Cards Comeback Beat Wichita State 72-68, Will Play For National Championship

Louisville Transcript 4-6-2013

Louisville – 72
Wichita – 68

THE MODERATOR:  We’re joined by Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and student‑athletes.  We’ll start with an opening comment from Coach Pitino.
COACH PITINO:  Well, last year we played the No.1 RPI schedule in the nation, and this year we played a top‑five schedule.  I don’t think we could face a basketball team any better than Wichita State.  They are great.
Something different has happened to me this year than ever happened before.  In a tournament, I went against three coaches, after watching 10 to 12 films, I just thought they were tremendous.  I never really coached against them.  Just awesome, awesome coaches.
It’s tough for Wichita State to lose this game tonight because they played great.  We had to dig in.  Russ had a good night, Russ is our best free throw shooter, but four of our starters had the worst night of the season.  We had to win this game with our second unit of Steven Van Treese, Tim Henderson, one of the best sixth men in basketball Luke Hancock, and Montrezl Harrell.  The reason our starters played poorly is because Wichita State is that good.  So we’re really happy to be playing in the final game.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  About Luke, what have the last two games shown the world about his poise in tough situations, to stay there in the last game with Kevin and now tonight? 
PEYTON SIVA:  Luke’s an excellent player and an excellent person.  He didn’t get named team captain for nothing before he even played a game with us.
He showed his leadership out there tonight.  He showed his leadership when Kevin got injured.  He’s an all‑around great player and person.  Tonight he showed the world what he’s capable of doing.  He picked and chose his spots.  He knocked down countless big threes for us.  He played an all‑around terrific game.
RUSS SMITH:  If you watch Luke in practice, you wouldn’t be too surprised.  He really like hoops in practice.  I’m so happy for him, man.  I’m thankful that I have a guy like that on our team, you know, a leader, a guy who can step up in the big situations, a guy who can keep the team together, and he does it coming off the bench.
He always had his head in the game.  He’s just a tremendous person and I’m very grateful to be on a team with him.

Q.  Peyton, do you think the depth perception of playing in the dome affected your jump shots?
PEYTON SIVA:  Well, in my layup also.  I couldn’t really see, it was too far away (smiling).
It was just one of those nights, to be honest.  Nothing was going right.  It was other people’s nights tonight.  Tim Henderson stepped up big coming off the bench, Luke stepped up big coming off the bench also.
For me, I just wanted to win.  That’s all that mattered to me, whether my shot was going in or not, whether the depth perception of my layup was closer than it was.  As long as we won, I was fine with the way everything panned out.

Q.  When you’re behind by 12 points, I know you faced deficits before, but you’re in a game, high‑profile game with a good team, was there concern? 
PEYTON SIVA:  Well, we weren’t too concerned with it.  We know Wichita State is a great team, well‑coached team.  Their players are really talented.
We just knew that we had to stick together.  Coach P told us we had to continue to go out there and have fun.  We’re going to win, we’re going to win.  That’s what he kept repeating to us.  We believed it.  We known we came back from other deficits.  He told us to stop hanging our head, he knew this was going to be a dogfight from the beginning.
We made our run late.  That’s the trademark of our team.  We got to continue to push and push.  We made a good run at the end.
RUSS SMITH:  Well, I feel like when it went to 12, I looked at it and the time kept going down, people kept getting fouled.  It was like, Man.  I was actually waiting for our run.  And it happened.  Luke exploded.  That was actually what I was waiting for.  Then Chane exploded.  Then Peyton made a big layup.  Then Tim Henderson.  It just kept going and going.
Obviously I knew it wasn’t my night.  But I was just so happy to see everyone else contributing for us to win.  It was so special.  I really can’t put into any words for us.
LUKE HANCOCK:  I think they both said it great.  You know, we were kind of waiting to make our run.  Obviously you’re a little concerned when you’re down 12 in the second half.  We just had to stay together, make our run.  We tried to turn up our intensity, maybe gamble a little bit more.  We made our runs with some key players.
Tim hit those shots, Chane picked it up.  It was impressive.

Q.  Luke, can you talk about the Zone Busters.  Tim said you call yourself that in practice.  Who came up with that? 
LUKE HANCOCK:  I really have no idea where that came from.  When we prepare for teams that play zone, both teams run zone.  Tim and I, we feel like we’re pretty good shooters.  I guess that’s where it came from, just knocking down shots in the zone in practice.
Tim hits shots all the time.  It wasn’t shocking for us for him to knock down shots like that.  I’m just really happy for him and proud of him.

Q.  Peyton and Luke, in your locker room, Kevin was saying at the second media timeout of the second half, I don’t know if it was like the pain meds got to him or what, but he hopped onto the court and joined you in the huddle. 
PEYTON SIVA:  Yeah, he joined the back of the huddle.

Q.  What was that like to have him do that? 
PEYTON SIVA:  I thought he was about to sub in for me, I’m so used to it.  He caught me off guard.
Just showed a lot of heart that he really came out there.  He just wanted to tell us that we needed to pick it up.
He’s part of this team.  We know how much it would mean for him to be out there.  He just tried to give us whatever we needed, the extra motivation, the extra boost to get over the hump.  That’s what he did.
After the timeout broke, it was a 30‑second timeout, just trying to make sure that nobody ran him over because he still has a bum leg.
LUKE HANCOCK:  Like he said, Kevin is a huge part of our teams, one of the emotional leaders out there.  I guess he felt like he had to tell us something to get us going.  He does it when he’s out there on the court.  He’s going to keep doing it when he’s not on the court.  He’s an emotional leader for this team.

