy (Colorado State’s Head Coach) played high school with Tom Jurich.  Tom Jurich nearly hired Eustachy to replace Denny Crum and was his 2nd choice if Rick Pitino had declined.

I’ve been to Ft. Collins, CO.  It was back in 2002 when the Cards traveled to face the Rams in Football. It was a great game, the Cards lost by 3.  I remember the stadium being at the bottom of a huge mountain, getting half dollars for change, and that they actually had a ‘live’ Ram to go along with their human mascot.  I really enjoyed the trip.  It was a LATE game and we got lost leaving (this was a pre-GPS time) and almost ended up in Wyoming. But in terms of basketball, this is a TOUGH game. Colorado State is the #1 Rebounding team in the nation with a rebound rate of 58.7% of all available rebounds.

As it happens I’ve spent the last 24 hours trying to find a reason to NOT like Colorado State.  Their program, their people, everything about them is really a great example of college athletics.  Pierce Hornung is a BEAST.  Just 6-5 averages over 9 rebounds a game.  I interviewed him last season at the KFC Yum! Center and I came away really impressed with him as a person and then watching his game it was clear that he is a workhorse.  Hornung is a problem todoay for the Cards.

Also Colton Iverson vs. Gorgui Dieng is a HUGE match-up today.  Iverson at 6-10, 261 lbs is a MOUNTAIN of a person.  Colorado State does a lot inside and Gorgui is going to have his hands full today.  He’ll need help, and because of the Rams depth I expect Rick Pitino to keep fresh bodies running at Hornung, Iverson, and forward Greg Smith all game.  I also got to know Smith a little in Louisville last season…….another great person.  I really didn’t want to play Colorado State in this tournament, it’s a match-up problem and their locker room is full of likable guys. Unlike Missouri. The sentiment was shared by the trio of Louisville assistants Richardson, Keatts, and Jones last Thursday night/early Friday morning and then confirmed at Friday’s Press Conference with Rick Pitino.  Colorado State is a problem.

Larry Eustachy has done great work during his career. I think his most impressive work to date was at Iowa State before Eustachy went into the wrong side of the public when it was confirmed that he was suffering from alcoholism.  Eustachy will be 10 years sober this April and he has done a fantastic job of turning his life around and building basketball programs.  Eustachy left Southern Miss after an 8-year stint in fantastic shape to take over this very good Colorado program.  They are hard-nosed, just like their coach.

Today much of the focus is going to be on rebounding.  And it should be.  The Rams are the #1 team in the nation in Rebound Rate and Chane Behanan hasn’t bothered hitting the glass for about 8 games.  Still the Cards have been winning.  I’m going to keep a close eye on the early interior rotation.  I think Stephan Van Tresse will be a HUGE factor in this game and I think Montrezl Harrell’s recent play might see Pitino move towards him early on too.  Rick Pitino needs ACTIVE rebounders.  Colorado State’s front court isn’t overly athletic….but they are RELENTLESS.  They will pursue the ball underneath the floor, and Louisville MUST match that effort or fall victim like Missouri who was out-matched on the glass 36-18.

One of the reasons why Colorado State is so tough to beat, is evidenced in THIS column.  I’ve spent this entire time talking Colorado St’s front court & coach and haven’t mentioned their back court yet.  But Dorian Green is an outstanding college guard & Wes Eikmeier can stroke it from outside.  Peyton Siva & Russ Smith are probably the best Guard Combo in the NCAA, but the Cards will need Luke Hancock, Wayne Blackshear, and Kevin Ware to help fill the void.  Colorado State has some depth at guard, not much at forward & Center.

Larry Eustachy told his wife when the tournament started to “Get Some Extra Money out of the ATM, we are going to be here for awhile.”  Eustachy is confident in his team even leading up to facing the #1 Overall Seed in the NCAA Tournament 80 miles from their home.  That’s scary and should tell you that we are going to be in for a battle. Buckle up. It is win or go home time.

Team Stats

Louisville Colorado State
Strength of Schedule 5th 36th
Points Per Game 73.6 (31st) 72.3 (53rd)
Avg Scoring Margin +15.6 (4th) +8.7 (35th)
Field Goal % 44.5% (93rd) 44.3% (105th)
Rebound Rate 52.6% (60th) 58.7% (1st)
Blocks Per Game 4.2 (78th) 1.8 (326th)
Steals Per Game 10.7 (2nd) 4.6 (330th)
Assists Per Game 15.0 (26th) 12.8 (145th)
Turnovers Per Game 12.6 (112th) 10.7 (10th)
Team Fouls Per Game 17.7 (179th) 17.0 (109th)
2-point FG% 49.5% (85th) 48.4% (136th)
3-point FG% 33.1 (208th) 33.4% (191st)
Free Throw % 71.1% (117th) 70.9% (126th)
Opponent Shooting % 38.8% (16th) 41.8% (114th)
Opponent 2-point FG% 42.7% (27th) 46.6% (135th)
Opponent 3-point FG% 31.2% (49th) 33.9% (172nd)
Opponent Block Per Game 3.5 (187th) 3.3 (141st)
Opponent Steals Per Game 5.8 (65th) 5.0 (11th)

Player for Player Stats

Louisville Colorado State
Peyton Siva Dorian Green
6-0, 185, Sr. 6-2, 192, Sr.
Minutes 31.4 32.6
Points 10 12.8
Field Goal % 41.20% 42.50%
3-point % 31.40% 35.00%
FT % 86.30% 77.70%
Rebounds 2.3 2.6
Assists 5.9 3.8
Steals 2.2 0.8
Blocks 0.1 0.1
Turnovers 2.7 1.8
Fouls 2.7 1.7
Russ Smith Wes Eikmeier
6-1, 165, Jr. 6-3, 168, Sr.
Minutes 29.9 31.3
Points 18.1 12.7
Field Goal % 40.80% 37.60%
3-point % 33.30% 35.90%
FT % 82.80% 90.20%
Rebounds 3.6 1.7
Assists 3 2.2
Steals 2 0.6
Blocks 0 0.1
Turnovers 2.6 1.5
Fouls 2.5 2.7
Wayne Blackshear Pierce Hornung
6-5, 230, Soph 6-5, 210, Sr.
Minutes 20.4 31.1
Points 8 8.7
Field Goal % 41.50% 54.10%
3-point % 32.00% 40.00%
FT % 69.80% 64.10%
Rebounds 3.2 9.2
Assists 0.7 2.3
Steals 0.8 1.3
Blocks 0.3 0.5
Turnovers 0.7 1.3
Fouls 2.4 2.4
Chane Behanan Greg Smith
6-6, 250, Soph 6-6, 221, Sr.
Minutes 26.5 25.2
Points 9.9 11.1
Field Goal % 50.20% 46.40%
3-point % 9.10% 37.50%
FT % 52.50% 68.60%
Rebounds 6.6 5.3
Assists 1.1 1.1
Steals 1.5 0.4
Blocks 0.5 0.4
Turnovers 1.7 1.7
Fouls 1.7 2.4
Gorgui Dieng Colton Iverson
6-11, 245, Jr. 6-10, 261, Sr.
Minutes 31.7 29.7
Points 10 14.7
Field Goal % 49.80% 59.90%
3-point % 0.00% 0.00%
FT % 69.00% 58.90%
Rebounds 9.9 9.8
Assists 2.1 1.3
Steals 1.3 0.6
Blocks 2.5 0.7
Turnovers 1.8 2
Fouls 2.4 2.5
Montrezl Harrell Jon Octeus
6-8, 235, Fr. 6-4, 170, Soph.
Minutes 16.5 19.3
Points 5.7 4.5
Field Goal % 55.80% 35.40%
3-point % 0.00% 21.20%
FT % 50.90% 80.30%
Rebounds 3.7 2.5
Assists 0.2 1.3
Steals 0.6 0.4
Blocks 0.7 0.1
Turnovers 0.6 1
Fouls 1.3 2.2
Luke Hancock Daniel Bejarano
6-6, 200, Jr. 6-4, 202, Soph
Minutes 22.3 22.1
Points 7.5 6.1
Field Goal % 39.80% 37.90%
3-point % 37.40% 30.50%
FT % 75.80% 69.70%
Rebounds 2.8 5.5
Assists 1.4 1
Steals 1 0.6
Blocks 0 0.1
Turnovers 1.1 0.8
Fouls 1.9 2
Stephan Van Treese
6-9, 245, Jr.
Minutes 11.2
Points 1.8
Field Goal % 65.70%
3-point % 0.00%
FT % 66.70%
Rebounds 3.2
Assists 0.3
Steals 0.5
Blocks 0.3
Turnovers 0.4
Fouls 1.1
Kevin Ware
6-2, 175, Soph
Minutes 16.7
Points 4.4
Field Goal % 43.60%
3-point % 40.00%
FT % 63.60%
Rebounds 1.8
Assists 0.8
Steals 1.1
Blocks 0.1
Turnovers 1.1
Fouls 1.7

