Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino
We knew this team [Chattanooga], from a transition standpoint, would try to do the same things we do--pushing the pace. We obviously have a deeper bench. We had a couple of goals tonight. One in particular was we had to win the 3-point line because they beat a very good, talented Marshall team by making 12 3s and shooting 36 percent. The 3-point line was a great equalizer. We wanted to make sure we negated the 3-point line. Our guys are a fun group to coach. They're a fun group each day because they want to learn and get better. They play with extraordinary effort, and this was exciting for them to play against a team that wanted to run with them. It was an exciting basketball game for us and for our fans. We're really excited.
(On coming out with a stronger defense in the second half)
We talked about coming out and making sure we did not slow the pace down. We played excellent defense the whole night. We got after them, pressured them. All those steals we made were because of the pressure we were applying to the basketball. Both Peyton [Siva] and Bullet [Elisha Justice] did a terrific job of trying to wear out a very good point guard [Keegan Bell] who has an outstanding range. He [Bell] transferred from Vanderbilt. Our guys did a terrific job tonight, we're getting better. As I said, we're taking baby steps every single day in practice, but the best part about coaching these guys is their attitude. They're a lot of fun to coach.
(On Kyle Kuric stepping up)
I knew he would. It's just a matter of getting the running game and getting a little bit out of the half-court. He's a good athlete, good player. Now, remember he came here as a walk-on, and we gave him a scholarship. Let's not read too much into when he doesn't have a great scoring night, he came in as a walk-on. I think he's exceeded that by leaps and bounds and given a lot to this program.
(On Pitino's feelings about his team taking their passing game to a higher level)
I wouldn't overrate us. It was two teams that wanted to play a certain style. We were at home, and we won the style. I wouldn't get too carried away, but I think we're in great shape. They've really embraced the style, it's really helped us. We're having a lot of fun with it, but it starts with defense. We said we want to play like Loyola [Marymount] of years ago. We want to play great defense, and that's the key.
Chattanooga Head Coach John Shulman
"They looked tonight like they did against Butler, they defended. I won't give credit to (Peyton) Siva and (Preston) Knowles, but when you've got Elisha Justice coming in, you know everybody feeds off him. They guard. They guarded and made life pretty uncomfortable for us offensively. We can't simulate that kind of pressure in practice. We are coming off a great win at Marshall, but we can't simulate that kind of pressure. So defensively, they were phenomenal."
(On Louisville's interior defense)
"They don't have to help out on the wings. We penetrate and get in the paint, and they have guys who can block shots. I know they are capable of doing that. That is why they are successful. They were fantastic tonight defensively, period."
(On the play of Omar Wattad)
"He was good, but he made shots. He made tough shots and sometimes that is like fools gold. We were taking tough shots and hanging in there. You have to be patient. We finally got a little rhythm and clocking it a little bit, and we got impatient. On this swing we go to Marshall and we go to Louisville. Had you told me before the swing that we would go one-and-one, I would take one-and-one."
(On the difference tonight as opposed to the game against Tennessee)
"Well, for one, I think we are a little fatigued. This is our fifth game in 11 days; Louisville doesn't leave the state of Kentucky until Jan. 9. Enough said. We are not Louisville. We have been on the road. We have played three straight, four out of five on the road. We come back home and play Wednesday night, and then have to head down to Miami, Fla., on Saturday. Sometimes it is a very difficult schedule when you are on the road all the time."