Q.  Peyton and Luke, you both talked about you were waiting for the run.  When Tim hit the back‑to‑back threes like that, was there a sense that, This is it? 
PEYTON SIVA:  For me, I was on the bench.  I know Tim had it in him.  When he got in the game and hit that first three, I was just ecstatic for him.  Then the next one, hit it again‑‑ first one he missed, Luke told him to keep shooting it, don’t worry, we know you can shoot.
He hit those two threes.  It was really big.  I’m proud of him.  He’s put in the hard work all year.  This was the time that he finally got to show it.  He made up for hitting off the side of the backboard in Madison Square Garden (laughter).
LUKE HANCOCK:  Like I say, we’re really happy for Tim hitting those shots.  We kind of knew that was going to be our time.  Tim has to guard Russ every day in practice.  A lot of times it’s not pretty.  Russ kind of has his way with things.
If you guard a guy like that every day, you’re going to get better, be a great defender.  Once he hit those shots, I knew this was it, we were going to make our run now or it wasn’t going to happen.

Q.  Luke, you’ve hit big shots in the NCAAs before.  Is there a calmness that you have to have in that moment where you know that one shot might tip the scales on the other end?
LUKE HANCOCK:  You go out there and play like it’s any other game.  You try to have confidence shooting the ball.  I just shot it when I was open.  I got a bunch of great feeds from Russ and Peyton.  It’s all on them for finding me with open looks.
But you just try to play like any other game and shoot it if you’re open.

Q.  Luke, you visibly were praying for Kevin last week on the court.  He said in the locker room that he was praying for you to make those free throws with eight seconds left.  Could you talk about what that means. 
LUKE HANCOCK:  I mean, that’s huge.  Like I said, Kevin’s a big part of this team.  We’d love for him to be out there.  He’s out there in spirit.  It means a lot.  It means a lot.  Kevin’s my guy.

Q.  Luke, Kevin said you sort of showed these last two weeks your poise in pressure situations.  Where does that come from for you? 
LUKE HANCOCK:  I mean, I’m a lot older than these guys.  You know, just being around, I guess, playing.  Poise in Kevin’s situation is totally different than poise in a game.  My first reaction was to just go out there.
But, you know, in the game, you just try to treat it like any other game, Just try to go out there and play.  If you’re open, shoot it, if you’re not, drive it and pass it to another guy.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you very much.  We’ll continue with questions for Coach Pitino.

Q.  Rick, can you go into that second unit a little bit more.  Seemed like an unlikely lineup on the floor. 
COACH PITINO:  A lot of times when you pick up a stat sheet, you don’t get the true story.  Like Steven Van Treese was the guy setting those great screens to free Luke on those drives, and Gorgui wasn’t doing that.  So a lot of times you pick up a stat sheet and say, What did Van Treese contribute?  It’s like the hockey assist, he contributed greatly.
When Kevin went down, everybody was asking, the first inclination is to try to play Luke at the 2.  We had confidence in Tim.  Luke is so profound because he’s got to go against Russ Smith every day.  When you do that, you got to guard the best offensive player off the bounce each day, you’re prepared to play in a game like this.
And the players said they weren’t surprised about him making those back‑to‑back threes.  They’re being very kind.  I was shocked.  Not shocked that he made ‘em, just that he had the gumption to take them, then take it again.  That’s pretty darn big on this stage.  That shows incredible fortitude for a young man that hasn’t played any minutes, to go in and do that.  So I’m real proud of him.

Q.  In the second half, Wichita State takes the 12‑point lead.  Did any thoughts of doubt creep in your mind that maybe this was the end of the line?
COACH PITINO:  First, you’re elated when you win, so excited to be in a championship game.  But there’s always a part of you that looks at the other team and says, They played their hearts out, they were superb, and they lost.  So there’s always that part of you that really wants a win, but you appreciate so much your opponent.
No, I never think we’re going to lose.  I mean, not since being down 31 points with 15 minutes to go on Fat Tuesday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  I never thought we would lose again when we’re down.  That doesn’t mean we’re going to win, we have lost.
But that’s the attitude, just pressing teams, have to stay in there.  We were fouling too much.  But then we started making some steals, picking up the heat.  Then, of course, the guys were brilliant.

Q.  Rick, when a guy like Luke can make a shot like that in a big situation, you’ve been around basketball teams enough, do you get the sense other guys on the floor know when that shot’s going to come, where to get it to in that situation?
COACH PITINO:  Well, we worked all week.  This team, if you look at what they’ve done in the tournament, they do not give you the paint.  They play the paint better than any team I’ve seen in a long, long time.
So you have to drive the paint and get it to the wing.  That’s the only shot they give you.  We not only did that well, getting it to the corners and the wings, but we also hesitated.  Luke is great at the hesitation pass to the corner and then explode to the rim for layups.
This is a young man that Fred Hina said to me, our trainer, Coach, I’ve been around so many baseball injuries, trainer for the Mets for 11 years, Luke’s separated shoulder was a bad one.  The second one, I’ve never seen so much damage in my life.  The doctor said it was the worst shoulder he ever operated on.
That man, in the beginning of the year, it took him a half hour of warmups just to lift his arm above his shoulder.  I said, Is he going to play this year?
He said, No one but Luke will play.  Toughest kid I’ve ever seen since I’ve been a trainer.
He’s a remarkable young man.

Q.  You’ve been around a long time.  You said something in your opening statement that you went against three coaches where on film it jumped out at you.  How long does it take film running?  How often does that happen for a coach?
COACH PITINO:  Because I haven’t coached against any of those guys, I’ve coached‑‑ because I’ve been around, I’ve coached against Dean Smith, coached against Frank McGuire’s last game.  I’ve coached against so many great guys and always left and said, Man, these guys are really good.
The first coach of North Carolina A&T, I said, I haven’t seen anybody get that much out of a team as that man gets.  Then the next three coaches had equal talent to us in many areas.  I was so blown away at how good they are at their profession, the way their teams play.
Colorado State, Oregon, and now tonight.  I’ve never competed against these guys.  Not that they need my respect, but they’re three of the better coaches I’ve watched on film for a long, long time from a fundamental standpoint.
We’re one of the better pressing teams in the country.  They had four turnovers.  We were giving them everything but the kitchen sink, and they wouldn’t turn it over.  The flipside, they did a very good job with Peyton in getting him to shoot a low percentage.  So he’s a terrific coach, terrific.