Player Interviews

Spring Ball – Day 2




Charles Gaines looks good on defense.

Coach Bedford did not lie on Twitter today, Vante is the best WR in the country.  Had a sick catch between Floyd and Pryor for a TD.

Dominque Brown looked great, and they weren’t shy in trying him out.  He said the knee feels great.

Clark is super fast.  Not sure how much he will be used in the stable of receivers, but he can play.

Finesse was earning his stripes today with a lineman skirmish (not fight, just a stand-off with O-lineman Manly).  The team loved it.

Willie Bailey is no longer with the team.  No reason, just gone.

Coach Hurtt, noticeably absent, is said to be on administrative leave in order to prepare his defense for the NCAA.

Go Cards

Friday Transcript: Louisville, Pitino, Siva, & Hancock

THE MODERATOR:  We’ll get started with Peyton Siva and Luke Hancock.

Q.  Who does Colorado State kind of compare to that you guys have already played?  And do you feel like, you know, coaches talk about the different styles in the Big East.  Is there a comparable Big East team that you can kind of say we’ve played this style that Colorado State plays before and we’re ready for it?

LUKE HANCOCK:  If I had to say some teams, I would say like a combination of Pitt and Notre Dame, very physical, very tough team.  They run a lot of motion and they don’t have set plays very much.  They run a lot of motion offense.  So it’s really hard to guard them and they’re very physical inside.  They’re a great rebounding team.  So I think, I think Pitt and Notre Dame.

Q.  Peyton, when you look at CSU’s guards, Jon Octeus, Dorian Green, Wes Eikmeier, look at them at the perimeter, how do you feel like you and the rest of the guards at Louisville stack up against them?

PEYTON SIVA:  I think they’re great guards and playing really well right now.  Obviously leading their team in scoring or whatnot.  You know, we saw yesterday the game against Missouri, they handled Missouri really well.  They didn’t turn the ball over.  They knocked down some key 3s there.  They’re well under control.  They’re great guards and they play within the system.  They move the ball really well and shoot it well.  Tomorrow should be a good matchup.  We look forward to playing against them.

Q.  I sort of like each one of you guys to give your take on this, but you guys look like a very loose team.  You did at your open practice and even during the game, you know, I saw y’all all through the Big East.

I’m not suggesting that a team should be tight, but is there such a thing as too loose?  Are you guys — you know, are you guys in a good place, you know, should you be more concerned?

PEYTON SIVA:  There’s never too loose with Coach P.  We go out there and try to have fun and just go out there and play our game.  I think with Coach P, he doesn’t like us to be uptight.  Doesn’t like us to, you know, really stress out about a lot, tells us to go out there and play hard defense.  That’s all he asks.  Go out there and play good defense and hustle.  Offensive end, just tells us to go play.  Told us not to worry about it.  If you get too tight — he likes us to go out there and run.  He doesn’t like us to, you know, hold the ball and, you know, be too cautious of anything.  He likes us to go out there and play our game, play the way we know how to play, and especially around tournament time, he doesn’t want us to hold the ball, continue to push it even further.

LUKE HANCOCK:  I think you should see practice.  Practice is — there’s no joking around.  It’s all about business.  I think there’s a time and place when you act a little looser, and we had practice that morning before our shoot-around here, and we used that to get shots up and kind of be around the fans for a little bit.  But, you know, I think there’s a time and place, and I think Coach P is very good about having us focused at the right times.

Q.  Peyton, the steals that you guys had last night, how do you work on something like that?  Is it just something that you and Russ in particular have a natural ability to, are there drills, and can you kind of go through the anatomy of what it’s like when you’re stealing the ball in.

PEYTON SIVA:  We watch a lot of film and we try to make the right reads.  Coach kept telling us yesterday we need to get off the ball steals.  Russ is one of the best point — one of the best guards in the nation at stealing on the ball, and Coach wanted him to make concerted effort to get off the ball steals.

Yesterday I think he did both.  That’s what he instills.  For me, it’s getting in the right place in the right time.  And Luke had a couple of steals himself, but we took them away.  You know, he made the right rotations in the right place.  Me and Russ kind of stole it from him.  It’s a team effort.  You know, somehow me and Russ ends up coming up with them.  For the most part, I think it’s a team effort.  I think five, six people on our team had one steal.  It’s a team effort right there.  Just the way we play defense in practice.

Q.  Peyton, if could you just elaborate a little bit on that.  All the pressure that you put on them with your defense takes a lot of energy, I think, out of them.  Where do you guys get the energy in your tank, and do you have enough in there to continue to do this every game in the tournament?

PEYTON SIVA:  It’s tough, but, you know, we put in a lot of effort in the off-season to get our conditioning up and throughout the year.  We practice hard and we practice — we think a game’s much easier to practice for us because how hard we go in practice.

But for the most part, we just pride ourself on conditioning, pride ourself on defense.  That’s what Coach P stresses about, he stresses about defense.  He’s not worried about the offense.  He’s wants us to play good defense.  As long as we play good defense, the rest will come.

Q.  Guys, more pressure talk.  Could you just talk about the role deflections play in what you guys so.  Is there a breaking point, can you see teams reach a breaking point when you’re deflecting and stealing and turning those into points in transition, when they’re kind of tired and they’ve had enough?

