Rick Pitino took part in his weekly radio show with Paul Rogers Thursday night and spoke about the loss to Providence, the health of Wayne Blackshear and took questions from fans.
As might have been expected, the first two callers were both very critical, which left Pitino sounding at least a bit defensive for the remainder of the show. He acknowledged the frustrations of the fans, but backed that up by saying the team and the coaches were even more frustrated.
Here are the main topics that U of L's head basketball coach touched on:
--Wayne Blackshear has been cleared by doctors to begin practicing in full with the rest of the team and he practiced today. Pitino says that in order for Blackshear to see the floor in a game he needs to lose ten pounds in two weeks.
(Translation: Wayne Blackshear will be playing in two weeks at the latest.)
--The players held a team meeting after the Providence game, and they understand that something like that can't happen again.
--Pitino's new formula for making the NCAA Tournament: win all seven remaining home games and steal two on the road.
--It's time to stop talking about Peyton Siva's shot, we just have to get him playing better in every other aspect of the game.
--He might start utilizing a smaller lineup in part to help create more shots for Kyle Kuric. Also says there needs to be more motion in halfcourt sets and better passing on the perimeter. We played our best basketball last year with Kyle at the four and Chris at the three, so going small is always an option.
--Reiterates his belief that the offense is not the problem. "This same offense got us to 12-0."
--If something like Tuesday's game would have been going on last year, Preston would have stepped in at some point and not let it happen. Luke Hancock is kind of like Preston in that regard, but overall this isn't that type of team.
--Wayne Blackshear hasn't played basketball in almost a year so the best case scenario right now is that he is just a serviceable player by mid-February. Having him would help a lot because it would give them more size at the three and allow Kyle to play more at the four.
--He can tell how frustrated the fans are by their questions. "They have no idea how frustrated the team and the coaches are."
--We played well against Georgetown and Notre Dame, Georgetown is just very tough and Notre Dame played very well. "We've played one bad game."
--The assistant coaches have done a fabulous job. They were great when we were 12-0 and they're great now. We've had one bad game as coaches and the team has had one bad game as players.
--The only pressure he feels is self-inflicted.
--(Asked if he feels pressure to go deep in the NCAA Tournament) "We're just trying to make the NCAA Tournament."
--We foul more when we play man-to-man, which is why we've been playing more zone. We have to keep Gorgui Dieng out of foul trouble. It's absolutely crucial.
--If we can just get this team feeling good about themselves then he thinks they'll start making some more shots.
--"The easiest thing to be is a critic. There were no critics three weeks ago."
--Says he's not going to be negative about this basketball team. They've given exceptional effort in every game but one this season and they're going to give an exceptional effort on Saturday.