Q.  On the press and turnovers, they went 26 minutes without turning the ball over, then a flurry.  Did you change anything on your press?
COACH PITINO:  We just made some adjustments and said, We’re going to rotate a little bit differently.  What happens in the press, if you play an extremely well‑coached team, you may have one run per game.  If you’re going against guys that are freshmen, not great ball handlers, then you may have three or four runs.
But we had an extended run there and they don’t turn it over.  The only mistakes we were making, we were fouling, and you can’t foul.

Q.  Can you talk about what you saw of Luke early that convinced you he could play?  Could you put into words what his impact was tonight. 
COACH PITINO:  Well, if you said to me, Is Luke top three player on the team?
I would say, Without question.
Then you may say, Why doesn’t he start?
We don’t want to get him in foul trouble.  We want him to play as many minutes as possible because he’s the best passer, the clutchest shooter and free throw shooter, and one of the smartest players to know what to do in crucial situations.  So we bring him off the bench because we want to get extended minutes.
There’s no questions that all of you can see he’s one of the better players on our team.  He just gave us a tremendous lift tonight.

Q.  What will you do between now and Monday night to prepare?  How will your preparations be affected by or dependent on who you’re going to play Monday night?
COACH PITINO:  Well, we don’t have to prepare too much if we play Syracuse.  Certainly we got a lot of preparation if we play Michigan.  We know Syracuse really well.
So one of the key things right now when you’re a pressing team is that you stretch, get a nice walk‑through, but don’t use up your legs.
And we had to work really, really hard tonight.  That was a great basketball team we beat.
But I watched 10 or 12 films.  When you watch Ohio State, LaSalle, all these teams down 20, they can’t score against this team, we knew it going in.  I just kept telling our guys, Look, guys, this is a dogfight tonight.  It’s not an offensive game like Duke.  It’s a dogfight.  You got to win the fight.  It’s as simple as that.  They’re going to make some of you guys have a tough night.  You got to be mentally tough enough to get through that, and they were.

Q.  You lost the rebounding battle.  Can you talk about Chane and Cleanthony Early on the glass particularly. 
COACH PITINO:  He was great down the stretch.  Chane’s hands sometimes come into play where he doesn’t come up with the ball.  But he was big inside tonight.
More than that, I was so pleased that he wanted the ball.  In crucial situations, he made the free throws and he wanted the ball.  That to me showed me an awful lot.  He has a great deal of pride in himself and he wanted the ball, made his free throws.
He came up big for us.

Q.  For those of us who don’t follow your team regularly, can you explain why you made Luke a co‑captain before he ever stepped on the court. 
COACH PITINO:  Well, it’s a long conversation I had with Jim Larranaga and the assistant coach about him.  They sort of filled me in on what he was all about.  We tried to get Luke to improve defensively, and he has.
The players in the summertime decide what they want to do as workouts.  We don’t have anything organized.  They want to lift, get it over with at 6:15 in the morning.  They’re really into weight training.
Rakeem and Russ, two of our better players, showed up late.  Remember now, they’re just seeing Luke really for the first time.  They knew him a little bit.  Luke said, That stuff is not going to cut it here at Louisville.
Right away you think some guys would answer back, Who are you to say that?  They immediately said, It’s our bad, it won’t happen again.
It was repeated to me.  For the rest of the summer, everybody kept telling me from training and strength coach what Luke was all about.  I named him captain right away.  He has the maturity, he has that Louisville‑first attitude.  It’s all about the team with him.  He’s one of the better leaders I’ve been around.
It showed you when Kevin got hurt, he immediately went to pray over him, immediately took charge of the situation.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you very much, coach.
COACH PITINO:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Wichita State Transcript 4-6-2013


Louisville – 72
Wichita – 68
THE MODERATOR:  We’re joined by Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall and student‑athletes.  We’ll ask Coach Marshall to begin with an opening statement.
COACH MARSHALL:  I want to congratulate Louisville on winning today and making the plays when they needed to to secure victory.  And I want to thank the gentlemen to my left and everyone else in my locker room for taking us on one incredible ride.
I think they’ve gained fans, support and love across the world, and they certainly proved that not only do they belong, but they can play with the best.
THE MODERATOR:  We’ll now take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Ron, what did you make of the tie‑up late in the game? 
RON BAKER:  The tie‑up?

Q.  The held ball. 
RON BAKER:  I was forced to dribble the ball because I lost my balance.  I thought the ball was loose before the whistle was blown.  I tapped it to Malcolm.  They already called jump ball, so…
That’s what I was trying to lean for.

Q.  Can you talk about the six turnovers late in the game during the crucial point where the Cardinals were coming back. 
MALCOLM ARMSTEAD:  You know, down the stretch, you know, we just was loose with the ball.  We just didn’t take care of it.  Pretty much you said it when you said the turnovers down the stretch.  I can’t give you an explanation.  It just happened.

Q.  Cleanthony, can you kind of balance the emotions of playing one of your better games and coming up short at the end. 
CLEANTHONY EARLY:  It’s just mixed emotions of feelings.  It hurts to have to lose, it be the end of your season.
But these guys fought till the end.  We had a great season.  We have to keep our heads high and know that the grind doesn’t stop.  We’re always invested in getting better.  At the end of the day, we have to keep working and top our O‑highs.

Q.  Ron, can you describe their pressure.  Wears away at you and keeps the pressure on. 
RON BAKER:  Yeah, first you get used to it and then they increase the intensity of their pressure.  It kind of hits you in waves sort of.  Towards the end of the game, it kind of took over.
We fought, but came up a couple plays short in the end.