LUKE HANCOCK:  Usually in games there’s like kind of a point usually in the second half where we kind of wear teams down, but a lot of great teams are here and sometimes it doesn’t happen.  Sometimes we just try to continue our pressure the entire game and hope we get steals and deflections.  You know, we have a set number every game we try to get to, and, you know, it’s just always a goal to have active hands and try to tip passes, and we’re always in passing lanes trying to get steals.

PEYTON SIVA:  We have a thing that we chart deflections.  Other teams chart in the paint, some are offensive rebounds.  For our philosophy, Coach P’s philosophy is we get a certain amount of deflections, we feel that we’re in a capable place of winning the game.  For us, we try to get as many deflections as we can.  Slow down the movement of passing.  That’s really been our key for this year, and we just continue to keep our pressure up.

Colorado State, they’re a good passing and moving team.  We got to continue to play our game, continue on slowing down the ball and focus on that.

Q.  Luke, you almost can’t avoid seeing basketball these few days on TV.  Even though you’re in it, do you like to watch other games and what have you thought so far if you have?

LUKE HANCOCK:  Well, I think we constantly have the TV on watching basketball and watching other teams play.  Not even really teams that we can matchup with, just any basketball.  We’re kind of junkies.  I think everybody on the team is always sitting back and watching games.  There’s been a lot of impressive teams.  The field is pretty surprising so far just how close some games have been and other games have been complete blowouts.  Just been kind interesting to watch every team.

THE MODERATOR:  Peyton, any thoughts?

PEYTON SIVA:  I hate that the basketball is on right now because it bothers my nap time.  I can’t sleep with the basketball game on because I’m constantly checking the score, who is playing, who is winning, who is winning?  I’m constantly up all the time.  Especially with these late games at 9:50 at night, you stay up all night watching these games.  It messes up your guys’ schedules like mine.

It’s fun to watch other guards and other teams play.  I just love learning from other teams and what they can do.  Yesterday against — we got a chance to watch Phil Pressey from Missouri and Colorado State, and Green, the point guard.  They battled against each other.  They lit it up yesterday.  It was a fun experience to watch.

Q.  You talked about what teams Colorado State compares to, but what concerns you about them?  What do you guys need to go in and stop in order to win tomorrow?

PEYTON SIVA:  They’re the number one rebounding team in the nation.  Yesterday I think at one point, Colton Iverson had 14 rebounds, Missouri had 11 as a team.  So we have to do a better job of in the glass.  Our forwards didn’t really rebound the ball that well.  The guards didn’t get back and rebound that well yesterday.  We have to do a conservative effort to get on the glass and protect the glass and try to keep them off the glass.  They’re a great team, they are well coached.  They match up well with some of the Big East teams, but we haven’t faced a team like this that rebounds with such tenacity.  We’ve got to come in ready to play.

THE MODERATOR:  Time for a couple more questions.  Anyone else?

Q.  Luke, can you just talk about the role the crowd played last night and what type of boost that give you guys, particularly with how hard you play and how much you guys rely on your energy?

LUKE HANCOCK:  It’s fun having the fans here.  You know, every team is going to be a little more successful, I guess, when the home crowd is kind of yelling for them and getting them going.  You know, it’s just good to have the fans.  We’re going to play hard either way.  Doesn’t really affect us too much.  Just nice that they’re here.  It’s nice that we’re an hour and ten minutes away from Louisville.

THE MODERATOR:  Peyton, anything to add?

PEYTON SIVA:  Very happy our crowd was here and give us big support and lift.  They cheered us when things were going right, they picked us up when things were going wrong.  They definitely play a big advantage for us.  They help us out.  But, you know, we got to go out there and play.  We know we’re not always going to have our fans there where we go, but it’s great to see them there and for them to have our backs.

THE MODERATOR:  Anything else for Peyton or Luke?  All right.  Thank you very much, fellas.  Good luck.

We have Louisville Head Coach, Rick Pitino.

Q.  Coach, just very generally, what concerns you about Colorado State?

COACH PITINO:  I have a lot of concerns, but the obvious one that sticks out is they have five seniors who are all very good.  They’re the Number 1 rebounding team in the nation.  Missouri was Number 3 last night and they beat them 42 to 19 on the backboard.  So, they have great experience, outstanding talent, extremely well coached.

They do it all.  They pass, they shoot.  They do everything fundamentally almost perfect in the way they penetrate the interior bounce pass.  We’re going to have to play awfully well to come away with a victory.

Q.  Coach, you guys are one of the best scoring defenses in the country.  Colorado State one of the fewest turnovers.  How do you keep that from canceling each other out and try and dominate like you did last night?

COACH PITINO:  Last night that team was a trapping running team, we’re a trapping running team.  We had much more talent than them and we were deeper.  After the first round is over, all the talent, as you all witnessed, times have changed.  There’s no longer difference between the 12 and a 5 or — now it’s all the same once you get by the first round.

I said it going into this that a 16 could possibly beat a 1, and it will happen because the landscape of college basketball has changed so dramatically that there’s no difference.  Even though we are the Number 1 of Number 1 seeds, we can have a war with Colorado State every time we play them.

It’s anybody’s ballgame.  It’s which team wins.  You have two contrasting styles this time around and they only average 10 turnovers, we force a lot.  Who knows until the — the ball is thrown up what’s going to happen?

Q.  Rick, your teams have pressed and trapped as far back as I can remember.  I’m wondering at what point in your career did you decide that that would be sort of a signature part of your defense and why did you decide that?

COACH PITINO:  Well, I was very fortunate to become a head coach at 24 years of age and I really wasn’t ready to be to be a head coach at that time.  So I was in my own laboratory outside of Leslie Vissor, she was the only sportscaster back then who would cover me, I was at Boston University.  She was the low lady on the totem pole at that point with the Boston Globe.  So her assignment was to cover the lowest teams in Boston.

So I could basically make all the mistakes I wanted to and no one noticed.  I was continuing tinkering with the full court press, changing it, working at it.  For the five years the at BU, I came up with a style of play that I stuck with from that point on.

Q.  Rick, the team seems very loose when we saw them in open practice, on the bench yesterday.  Is the team too loose?  Is there such a thing as too loose?

COACH PITINO:  I don’t think they’re loose.  I think we’re having a great deal of fun, but we — it started almost three years ago, even when we lost in the first round, we had a great deal of fun.  And I made up my mind and I watched the documentary, as I’m sure all you watched, with Jimmy V the other night, and I made up my mind three, four years ago when for the first time in my life, I thought about maybe packing it in and doing something else three years ago.

I said, you know what, I’m not going to do that.  I’m going coach as long as I can coach, but I’m going to make one big change.  We’re going to work — continue to work just as hard as we’ve ever worked, if not more, but we’re going to have a blast doing it, have a great time doing it.

I made up my mind three years ago to make sure we were caught between the lines but we have a lot of fun away from the lines.  It’s worked very well.  It’s a good formula.  Hard work and fun together, and last night it a little bit more, we had a big lead.  I think if we were in the Gonzaga-type game, you wouldn’t see that many smiles.  Just the way the game was being played.

