Rick Pitino previews Rutgers

--Rutgers is a team, like any in the Big East besides DePaul and South Florida, who can beat any one of the top teams in the conference on a given night. Have terrific experience (three seniors) and also great young talent.

--Gorgui's ahead of the game in that he's a very skilled big man, but he's way behind from a physical standpoint. He needs to gain about 30 pounds. He has as much potential as any big man I've ever coached. Other staff members wonder about his hunger to become a great basketball player, because he's so nice and grew up in a different world.

--There's no finer young man that you're going to come across than Gorgui Dieng. Still, we won't know how hungry he is to take his game to that next level until this summer. He'll spend the summer here in Louisville.

--Changed a lot of things for the Connecticut game based on what happened at Cincinnati. Knew the Huskies were going to take away the three so they really made a concerted effort to attack inside.

--There is no situation where he would play Gorgui and TJ together. "Not unless I wanted a laugh."

--TJ's scoring better, but he's still not playing the way Pitino wants him to play. He's not playing defense, rebounding or being as physical as Pitino wants.

--The Scarlet Knights are always very well prepared defensively. Because of that they had golden opportunities to beat Syracuse and Pitt, and they did beat Villanova.

--Knew Troy Jackson very well and his prayers go out to the entire Jackson family.

--Thinks fouling when up three with less than five seconds to play is a sound philosophy, but thinks every situation should be evaluated and handled differently.

--Now that St. John's is back, the Big East Tournament ticket is going to be a hot one. Not for Louisville fans, because Louisville fans don't go to the Big East Tournament like everyone else. Louisvillians are intimidated by New York, so it will take them a while to fall in love with the Big East Tournament. It's also very expensive.

--Big East Tournament is the most special tournament in college basketball and a big part of that is because it's played at Madison Square Garden, which should never change.

--Had no visions of anything heading into the season, so we're tickled pink right now. This team doesn't focus on anything but playing every game like its their last.

--He'd actually rather play early than have the double bye.

--The bad thing for us at this point in the season is that we have very little tournament experience. The good thing is that we might be the freshest team in America because of all the time players have missed with injuries.

--If you polled the coaches, they'd say Rutgers has the biggest home-court advantage in the Big East. Doesn't necessarily agree, but everyone in the league has a real strong home court advantage besides South Florida.

--Certain guys - like Morehead's Kenneth Faried - just have a passion for rebounding, but there's no real way to pick them out during the recruiting process.

--The NBA would be lucky to be in Louisville, but he questions whether the people of Louisville could afford the NBA. There's no state like Kentucky for basketball.

--Has no comment on the Karen Sypher sentencing.


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