Q.  Cleanthony, you guys got the 12‑point lead in the second half.  The kid, Henderson, who was probably the one guy you would leave alone to shoot, makes two threes in a row.  How deflating was that at that point? 
CLEANTHONY EARLY:  It just hurt.  It kind of hurt us, like you said.  We had a defensive plan to just be in the gaps and force them to shoot those shots.  They just happened to knock them down.

Q.  Cleanthony, I thought a really important play you guys made was after there was a loose ball on the floor, you drove up for the basket, the foul.  Can you describe to me what happened on that play, maybe how it kept you going. 
CLEANTHONY EARLY:  I just seen two defenders and I tried to attack the middle of them, and they reached in and the ref called a foul.  I tried to put it up as quick as possible just in case it goes in.  It happened to go in.
It was a good play.

Q.  Malcolm, got up to an 8‑0 lead and appeared to handle the atmosphere, the crowd.  Why were you able to come out so strong early?
MALCOLM ARMSTEAD:  Just being confident and poised.  We just was executing the game plan, trying to do what we do.  We was able to be successful early on.

Q.  Do you think Louisville’s experience, having come back from last season and the Final Four, do you think that had any impact on your young squad? 
MALCOLM ARMSTEAD:  I don’t think so.  You know, we have experience, too, but just not as well as being deep in this tournament as well.
But we just, you know, made mistakes.  It was us, you know, a lot of times.  But their pressure had a lot to do with it, too, as well.

Q.  Malcolm, why do you think you were a little off tonight? 
MALCOLM ARMSTEAD:  Just missing shots.  You know, a lot of my shots were, you know, uncontested.  So it wasn’t my night offensively as far as scoring the ball.  But, you know, I can’t control that.  The only thing I can control is defense and still being positive for my teammates.
THE MODERATOR:  We’d like to thank our student‑athletes from Wichita State.  We’ll continue with questions for Coach Marshall.

Q.  In general, how long do you think an official should take before calling a jump ball?
COACH MARSHALL:  Well, as soon as both players have control of it to prevent a wrestling match, I guess.  So if both players have their hands on it, it should be a held ball.

Q.  When Malcolm got his fourth foul with 5:22 left, was there an internal debate, how to handle that going forward?
COACH MARSHALL:  I don’t think there was any debate.  We discussed it.  But we have to then try to keep him in as much as we can on offensive possessions.  So any time we were subbing offense, defense, but only on dead balls.  So when they scored, there were a couple of times when we would have loved to have had him in, but we didn’t want him to get his fifth foul with two, three minutes to go, so…
They were really driving us, Siva and Smith were really driving those ball screens, as well as Hancock.

Q.  You went 26 minutes without a turnover, then there were a flurry of five turnovers in seven possessions.  Was that something Louisville did?  Do you think you wore down? 
COACH MARSHALL:  Louisville gets credit for that.  You know, in the course of a 40‑ minute game against some of the best pressure you’re going to see every time the ball is inbounded, we had 11 turnovers, so that’s not bad.
Certainly when they were coming back, that was a part of it.  But I’ve got to call a different zone press offense or man press offense.  We’ve got to execute it better and make our cuts harder.  Certainly part of it.

Q.  You were up 9.  Ron had looked like a pretty open three.  It looked like you wanted him to take that shot. 
COACH MARSHALL:  Yeah, we had that same situation I think in the Gonzaga game when he had a wide‑open three, passed it into Ehimen.  All these kids, these young men, they believe in each other, man.  In this case almost to a fault.  He’s wide open at the top of the key, great shooter.  He throws it, goes to the line and misses it.  Yeah, we’d like for him to take that shot.
Next year I think he’ll be a little more confident to take it.  I don’t think he lacks confidence now, but he believes his teammate could catch it, turn and score, which did not happen.
I think the two shots that Henderson hit were right in concert with the two 1‑and‑1s that Ehimen missed.  You got to get some points there.
Then the six‑point run for them becomes a three‑ or four‑point run.

Q.  When was the last time you felt like this after a game?
COACH MARSHALL:  I’m not sure I’ve ever felt exactly like this.  But any time you lose your last game, only one time in my career where we won our last game, and that was in 2011 in Madison Square Garden in the NIT, it’s hard.  You know, it’s hard to lose your last game.  Everyone does it except for three or four tournament winners.
This one’s especially hard because of the run we went on.  We set a school record for wins, in the Final Four for the second time in school history.  There was an Elite 8 back in 1981.  There’s been three Elite 8 runs now.
This may be the most important basketball game that I’ll ever coach.  It’s definitely the most important to the date and it’s probably the most important that Wichita State’s ever played in.
It’s tough because it’s such a group of young men in that locker room that you just grow to love, you know.  They’re fun to coach.  They’re great character kids.  They’re tough as nails, tough as nails.
But we didn’t say good‑bye.  We didn’t say this is it.  This is just a beginning.  This is just a beginning for us.  A lot of good young players in that locker room.  All they’re talking about right now is working hard this summer and getting better, so…
I’m pretty excited about it.

Q.  When you did handle the press well for long stretches, what were you doing? 
COACH MARSHALL:  Kind of the same thing we did against VCU.  Boy, I felt really, really good until we had that flurry of turnovers.  I didn’t realize it was five in seven possessions, which is certainly big.
You know, they do that to everyone.  They’re going to make a run at some point.  We were looking really good there for 32 minutes or whatever it was.  We just needed to be a little more secure with the ball.
There were some bang‑bang plays, ball went out‑of‑bounds.  It was their ball, whatever.  I thought Carl had it one time, had it taken from him.  I thought a big play was when we got a defensive rebound, Mal got a defensive rebound, they came from behind.  I think he thought it was a teammate.  I don’t know what he was thinking.  But they got that one.  That wasn’t against the press, that was just a tricky play, and credit to them for making it.