Q.  Coach, how valuable is Colton Iverson to what Colorado State does?

COACH PITINO:  Well, you know, I remember him I believe it was Minnesota, I remember him.  I was very impressed with him there, because I followed Tubby being an associate of mine.  I was very impressed with him back then.  Now he’s really enhanced his game to where he’s an outstanding passer.  Goes over each shoulder.  Tremendous rebounder.  He’ll probably be a very good NBA basketball player because he’s doing so many different things.

You don’t often see a small forward average 9.2 rebounds per game, either.  He’s very, very talented, very good passer.  Does it all.  With the exception of possibly shoot free throws with a high percentage, he has every other facet to his game.

You know, it’s not often — the beginning of the tournament, I picked out like 8 or 9 teams that I thought were really dangerous.  They — Colorado State was one.  St. Louis.  Oregon as a 12 seed.  I looked at Davidson.  I know them extremely well.  So there were about — LaSalle I thought was a very dangerous team.  There’s about 8, 9 of them people wouldn’t recognize, but were very dangerous.  And Colorado State, because of five seniors, Number 1 rebounding margin team in the country.  I know Larry is a terrific coach.  They have all the ingredients to be a great basketball team, and they are.  Even their losses — they’ve never been blown out.  They fight teams on the road in some tough places to the end of the game.

Q.  Rick, you had a lot of great defensive pressure teams.  Is this team getting to be among those best you’ve had and why have they become so good as being disruptive with their number of deflections?

COACH PITINO:  I’ve never had 67 deflections in my life.  I think that was because of the type of team we were playing that they’re a trapping team, we’re a trapping team.  One of the interesting things is we apparently set the record for most steals in the NCAA and we broke the 1987 Billy Donovan team of providence, that record.  I sent Billy the Kid a text that said, sorry, you no longer have that record.

Q.  Rick, you’ve mentioned execution a lot when we’re talking about this team, especially the last several weeks.  How important is that against a team like Colorado State is execution?

COACH PITINO:  It’s crucial, because when they only average ten turnovers, but the most important thing and I probably have to make a change or two, definitely maybe one tomorrow into the game, not that starting lineups matter that much, but I probably got to get a little more rebounding into my team starting out the game tomorrow so to make sure we don’t get too far behind.

I may make a change tomorrow.  I’m going to sleep on it, watch a little more film before I decide.  But execution is really important, especially in the beginning of this game that we don’t get killed on the backboard.

Q.  Rick, you just to follow up on your point before that the landscape has changed so much, there’s not that much of a chasm between 2 and 15.  How did that happen?  The talent —

COACH PITINO:  It’s happened by the one and dones.  As you go back in college basketball you all remember watching Kareem for his college career, watching Bill Walton for his college career, watching all those great Carolina teams for their college careers, then they started leaving after three years, then two years, now you have the one and done.

Today, a Colorado State or a Davidson could have an advantage over the teams that have guys go early and you see it.  So, right now when do you see five seniors who are all very good start on a basketball team?  That’s what Colorado State has.  That’s what Davidson has.  You see the teams that are major college basketball teams, but they don’t necessarily recruit or get the one-and-done-type deal are probably better.  So that’s the landscape has changed because of that.

Now, you know, last year Kentucky won it all with one of the best teams I’ve seen in quite some time, but they had a great senior in Miller, they had Lamb.  They had Jones.  They had upperclassmen to go with that.  So, it all depends on the mixture of your team.

So the culture has changed because of the dynamics of putting together a team, and, you know, I have a young man, Gorgui Dieng, who will test the waters right now.  He’s a junior.  That’s okay.  I had him for three years.  I’ve been very fortunate.

Q.  You mentioned that Colorado State is one of your dangerous teams.  When you see them potentially as one of your opponents, is that something that kind of excites you or something that you don’t want to see?

COACH PITINO:  If I had my druthers, no.

Q.  Secondly, make a case for why your team should be on — if another coach is making a list of dangerous teams.

COACH PITINO:  I was rooting for Missouri last night.  Why?  Because Missouri plays a certain style, up and down, and it’s a better fit for us.  But that doesn’t mean that — I’m sure Colorado State has said, well, Louisville may not be the best fit for us, either.  It works both ways.

That being said, the way I look at dangerous team and I put that list together, it’s based on how many upperclassmen do they have that have stayed together and how much talent do they have?  You have a lot of upperclassmen, but they may not be that good.  This team is very talented as well as being seniors.

So, that’s — I always look at talent and experience coming together, and Colorado State has both.

Q.  If another coach was making up his list of dangerous teams, what do you think would scare him — or not scare him but earn your team a spot on the dangerous list?

COACH PITINO:  You know, I think obviously if you have a great backcourt, that’s crucial.  They have all the parts.  They’ve got great shooters on the perimeter and great rebounders.  I think a backcourt really helps.  Last night the reason we played so well was the play of Russ Smith and Peyton Siva, they played great.  We didn’t necessarily get great play from a lot of people.  Those two guys, Stephen Van Treese, all three of those guys were outstanding.

Q.  For a team like Colorado State that doesn’t run a lot of set plays, how difficult is that going to be to kind of maybe simulate in practice and get your players to be able to defend?

COACH PITINO:  That’s a great question, because when you play against the Notre Dames and Colorado States that run a lot of pure motion, and pure motion is very difficult, you have to have smart players who are triple-threat people, pass, catch and shoot, and you don’t get a whole lot of teams like that.

This is a team that can do that.  So you can’t choreograph your defense to stop certain options ins one day because they run more freelance motion.  So it is more difficult than the team that runs patterned sets and you can prepare for.  They are very difficult to prepare for.

Q.  Rick, can you give us a little history on the evolution of the lineup you used against Notre Dame with Gorgui and Stephan on the floor at the same time and just — a lot of us were anticipating we may see that again given the rebounding matchup tomorrow.  What does that give you and why have you been reluctant to use it otherwise?

COACH PITINO:  Well, Stephan is the best rebounder on the team, so obviously you figure they’re going to be on the court together tomorrow.  So, he is the best rebounder.  The reluctance — it hasn’t been reluctance.  Here’s the danger of it.  If one of them gets in foul trouble, you know, you’re limited at the backup center spot.  Now I’m going to have to play Zach Price, not that there’s anything wrong with that.  It’s just foul trouble is the only thing I’m concerned about is having them.

In this type of game, I may not have a choice.  I mean, I may have to worry about that down the road because obviously Montrezl and Chane have not been putting up good rebounding numbers.

THE MODERATOR:  We have four, five minutes left.  Next question, please.

Q.  Rick, in Hartford when you guys beat UConn, after the game you sort of cited a stat that said when the game is within five points, Boatwright and Napier take 87 percent of the shots.  It shows that there was some statistical analysis that was done.  Can you describe the role of number crunching for you and your staff in prepping for a game?

COACH PITINO:  Well, the dynamics change, like yesterday we had four or five statistical things that we thought we could reach based on the way North Carolina A&T will play.  Tomorrow we’ll have four or five numbers that we must reach in order to beat Colorado State.

If Colorado State dominates the glass and we don’t — there’s not a disparity in turnovers, they win this game.  They have better perimeter shooting, they are better backcourt people.  So we’ve got to win certain things tomorrow or their style is going to win.