Q.  Can you talk about the game Cleanthony Early had and some of the big stick‑backs he had late in the game to keep you in it. 
COACH MARSHALL:  He’s a dynamite athlete.  He’s like a Pogo‑stick athlete.  He can spring up multiple times.  It’s not the first jump always, sometimes it’s the second or third jump.  He just has that ability.
He was right around the rim, hit a couple jumpers, made six or seven free throws.  He’s a really good player.  I’m glad he’s on our team.  I’m looking forward to coaching him.
There’s a couple of things we’re going to work on specifically I’ve already got in my head, but I’m not going to talk about them.  And I think he’s going to be even better next year.

Q.  I noticed against their press you had some success throwing almost a deep ball into the front court.  Was that something you put in especially for this game?
COACH MARSHALL:  No, that’s a Hal Nunnally special from Randolph‑Macon College.  He was probably running that before you were born.  That’s something I stole from him.  He’s deceased now, but he was quite a coach.
I think it alleviates a little bit of the pressure when you do that.  We got them once for layup for Nick Wiggins.  We threw a couple of bad passes or we would have got them a couple more times.
When you do that, that takes away a guy that could possibly come and help inbound the ball.  Against Louisville they have five defenders guarding four guys, so you better be very diligent in getting the ball inbounds.  That’s the first key.  It disrupts your rhythm and whatnot, but they do a great job at it.  They’re wonderful athletes.  They go real hard for a long time.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you very much, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Videos: Final Four – How We Got Here

Believe it or not, I had some cool stuff planned for an Oregon video. I decided I was going to do “weekend in review” videos before the tourney started (two games on one highlight), but after the Duke game, I had to throw out Oregon. The Oregon game meant nothing at that point.

Here is how we have rolled through the post season.

Video 1: Big East Tribute
Video 2: NCAA First Weekend
Video 3: Cards over Duke for 10th Final Four

Tribute Video: 2013 Big East Champs from @CrumsRevenge on Vimeo.

NCAA First Weekend from @CrumsRevenge on Vimeo.

Tribute Video: Cards earn 10th Final Four over Duke from @CrumsRevenge on Vimeo.

A Child’s Letter To Kevin Ware

This came to me today.  10 year old Xander (Alexander) writes to encourage Kevin Ware, and let him know how he was inspired. I love kids writing letters, I thought they banned handwriting anymore.

Personally, I love the suprise ending.  Dont’ skip ahead.

We might have found our next Alfred Hitchcock.











Post Season TVT: Duke & Post Season Totals

We have hit 7 post season games, so I am kicking out a TVT to show how this team has re-defined itself.  Literally overnight they have turned their season long production averages upside down.

TVT:  net positive production per minute.  Add up the good stuff, subtract the bad stuff, divide by minutes played.  Breaks every player down to a single number – “When you play for 1 minute, you gain the cardinals “x” net positive contributions per minute.  If you had a score of 1.0, that would be 1 net positive stat per minute.  that is hard to do.  .40, means you contribute a net positive stat in just over 2 minutes. 

Duke TVT - Gorgui blows Plumlee out of the water.

People missed that if they looked on at partial statlines.  Gorgui almost produced the same stat line as Plumlee’s, exceeded in some parts, but in only 25 minutes (vs. 39 for Plumlee).

He was Louisville’s most productive by minute played – not even close.  Siva and Smith  – the starts by  most accounts were 4th and 5th.  Insane production by the team people.

TVT averages by Schedule Segments

  • Overall Season TVT- team average: 0.51 production per min
  • OOC schedule TVT – team average: 0.53 production per min
  • Conference Season TVT – team average:  0.48 production per min
  • Post season average TVT – team average:  0.64 production per min

Comparison graph by Category + All Post Season Games per person 


  • Behanan Back?  His last game consistent with what he has been kicking out all season, refreshing because the 6 games beforehand has dropped him from #2 most productive to  #7.  We all think he will have an emotional charge in honor of Ware, but you can be “too fired up”, so hopefully HALL OF FAME Coach Pitino can keep him level-headed out there.
  • Ware’s True Impact:  Statistically, he is the 8th most productive, not as big of a loss as we all feel.  However, the real loss will be what Hendo can bring vs. Ware.  That could be “net trouble”, OR  – some 3′s from the corner like the end of the Duke game.  That would be epic.
  • The most telling stat of how good this team is playing is this; Statistically, Luke is still LAST on the team, but again, that is saying HOW GOOD the team as a whole is contributing.  All of them are contributing a “starters value” per minute played, and that is not an expression – they literally are.  Anyone over the 0.40 line is a starter level contributor, and Luke is LAST with a 0.45 – it is really amazing.  Never seen an explosion of production like this team in the post season.
  • Cards 72 – Wichita 64:  Cards a little out of synch, but make up for it with quick shots by WS.  WS shoots/rebounds well to keep it close, but lose ground a little at the free throw line.

Go Cards.




VIDEO: Louisville & Wichita State + Transcripts

VIDEOS & Transcripts Will appear as they become available.

Sorry for the early shakes on Russ video:

Louisville Press Conference Transcript 4-5-2013


THE MODERATOR:  At this time we’re joined by head coach of the Louisville Cardinals Rick Pitino and student‑athletes.  Coach Pitino will begin with an opening statement, then we’ll take questions for the student‑athletes.
COACH PITINO:  Well, for us, we’re 24 hours away, a little bit more, from playing our first game.  We are super excited, very.  Our players totally understand the challenge that lies ahead with this Wichita State team.
I’ve got all the faith in the world in them.  We understand with Kevin out that we not only have to play very hard, we have to play very, very smart.  But here are two of the smartest players I’ve ever coached.  So we’re thrilled to be here.
THE MODERATOR:  We’ll take questions for our student‑athletes.

Q.  Peyton, can you talk about how Gorgui has improved since the first time you saw him?
PEYTON SIVA:  Well, Gorgui always been great offensively.  He’s always been skilled.  A lot of people don’t really know that.
Just he’s improved so much this year.  He’s mastered the 15‑footer.  He can shoot threes, but coach said just relax off of those.  He’s improved so much that his jump shot is really great, his passing has always been phenomenal.
He’s just a great all‑around player.  Not even the little things he does, his passes, his screens have gotten better since he stepped on campus from day one.

Q.  Luke, you’ve been described by teammates as a big‑brother figure, yet you grew up as the youngest brother.  How do you see yourself? 
LUKE HANCOCK:  As a big brother.  I don’t know.  I just try to take care of some of the little things, try to let people know kind of where we need to be, what we need to be doing, try to be a leader in practice, stuff like that.
I guess my brothers beating up on me growing up has helped a little bit.  But I just try to be a leader and help our team wherever I can.
It’s easy with this group of guys.  But just try to help out where I can.

Q.  Luke, to go from fighting for playing time with Kevin Ware to the moment that everyone’s talking about when you kind of ran out there, he calls you now a brother for life.  What is that relationship like now compared to where it was?  Why did you react so quickly?
LUKE HANCOCK:  I mean, our relationship hasn’t changed too much.  You know, we were really close before, and we’re really close now.  It’s a very tough injury and a tough situation.
But, like you say, we’re brothers for life.  I have that guy’s back in any situation.  I know he has mine.  You know, I don’t really know why I went out there.  But, you know, just didn’t want him to be alone out there, I don’t know.
Definitely we’re close now and we were close before, so…
It’s definitely brought the team together, though.

Q.  Peyton, can you describe the difference in your approach or your feeling about this year’s Final Four as opposed to last year.  Is there more of a feeling of needing to go further this year? 
PEYTON SIVA:  Last year, you know, nobody really expected us to be there in the Final Four besides us.  This year, quite frankly, a lot of people counted us out during the regular season also.
Our whole mindset was that we had to stay together and we had to play on that chip that we believe in each other, no matter what anybody else says.  Come together as a team and win.  Just like last year, we’re trying to win this year.  That’s pretty much it.
LUKE HANCOCK:  It’s obviously different for me.  I wasn’t playing last year as a redshirt.  But we’re just excited for the situation, excited to be in the Final Four, just hoping to win.

Q.  Peyton, how are you dealing with the pressure that must be there to avoid getting into foul trouble in this game and what are you guys working on to compensate for that? 
PEYTON SIVA:  I try to avoid foul trouble every game.  Sometimes it finds me, I don’t know how (smiling).
I just got to play a lot smarter.  But Coach P doesn’t want me to lose my aggressiveness, I got to continue to play hard no matter what.  Got to be even more careful of my slap‑downs, more careful of the way I move my feet.
Coach P always tells me when I try to stay out of foul trouble, I get into foul trouble, but I just got to play hard.

Q.  Is the pressure more intense with the shortened rotation that you guys will have?
PEYTON SIVA:  I don’t feel so.  I think Tim Henderson, I think Luke playing more, too, they’re more than capable guys of, you know, playing the role.
Tim Henderson, a lot of people talk about he’s a walk‑on, everything, but he’s been guarding Russ Smith the whole year.  I feel like he can come in and spell anybody.  If you guard Russ Smith the whole year, you can pretty much guard anybody, especially in practice.

Q.  Peyton, you’re one of the premiere guards in the country, but your coach said yesterday Malcolm Armstead is also one of the better guards in the country.  How are you going to attack them, the guards that they have?
PEYTON SIVA:  Well, they’re a great group of guards.  They’re playing really terrific.  They wouldn’t be here right now if they weren’t.
So we got to go out there and continue to play our game, continue with our game plan, our scouting report.  They’re both tough guards, all of them are tough.  But their whole team is tough.  It’s not just one guy.  Malcolm Armstead, of course, makes them go.  But on any given night, anybody on the team can have a big night.
It’s up to us to play collective defense, hit the glass, continue to play how we’ve been playing.

Q.  Peyton, you obviously had a very strong emotional response last week to Kevin under the circumstances in the moment.  As the week has gone on, there’s been all this focus on his injury.  Has that been emotionally taxing on this team?  Do you worry about how you’re going to come out in this game on Saturday? 
PEYTON SIVA:  I don’t think so.  I mean, we’ve pretty much been within ourselves, with our team.  I don’t think the attention has really been taxing on anybody.
I think, you know, if anything, I’m just glad to know Kevin Ware now even more because he’s probably the most famous person I know.  You know, when you have Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama call you, it’s pretty good to say I know that person.  It’s pretty amazing, I think it’s more taxing on Kevin than any of us.
THE MODERATOR:  We’ll excuse our student‑athletes and continue with questions for Coach Pitino.

Q.  Rick, you took over a storied program that you’re at now.  The polls are not made by the sport that you coach.  How would basketball people characterize all the conference shifting and moving around that is really for football’s sake?
COACH PITINO:  Well, we would give you diplomatic answers.  But inside we’re not happy about it.  And I personally am not happy about it, not because of basketball, because most basketball programs at BCS schools charter, football programs charter.  I’m more concerned about women’s sports, track and field, swimming and diving.
You take a school like West Virginia.  The closest school is 800 miles away.  Basketball and football benefit certainly, but what about all those other sports that have to make three connections to get to all those schools and miss all that class time and everything else?
The one thing I will say that’s different today than it was 10, 15 years ago, you’d get some BS answer from the administrations.  They are being very transparent in saying, It’s about money.  We can’t run all those other programs unless we generate more money.  So at least the transparency is there.  But that doesn’t make it any less.
For me personally, leaving the Big East, for Jim Boeheim, not to speak for him, it’s very, very difficult.  We love Dave Gavitt, we love the fact that he put something special together, and me personally growing up on 26th Street on the Eastside of Manhattan, being a New York Knicks assistant and head coach, leave the Garden, is a big loss personally for all the great memories we’ve had.
We don’t like it, but we understand it.  The one thing you can’t do is complain about it.  Sometimes you have to move.  Moving into the Atlantic Coast Conference is not the most difficult thing in the world in terms of competition.  It will probably be one of the greatest conferences I’ve seen basketball‑wise.
I think you probably have to look at CoachK.  I think he’s a little responsible for these basketball schools coming in, at least that’s what I hear, so…