So it depends on who we’re playing.  There’s four, five key points in every single basketball game that we have to win four out of five categories to come away with a victory.  We’ll have that for Colorado State, and if we were lucky enough to advance, it would probably be very similar to if St. Louis won to that type.  It would be different if Oregon won.

Q.  When we were growing up, the only conference that had a conference tournament was the ACC.  Now everybody has them.  Yours can be just brutal.  Seems like it hasn’t bothered you guys this year, it’s energized.  Do you like the conference tournament?  It can hurt, it can help.  Do you like them?

COACH PITINO:  I think that’s one of the biggest misconceptions we have.  Coaches are saying when the conference tournaments first started that it wears a team out.  With the TV timeouts today, it’s impossible to be tired, really is.  Now, you saw the way Russ and Peyton played last night.  They weren’t tired at all.  They had a great practice today.

TV timeouts are so long and it’s just — the reason I love to win the tournament is, you got three days or the year before we had four days back to back.  In a 24-hour span, you have to get your guys to focus on the game plan and they have to really concentrate on it and it really helps you come NCAA time when you’re playing a Thursday/Saturday or a Friday/Sunday with very little prep time.  I helps when you play the those three days in a row.  It’s like a dress rehearsal for the real thing.  I love it.  We put great emphasis on that because it really helps your team.

THE MODERATOR:  Time for perhaps two more.

Q.  Coach, I know how much basketball you watch during the season and I know the preparation.  Yesterday and today, do you get to watch a whole lot of others or is it just mostly preparation, and what specifically do you think about like a Harvard, the upset last night kind of thing, and the upsets that do happen on the first couple of days?

COACH PITINO:  Well, to tell you the truth, I didn’t think it was an upset, that’s one.  I really didn’t think.  I thought Harvard would play them tough.  I thought they would be in the game.  You know, yesterday I thought Pittsburgh was going to have a very difficult time with Wichita State.  I thought Marquette would have a difficult time with Davidson.  I knew Temple would play well against NC State today.

Now, if Southern would have beaten Gonzaga, that was a upset.  I really don’t think — everybody is saying that Oregon got — the committee got the seeding wrong with Oregon.  They didn’t get it wrong.  Everybody is just really, really close.  You really have — I was watching something today, it’s easier to hit the lottery than it is to pick a perfect bracket, the percentage-wise.  It really is.

Right now I’ve looked at certain games that I picked somebody else, who did you like?  I like six games I see from a style standpoint and I’m coaching a long time.  You can’t pick these games from 2 to 15.  They’re really, really close.  Harvard is every bit as good.  We’re the Number 1 of Number 1 seeds.  If we played Harvard ten times, we may win six and they may win four.  And we’re the Number 1 of Number 1 seeds.  We’re very close in terms of talent.

Now, there comes a team every now and then where a Duke, us, Carolina, may have four first round draft choices on it, plus they have a great attitude, plus they’re in the upper class, and then you may have a dominant basketball team like a Kentucky had last year.  But there’s very few of those teams that come long.

THE MODERATOR:  I think we got time for one more quick one.

Q.  Rick, follow up on the rebounding question, what was it about the Notre Dame matchup that caused you to play Gorgui and Stephan at the same time?  Why did you wait until then?

COACH PITINO:  Well, we felt — we were playing a lot of zone in that game, and when you play a lot of zone, you can get away with that in terms of foul situations.  You’ve got to be very careful of foul situations, but Stephan also is not going to score many points.  He’s not going to get a lot of points.  He’s going to get it off follow-up dunks.  He’s not going to get it off his jump shot.  If you need points — the thing about Stephan that doesn’t get recorded in statistics, his screening frees up so many people to get points, and you saw that in the Bahamas when Gorgui went down, we don’t lose a whole lot.  We played Duke to the wire and we played really well because of that.

So, even parts of the Missouri game.  We don’t lose a whole lot with Stephan in the game, we’re just not going to get points.

THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.  Thank you, Coach Pitino.  Good luck.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Transcript Friday: Colorado State, Larry Eustachy, Dorian Green, & Pierce Hornung

THE MODERATOR:  Ladies and gentlemen, those of you joining us live here in the Lexington, Kentucky, rep arena, we have the Colorado State University Rams.  Our student-athletes, Dorian Green, wears number 22, and number 4, Pierce Hornung.

Q.  Pierce, selection showed you knew if you beat Missouri you’d have to play No. 1 seed.  Really didn’t think about that at that time.  Now that’s a reality, where are the emotions going through your guys right now in this preparation?

PIERCE HORNUNG:  You know, I think we’re just preparing for it like we prepare for every game this season.  You know, in this tournament there’s no gimme games no matter who you play, you know.  So, you know, you got to beat the best in this tournament because the best teams in the country are here.  We got a tough challenge tomorrow, and we’re just going to prepare like we prepared for every game.

Q.  Dorian, I just kind of want to get your perspective.  They got some good guards in Peyton Siva, Russ Smith.  How do you feel you guys match up against them?

DORIAN GREEN:  We’re confident in ourselves and our abilities.  They’re two really good players.  We’re up for the challenge, and, you know, this is what we came to do, this is what we love to do, and so it’s going to be fun to compete against those two, but they’re really talented, two really good guards.  So us as a backcourt, we’re really looking forward to the challenge.

Q.  Speaking of the guards, the pressure that they put on, how tough is it to simulate in practice, and then how you kind of get yourself through the immense pressure you guys are going to be under?

DORIAN GREEN:  Well, I think we’re going to go through it today — I think for us just got to be disciplined in our press break and run to it perfection every single time and be are crisp with it.  Knowing they’re going to get deflections and pressuring and coming up with steals.  We can’t turn the ball over, I think, and give them easy opportunities.  It comes down to just all five guys being sharp in our press breaking and run with it perfection and being really crisp every single time.

Q.  Either of you guys, how much did you know about your Coach’s sort of back story when he came?  Did you have any trepidation?  What does it mean to you be part of what he called last it night, his personal comeback?

PIERCE HORNUNG:  We knew a little bit.  What we focused on when we heard that Coach was coming to coming to CSU was the success he’s had everywhere he’s been.  You can’t argue with success, and that’s what we looked at.  You know, he was very up-front and honest from the get-go about his past, but all we cared about is the fact that he’s a great coach and early on we bought into what he was telling us and knew that what he was telling us, what he was coaching us, was the right way to play basketball.

DORIAN GREEN:  Yeah, just like Pierce said:  Coach has won every single place he’s been at.  The proof is in what he’s done.  It was easy for us to buy into Coach and our coaching staff and, like I said it’s been a great fit for us.  It’s just been perfect.

Q.  Dorian, Coach Pitino said if you guys dominate the glass again like you did last night and Louisville doesn’t have its usual huge edge in turnovers that you guys will have a good chance to win.  Is that the formula that you guys think will be able to pull off the upset?

DORIAN GREEN:  Our formula is the same for us every single game.  We’re not changing anything.  I think what we need to do is we got to rebound.  That’s what we’ve preached from day one.  So I think that for us to do the same thing that we’ve done every single game and aim to do every single game.  We definitely can’t turn the ball over and let them get easy buckets in transition.  Hang the pressure and just being aggressive, attack, and going and getting the missed shots will be huge.  For us, it’s the same game plan we’ve had for the majority of the year.  We have to do it the best we’ve done so far.

Q.  Is there a defense that you think compares anywhere close to this Louisville pressure that you guys have faced?

DORIAN GREEN:  I think when Lon Kruger was at UNVL, kind of similar to the run and jump to Pressey for 40 minutes.  That’s the closest that we’ve seen from a Louisville — it might be a little different.  I don’t really know, but we’ve had some experience with that against Coach Kruger when he was at UNLV.  Something similar to that.

Q.  For each of you, if you guys win this game, will you consider it an upset or do you expect to win?

PIERCE HORNUNG:  You know, we’re going into this game expecting to win.  You know, you’re not going to be successful in this tournament any other way.  So, we got a bunch of guys that are confident in ourselves and our abilities, and so that’s the mentality you have to go into any game if you expect to win.

DORIAN GREEN:  Like Pierce said, we’re a confident team, but we also understand our opponent.  We respect our opponent, but we feel like we’re one of the best teams in the country and we believe in ourselves.  If we play well, we know that we can beat anybody in the country.  We just have to go out there and do it.  It’s a great challenge for us.  We understand what kind team they are and what they bring to the table.  So, like I said, we’re up for the challenge and it’s going to be a dogfight for 40 minutes.

Q.  You won your first NCAA Tournament game in 24 years, first post season game for you guys.  Do you feel like the season has been a success now, or do you guys still have to do more?

DORIAN GREEN:  It’s hard the say right now.  We want to keep playing, so right now we’re in the moment.  We’ll look back on that in five, ten years or whatever, but we still feel like we’ve got a lot of basketball to play, and to do that, we’ve got to come out and beat Louisville tomorrow.

Yeah, we’ve done something that we’ve never done, but now we need to build on it.  We can’t be happy or complacent that we’ve won one game.  We expected to win against Missouri.  Now it’s just to continue that and not get complacent with where we’re at right now.

THE MODERATOR:  Anything else to add, Pierce, on that?


Q.  For either of you, you guys talk about the magnitude of this game for the program and where it is for you guys in your personal careers.

PIERCE HORNUNG:  It would be a huge win.  Any win in the NCAA Tournament is huge.  Like I said, every one’s a great team.  Great teams — you got to be a great team to be in this tournament — so, you know, to get any win.  But Louisville is a great team and we know that and, yeah, it would be a tremendous win.  But like Dorian said, we got a lot — we think we’ve got a lot of basketball left to play.

Q.  Dorian, last night you were saying that this coach brought just the ingredient that you needed.  Can you just elaborate on that, what was that ingredient, what did he bring in?

DORIAN GREEN:  Coach brings, you know, a big sense of toughness, both physically and mentally.  So they push us from day one to be tougher, to win games on the road.  We were pretty poor on the road last year, and so we’ve made strides to turn that around this year, and I think just defensively we’re way better than we were last year.

Obviously rebounding the ball, you know, we’re one of the best in the country at doing that and Coach brings out defense and rebounding and just the sense of toughness.  It’s made us way better than we were last year.

Q.  Could you guys just talk about the evolution of Jon Octeus over the course of the season and how much better is he now than at the start?

DORIAN GREEN:  Jon has been huge for us.  We don’t win a lot of games that we’ve won without him.  That could be said about him, Gerson, DB, Joe, everybody on our team has a role.  And so our guys off the bench have been great with their energy and their support and just their attitudes.  And so Jon has gotten better every single game.  I think it’s just come with the experience, and he provides us with a lot of, you know, energy, great lift, and defensively he’s been great rebounding.  So you can’t say enough about him and those guys off the bench.  They don’t get as much credit as they deserve because we don’t win a lot of our games without them and what they brought to the table and just the way they play.  Starting with him and everybody else, they’re huge to the success of our team.

THE MODERATOR:  Pierce, any thoughts?

PIERCE HORNUNG:  Yeah.  Their attitude on the bench has been great this year.  It’s a tough role not knowing how much you’re going to play game in and game out, but to have the attitude to when your name is called to go in there and provide great minutes off the bench, I can’t say enough about them.

Jon, he’s just done a great job when Dorian was hurt, stepping in and playing huge.  He’s a great defender.  A lot of games this year, he shut down the other guy’s better perimeter player.  Especially with Jesse Carr not being able to play this year and Jon stepping into that role, he’s just done a tremendous job.

Q.  Everybody wants to rebound.  You guys obviously do it better than most.  Is it a mentality, do you do drills, how did this come to be?

DORIAN GREEN:  Coach has talked about rebounding since he has been here, since he got the job and how he’s going to make us one of the best rebounding teams in the country.  Coach always says you get what you put into it.  You know, we take a lot of pride in rebounding.  We do drills every single day about rebounding and blocking out and just being more physical.

It comes with — now it’s just natural to us, I think to the point where we’re done it so much in practice, we’re used to it.  We can always do better.  It’s a mentality and just our approach to it and just putting a lot of thought into what we’re doing.  You got to ask Pierce because he’s the one doing most of the rebounding.

PIERCE HORNUNG:  Yeah.  I’d say — I imagine we practice it as much, if not more, than everyone in the country.  It’s what Coach emphasizes, what we spend the majority of our practice on, and I think what you emphasize in practice what you get in the games.  And so I think just as a team, the drills we do and the way we practice, is really conducive to getting that on the floor.

Q.  For you Pierce, is offensive rebounding a different skill altogether from defensive rebounding?

PIERCE HORNUNG:  I’d say so.  Defense is blocking out and keeping your guy off the glass.  Offense is just getting your shoulder by and being relentless and having that mentality to just go after it every single time.  The discipline when that shot goes up get your shoulder by and put yourself in a good position to get the rebound, I think it is a different skill.

Q.  Do y’all question what the NCAA Tournament selection committee has against you?  Last year they send you to Louisville, you’re playing against Murray and you had all those Kentucky fans in there, pulling against you.  Now you’re in Lexington playing against Louisville.  Do you kind of embrace the environment you’re going to be walking into tomorrow?

DORIAN GREEN:  It is what it is.  It’s out of our control. We can’t pick where we’re going to be seeded.  We can have our own opinions about it.  That was over with Sunday when we were the second team that was — the second game that was showed.

For us, I think it’s a great atmosphere.  You know, that’s what you want in college basketball is a packed house and everybody rooting against you.  So it’s going to be a great environment and a great atmosphere, something we have to kind of relish and want to be successful in.  That’s what college basketball is all about, and it’s a great opportunity and a great challenge for us to play Louisville in Kentucky.

THE MODERATOR:  Pierce, any thoughts from you?

PIERCE HORNUNG:  Yeah.  I mean, I think our schedule this season playing in the Mountain West, there was a lot of big venues, big packed venues and we’re used to it.  We’re used to seeing a sea of red.  You go to the Pitt in Albuquerque, you go to Thomas Mack, that’s all it is, just a sea of red.  We watched the game last night before.  It was a sea of red, that’s for sure.  What a great opportunity to come back to Kentucky and get another chance to prove ourselves in this tournament.  We love being out here.