Q.  Teams like the team you’re playing tomorrow, the non‑power conference teams, have been making runs in the tournament over the past few years.  Is that a trend you saw developing or is it a surprise to you?
COACH PITINO:  When I watched Wichita State beat VCU at VCU, I’m a big VCU, I’m a fan of the way they play, Shaka worked for Billy.  When I saw them win in that environment against that style, I called my son Rich and said, Watch out for that team, back then.  Little did I know we’d be playing them in a Final Four.
So today the great thing about college basketball is there’s no difference between Butler, VCU, Wichita State, than UCLA, Louisville, North Carolina, Duke.  There’s absolutely no difference.
If you play them 10 times, they’re going to win a few of those games, and sometimes they’re going to win more than their share.  That’s what the one‑and‑done has done for college basketball in a positive way.  You see teams grow together.
We played a team that I was up all night, didn’t get an ounce of sleep getting ready for, Colorado State with five seniors and two fifth‑year seniors, as good a team as we’ve played against in the tournament.
So, you know, it’s great.  It really is great for college basketball to see us all join.  I go back a long, long time ago where you could pencil in Coach Wooden, Coach Smith, pencil in Kansas or Kentucky, whoever that may be, and now you can’t do that.  It’s a lot of fun for all of us.

Q.  Rick, what led you to go ahead and develop the full‑court style that you did at BU?  How much of what you did then do you do now in terms of pretty much everything?
COACH PITINO:  I played for a great college basketball coach named Jack Leaman.  He was Dr. J’s high school coach.  His assistant Ray Wilson was Julius’ high school coach who recruited me.  When I left UMass, I was a frustrated basketball player with our style.  But look back on it today, he made me a man.  He made me to think team first.  He made me understand the fundamentals that you can’t win without all the fundamentals offensively and defensively of the game.
Even Dr. J played in that system.  It wasn’t a running system.  It wasn’t a pressing system.  It wasn’t a trapping system.  So when I finally became a head coach, we never had any coverage.  We were on page 7 and page 15 of the Herald and Globe, never had any coverage at all.
There was only one cub reporter at that time that knew nothing about basketball.  They said, You’ve got the bad job tonight, you’re covering BU and Northeastern.  That was Lesley Visser.  We remember the days of having 250 in the stands.  Today she knows more basketball than I do.
It was my own laboratory.  I could make all those mistakes trying to put a pressing, running style at the age of 24, and nobody would notice what I was doing wrong.
So for five years I got to tinker, tinker.  By the time I got to be assistant coach of the Knicks, head coach of Providence, I had a system I believed in.  It was due to some frustrations as a player.  It takes everybody to get involved to win.
So I’ve been doing it ever since.

Q.  Will you be remembered more by your fellow coaches for the press or the early embrace of the three?  Is it harder to win with the one‑and‑done rule or being at the mercy of the ping‑pong balls?
COACH PITINO:  If I had Tim Duncan, I may still be in Boston (laughter).
For me, sometimes ping‑pong balls can change your life in the NBA.  If you’re as shrewd as the Red Auerbachs, the Pat Rileys of the world that can pull off these incredible trades, that does it.  In college basketball, it’s all about recruiting.  My son recruited Peyton Siva, and Kevin Keatts got Luke Hancock because he coached him at Hargraves Military.  So recruiting is our game.  But you got to recruit the right people, evaluate the right talent.
Russ Smith and Gorgui Dieng I don’t think were rated.  Russ Smith from New York City at a famous high school was not recruited by one Big East school, not one.  If it wasn’t for those two guys, we don’t play in two Final Fours.  So there’s no science to it.
As far as being known by pressing and three‑point shooting, it was the only way we could go from dead last place in the Big East to having the chance of winning.
I knew one thing, I knew not only we were going to shoot it, I knew Rollie, John, Louis, the guys I consider were legends in our game were not going to shoot it.  I knew it was going to help us win and it carried us to a Final Four.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Wichita State Press Conference Transcript 4-5-2013


THE MODERATOR:  We’re joined by the Wichita State Shockers head coach Gregg Marshall and student‑athletes.  We’ll ask Coach Marshall to give an opening statement and then take questions.
COACH MARSHALL:  We’re excited to be here.  It’s a great, great championship, as you can imagine.  We’re pleased to have the opportunity to compete for a championship here this weekend.
There’s four teams left, and I’m just really excited to have these gentlemen to my left have an opportunity to play for it.
THE MODERATOR:  We’ll again with questions for our student‑athletes.

Q.  A few weeks ago, Antoine Carr, Xavier McDaniel came into your locker room before a game and addressed your team with the ‘play angry’ motto.  How important was that for your team? 
COACH MARSHALL:  That’s a great question for the student‑athletes because they’re the ones going out and playing angry.
I think at the state we were in at that time, I think we lost a couple of games.  If you’ve ever seen X and Antoine play, they played angry.  They were aggressive and tough and were the initiator of hard contact in the post.  They were boxing out and beating checks, beating folks to loose balls, 50/50 balls.  That’s what ‘play angry’ means, to defend with your feet, put your chest on people.
This team has embodied that creed.  So I’m glad that those gentlemen gave us that advice.
MALCOLM ARMSTEAD:  Pretty much what coach said.  Playing with energy, passion, playing like your hair’s on fire.  Just playing hard.  Everything you got.  Leaving it all out there.