THE MODERATOR:  Have time for one or two more questions for the student-athletes.  Anyone else?

Q.  Having a veteran like Coach Eustachy, how does that help prepare you guys for facing a Number 1 team?  He’s been against a lot top five programs himself?

DORIAN GREEN:  Coach has been here and done it.  His experience and his knowledge is key, and, you know, having somebody that’s leading you, that’s been through it is great for us.  For us, we just have to listen to what he says and follow his lead and then apply it to our game.

And so Coach’s experience has been great.  He’s been in this situation a lot, and he’s done this before.  So for us to feed off him and take what he has to say and to apply it into our game and just be ready to play Louisville.

THE MODERATOR:  One back here.  One more after this one.

Q.  Pierce, the couple days off that Coach gave you guys after the Mountain West tournament really seemed to rejuvenate you guys.  Now you have to turn around pretty quickly and play tomorrow.  How are you guys feeling physically entering tomorrow’s game?

PIERCE HORNUNG:  We feel great.  We get a day off in between, use this day to heal up a little bit, Dorian is more healthy, and you can see he was limping little bit during the game yesterday, but, we’ll take the opportunity today and rehash some things and we’ll be fresh tomorrow.  We’ll be ready to go, you know.  It’s tough not to have the adrenaline to get up and go on for the NCAA Tournament.  We’ll be ready as a team.

THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Time for one more question.  All right.  Thank you, Pierce, thank you, Dorian.  Thank you ladies and gentlemen.

Ladies and gentlemen, those of you joining us here live in Lexington, Kentucky, at Rupp Arena, thank you.  And those joining us via satellite, this is our final media session of the afternoon Head Coach Larry Eustachy, Colorado State University Rams.

Q.  Larry, because of the number of bids your conference got and its previous post season history, there was going to be a lot of attention to how Mountain West teams did this year.  After yesterday you were the only team that had a good day, so to speak, in your league.  Is it fair to measure a league based on what individual members do in this tournament?

COACH EUSTACHY:  I don’t think it’s fair, but I think it’s reality.  I just think that’s what it is, you know.  You’re judged by — I mean, look at New Mexico, they won the league, won the tournament, and now in a lot of fans’ eyes, they had a bad year.  And it’s not fair, but it’s again reality.  That’s what it is.

Q.  Given your relationship with Tom Jurich and the fact that seems like there was at least some chance you could have ended up being Louisville’s coach at one point, what is this, as you called it last night, the fact that you’re on this step of your personal comeback and this is where you are and who you’re playing, what does that mean to you and does it mean something extra?

COACH EUSTACHY:  I saw Tom and I saw Mark, his son, who now works in the department and — Tom and I went to high school together.  So to say it isn’t special or different, it’s unique and it’s fun, you know.  No added pressure or less pressure, it’s just — it’s fun.  I have a lot of respect for Rick.  Nobody is playing better in the country than Louisville and we welcome it.  We welcome it.

So, it’s got a little twist to it, yeah, it does.  That’s kind of neat.

Q.  Larry, just what’s Colton Iverson meant to your team this year and how would you judge the development he’s made during the course of this season?

COACH EUSTACHY:  Well, he’s as improved a player that we’ve had and one of the most improved that I’ve had in my career.  If we were in December, we’d start working on him facing up and shooting the 12, 15 footer, which he can really make right now, but he just — he’s just not real confident with it.

If you see him get in that position 12 feet from the basket, he immediately turns his back and starts to work a guy down.  I think that’s what NBA player, coaches are going to be surprised.  They mess around, you been there in practice, he shoots 3s in practice and makes them.

So he’s got — there’s just another level that he can take it at.  But, you don’t — it’s all because of him.  His improvement has been as good as anybody on this team, and it’s because you do not find a guy that big that is playing because he likes to play.  It’s rare.  They usually play because they’re that tall.  He would play if he was 5-11.  So he likes working at it and likes to compete.

That’s what bothers me so much is when he’s eliminated with these touch fouls and — whether they’re fouls or not, he’s not been able to enjoy a full performance in a long time because he’s always seems to be hindered by fouls.

Q.  Coach, how difficult is it to prepare for the pressure that Louisville is going show you guys and what has made them so full in getting the deflections doing everything that they do to such a high level?

COACH EUSTACHY:  Obviously you’re at best at what you practice.  So, if they practice that way, probably more than anybody in the country, I would imagine, this is an educated guess, you know, they — not a lot of teams chart deflections, and they — that’s important to them.  I think it’s a different way to play.

You know, we can’t be on our heels or we’ll have no chance.  There’s just so many turnovers we can’t have and then we eliminate ourselves because the turnover, they keep it in play and they convert almost 40 percent of them.  So, we have to be strong with the ball and, you know, from an officiating standpoint, you know, they grab, they reach and it becomes so common, you know, and I have no problem with it, but we just have to be men and be strong with it and not let them jar loose from us because we’re going to get it for 40 minutes.  And I think we’re prepared for it, but we’ll see.

Q.  One of your guys in the locker room said that this is a team of castoffs and misfits and that he said it’s written in the stars that a guy who had sort of been through what you have and scratched his way back would come to them and be — become their leader.

Is that how you feel?  Is this a team of kindred spirits?

COACH EUSTACHY:  Well, you know, like I said, I think, yesterday, my dad sold cars and I wasn’t — I got cut from a Division II team in college.  So, I’ve played about every role on a team, and I think that’s helped me in coaching.  I haven’t had a golden path, you know, I had to wait tables to be a GA starting at Mississippi State.  So I get these guys, I get — and they get me.  I haven’t had just, like I say, a yellow brick road to success, even if I’ve had any success, I have to be judged by others.

But, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, and I said it yesterday, at difficult jobs.  I’ve never been at the best job in a certain league.  So, we’ve got a bunch of guys that have faced adversity and kind of all come together, and it would be disappointing if we don’t leave our best on the court, whether it’s a win or a loss.  But we expect to win.

Q.  Coach, is there any message you can give your guys to get them ready and prepared for a Number 1 team?

COACH EUSTACHY:  Well, yeah, I think it’s opportunity.  When are you ever going to get this opportunity again.  You couldn’t ask for anything better.  You know, everybody was all upset when we were at the Sunday for the announcements of the brackets, and I thought it was perfect, you know, because we’re playing a great Missouri team.  And if we could get through that, we get to play the best team in the country.  If you’re competitive, that’s what you want to do, you want to go against the best and see where you stack up.

So, it was a great draw.  As it turned out, we won and now we’ll have no excuses.  We get to go toe to toe with the best team in the country.  And I don’t think we’ll back down.  I just hope we don’t get caught up in — we’re not a great play-making team.  We’re not a great passing team.  So, it’s not a good matchup for us that way.  We’re going to have to play above ourselves in that area as far as taking care of the ball and play making to get it done.

Q.  It’s obvious, Coach, why Louisville would get your attention when the brackets came out.  Coach Pitino was just out here a few minutes ago.  He said Colorado State got his attention when the brackets came out and that he considered you one of about eight teams that he thought was very dangerous in the tournament this year.  Do you believe that?

COACH EUSTACHY:  Well, I think we’re a team that the way we play, you know, I’ve said this from day one, that we’re built for this type of play, this tournament play, you know.  If we’re playing right, which we didn’t a lot last night, we’re getting back, we’re protecting the basket, we’re limiting teams to one shot, we’re not giving up easy shots, we’re coming down, we’re not taking bad shots, we’re not turning it over, hopefully.

So I think we’re hard to play against, you know, in my opinion, and that’s why we play that way.  It’s the hardest way to play.  Louisville plays the whole floor and so do we.  We play — that’s how big the court is, let’s play the whole thing, whether it’s a loose ball going to the corner or whether they’re trying to trap us.

So, I think both teams play differently but at the same level of effort, and that’s a compliment to our guys.

Q.  Larry, as a follow-up to that, do you have a list of dangerous teams and would Louisville qualify for it?

COACH EUSTACHY:  You know, I don’t.  I’m not like Seth Greenberg.  I thought it was an omen for us when it was NCIS marathon yesterday, because I don’t watch college basketball and I really don’t know — I couldn’t tell you who started for Louisville until this morning or who the players were.

So, you know, when I’m done coaching, I try to channel my energy into different things.  I really mean that.  NCIS is my favorite show.  It’s changed from Law and Order.  When that was on, I told my wife, this is an omen.

Now, Seth Greenberg, who is a great friend, married a girl from my high school, he loves it.  He could tell you — he could talk about it forever, like eight teams, he would go to 16.  He would know all about it.  I’m just different.  I’m just not — not different, it’s not my way.  I don’t know.  I do know that this is capped as the best team in the country and we love challenges and we’ve been underrated all year as far as picked 5th in a lot of magazines and could have won the league.  We welcome it.

Q.  Larry, I just wanted to ask you a follow-up with Iverson.  Given that he was limited to 25 minutes because of the foul issues, what can you say about the fact that he still pulled down 13 rebounds in that limited time?

COACH EUSTACHY:  That’s who he is.  Like I say — he will play in the NBA for as long as wants to.  What I loved about it, he didn’t get frustrated.  He was getting to the point.  He’s got a temper and he couldn’t — he can lose it, but that’s what you love about him.  You don’t want to wind him up.  You want to wind him down.  You got to wind down Colton every now and then.

I thought he handled the adversity of the fouling really well and in that limited — I didn’t think he played that many minutes, but 13 rebounds.  If he plays the whole game, in theory, he gets 20-plus, so very impressive.

Q.  Going back to the turnovers, Coach, you guys have been one of the best teams in the country at not giving it away.  Has that just been a result of having experienced guys like Dorian and Wes have the ball in their hands?

COACH EUSTACHY:  See, I didn’t know that, I really — I don’t even know my own team in some areas stat wise.  I know we emphasize it and we ran — we get in shape through turnovers.  Early in the year, every time we turn it over, we run a 30-second line drill.  So that’s the way we get in shape.  We make an emphasis of it.

Possessions, that’s why we’re so big into rebounding, those are possessions.  So, that’s great to hear, but I think we’re going to get tested beyond our — beyond what we’ve ever seen all year long, and we have to get our game on to this court and try to take them out of their game.  So, it’s pretty simple.

Q.  Last night were you telling us about some high profile people that you’ve had the benefit of being around, like Jerry Sloan and Merlon Olsen.  When did you cross paths with them and what qualities do you see in them that help you?

COACH EUSTACHY:  Well, Merlin Olsen played at Utah State and I coached at Utah State, so I had the absolutely honor and pleasure of getting to know him a little bit.  He would talk about, you know, the Fearsome Foursome and how — and I grew up in L.A. and the smog — and how they would go through the preseason and three-a-days and how he’d go down to one knee and close his eyes and think about Logan, Utah, and fly fishing and that was the only way he got through the grueling practices.  That’s when you couldn’t have water.  You weren’t allowed to have water during — can you imagine that?

He only missed three games from junior high to his final career.

Jerry Sloan, you know, I got to know him again in Utah when he was an assistant for Frank Layden.  I’ll never forget.  He said, the body can take a lot of pain, it’s just how much can you take, you know, how much can you really give it, how much can you handle.  And he was the ultimate, wasn’t he, of it?

So, you know, I study guys like that.  They’re special and their stories.  I told the guys you know, do you know who Merlin Olsen is?  Our guys looked at each other like, so?

I told Pierce Hornung, your dad played football.  See if he’s ever heard of Merlin Olsen.  He got an earful from his dad.  His dad was quite upset he didn’t know who Merlin was.  We’re getting a little old.  I’ve been around great people like that.  It’s been kind of neat.

THE MODERATOR:  On or two more, anybody else?

Q.  Could you just talk about what Jon Octeus and his evolution over the course of season, how much better he is now.

COACH EUSTACHY:  We’re not sitting here if it’s not for Jon.  The best play we’ve had all year was when he stayed down and just — and put his long arms up and actually took the ball from Pressey last night.  Jesse car goes down and we’re in a lot of trouble if we don’t have Jon.  So, Jon — Jon snatched the opportunity with Jesse going down.  And I think we have — like Joe would be the same way had Wes gone down.  I think Joe is in the same category.  Gerson would be the same way if Colt had gone down.  They’re all in the same category.

Jon just has had the opportunity.  Without opportunity, you couldn’t have the situation that he’s been in, but he’s priceless.  He’s just a sophomore.  He’s going to be special for us.  Like I say, everybody thinks we’re going to fall off the map next year.  I don’t think so.  I think we’re going to be pretty good.


Q.  Will you watch the NCAA Tournament tonight or the NCIS marathon?

COACH EUSTACHY:  Is it on?  (Laughter).  I’ll watch the NCIS marathon.  Honestly, I will.  I’m not — on my mother’s grave, I will watch it.  I just — that’s just who I am.  So, Gibbs is my guy, Gibbs, okay?

THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

TEAM STATS: Louisville vs. Colorado State, Round of 32

Louisville Colorado State
Strength of Schedule 5th 36th
Points Per Game 73.6 (31st) 72.3 (53rd)
Avg Scoring Margin +15.6 (4th) +8.7 (35th)
Field Goal % 44.5% (93rd) 44.3% (105th)
Rebound Rate 52.6% (60th) 58.7% (1st)
Blocks Per Game 4.2 (78th) 1.8 (326th)
Steals Per Game 10.7 (2nd) 4.6 (330th)
Assists Per Game 15.0 (26th) 12.8 (145th)
Turnovers Per Game 12.6 (112th) 10.7 (10th)
Team Fouls Per Game 17.7 (179th) 17.0 (109th)
2-point FG% 49.5% (85th) 48.4% (136th)
3-point FG% 33.1 (208th) 33.4% (191st)
Free Throw % 71.1% (117th) 70.9% (126th)
Opponent Shooting % 38.8% (16th) 41.8% (114th)
Opponent 2-point FG% 42.7% (27th) 46.6% (135th)
Opponent 3-point FG% 31.2% (49th) 33.9% (172nd)
Opponent Block Per Game 3.5 (187th) 3.3 (141st)
Opponent Steals Per Game 5.8 (65th) 5.0 (11th)