Q.  Carl, how much did you make at the lighting factory?  Would you recommend that job to your teammates here? 
CARL HALL:  I made about $12 an hour.  I wouldn’t recommend that to my teammates.  It was a lot of hard work.  I don’t think Cleanthony could make it anyway (smiling).
I wouldn’t recommend that job to anybody.  It was just a hot, nasty job.  I tell them every day to stay in school and do they work.
COACH MARSHALL:  With Carl’s degree, which he has in hand now, he can go back and at least be a supervisor.

Q.  Did you guys learn anything or get any more resilience from holding off Ohio State in your last game? 
MALCOLM ARMSTEAD:  Yeah, we learned a lot about ourselves.  You know, we learned that down the stretch we got to be able to do more things, take care of better situations like the ball, being able to score more efficient down the stretch.
You know, we showcased that we can play with anybody in the country.  It was just a matter of us, you know, going out and doing what we do, executing the game plan that coach gives us.
CLEANTHONY EARLY:  We just got to continue to play hard and know it’s never over till the buzzer sounds.  At the end of the day, we got to go out and do better than what they do.  That goes to Ohio State, Louisville, Gonzaga.  We just got to play with intensity and energy.

Q.  For all three players, could you just tell us how much you knew about Wichita State before you went to school there. 
CARL HALL:  I knew nothing about Wichita State.  I had to Google it, see how big the city was.  When I first heard the word ‘Wichita,’ I’m thinking a small country town, people walking around with cowboy boots on, things like that (laughter).
CLEANTHONY EARLY:  Yeah, I didn’t know much about it either.  Carl pretty much hit it on the head.  Had to do my research.  I found out there were a couple of good things I liked about the school.  I took my visit and I continued to like things I found out about the school.
I made my decision and I felt pretty good about it, and I still feel good about it.
MALCOLM ARMSTEAD:  When I heard about Wichita State and found out that it was in Kansas, first thing came to mind was Wizard of Oz, like Dorothy.  That was the only thing I really knew about it.
But I’m glad I’m here.  We’re making the most of our opportunity.
THE MODERATOR:  We’ll excuse the student‑athletes at this time and take questions for Coach Marshall.

Q.  Yesterday Rick Pitino described your defense as ‘Marquette on steroids.’  Can you translate that for us?  And do you think that’s a compliment?
COACH MARSHALL:  Well, except that we’re not on steroids.  Other than that, I think it’s a definite compliment.  Buzz Williams does a marvelous job.  He’s one of the great coaches in our country.  Rick Pitino, who I have the utmost respect for and admiration, for him to say that is certainly a compliment.  I hope that it’s true.  I also know that Coach Pitino is probably trying to get his team prepared mentally.
So if we’re ‘Marquette on steroids’ defensively tomorrow, that will give us a great chance.

Q.  A lot of great guards here this weekend, a lot of name guards.  Let’s hear your case for Malcolm and why he belongs. 
COACH MARSHALL:  That’s a great question because there are great guards.  Trey, AP Player of the Year.  Peyton and Russ.  We are so fortunate to have Malcolm Armstead.  If we don’t have Malcolm Armstead this year, we’re not sitting here talking about the Final Four.  Maybe not the NCAA tournament.
Fred Van Vleet has done a great job as a rookie, but he’s been able to morph into this role, 18 minutes a game, something like that.  He’s played a lot more in the second half of the season.  We don’t go to VCU and win without Malcolm Armstead.  My assistant coaches did a wonderful job getting him to come to Wichita State as he chose to leave Oregon.
He is the maestro.  He puts everybody in place and makes the basketball plays that you need to make as a quarterback, as your point guard, as your leader on the floor.  And he’s gotten better defensively.  He’s very, very strong.  His body is tough, bulldog strong.  He can get in the lane, absorb contact.  He’s got that funky way of finishing with that left hand, almost a trick shot sometimes when he penetrates.
What I’m most pleased with is he’s gone out a winner.  He’s gone to the NCAA tournament.  In his only NCAA tournament appearance, he’s at least a Final Four point guard, and I think he’s going to get a chance to play for a lot of money with his performance in this tournament.

Q.  How do you go about handling Louisville in transition? 
COACH MARSHALL:  Well, they’re very, very fast, athletic, push it extremely hard.  What you’ve got to do is not turn the ball over.  If we’re turning the ball over and giving them transition opportunities, then we’re not doing what we’re trying to do if we’re taking bad shots and allowing them to get out in transition.
Until we get into the game, I don’t know how much better they are than Ohio State in transition.  They could be considerably better.  They may not be better at all.  But that was Ohio State’s trademark, too.  They loved to score in transition.
In that particular case, we were able to keep them out of transition, albeit a few possessions in their comeback.
We set out to make sure that Ohio State had to attack us a halfcourt set defense, and it worked well for us.  That’s the goal against Louisville, as well.

Q.  I have a question about one of the other Final Four coaches, John Beilein has never been an assistant.  Most coaches have.  What do you admire about someone’s whose path to this point was only a head coach everywhere?
COACH MARSHALL:  Coach Beilein has taken an unusual path.  When he was the head coach at Le Moyne in Upstate New York, I was the assistant coach at Randolph‑Macon.  My first knowledge of John Beilein, the name John Beilein, he beat me on a prospect from the Washington, D.C. area, and I was so despondent because I wanted that kid, he went to Le Moyne.  Andy Beck told was his name.
They were a Division II.  Randolph‑Macon was Division II, moving to Division III.  I didn’t quite have the caché to offer a scholarship to Andy and he went to Le Moyne.  That was the first I knew about Coach Beilein being a good recruiter.
He’s bounced from one level to another level to another level, and he’s done it flawlessly at each step.
I, on the other hand, spent 13 years as an assistant and finally got my opportunity at Winthrop University 15 years ago.  I took a little bit different path.
But I admire him for the steps he’s taken.  He’s done it without playing, just like myself, as a big‑time Division I player, without a father who’s a coach, without name recognition.  He’s had to earn it step by step, and he’s done a great job.
I’ve followed his career as my college Coach Hal Nunally and he were friends.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports