Ricky P held a press conference following the unveiling of the brackets Sunday night and shared his thoughts on several of the issues facing his Cardinal basketball team as they head into the Big Dance.
On his team's seed:
"We thought we'd be a five seed based on the rankings and how we were playing at the end of the year, but we didn't care. It got hairy at the end trying to figure out where we were going, we didn't expect to be one of the two last picks. The players kept saying, 'You sure we're in coach, you sure we're in.' I said, 'We're in, don't worry about it.'"
On playing in Lexington:
"We're very happy to be going anywhere, but any time you can stay in state, it's exciting. the first thing I said was, I said a small little prayer, just to make it easy on our media let us go to Lexington. We just didn't want to go west. We were hoping for Chicago, Lexington, New Orleans, some place close enough for our fans so they could get to it. I think it's an advantage to (the local media) and the fans, but I don't think it's an advantage or disadvantage for us at all."
Pitino also said the team would either bus up the day of the game or go up the day before, he wasn't entirely sure yet.
"I don't know anything about them. I know they're very big up front, but I don't know anything about them."
On the way his team played against Pitt:
"We were a real tired basketball team. For Louisville, Notre Dame, we're playing a road game everytime we go up (to New York), for Connecticut, Syracuse, Georgetown, St. John's if they get back, Pittsburgh, they have a tremendous advantage in terms of home crowd. We had a lot of people there, but it didn't seem like we had 100 people from the noise level. It seemed like we had no one there. Pittsburgh had a lot of people there, and watching Notre Dame/Georgetown it seemed like the crowd was 90% Georgetown. Generally I think veteran teams, teams with a lot of juniors and seniors, win a conference tournament, and we did not."
"We played a terrific first half (against Pitt). I think Earl Clark and David Padgett just ran out of gas, I really do. I think David played too many minutes the night before, we needed him too, and Earl Clark was mentally exhausted."
On T-Will's groin injury:
"Terrence Williams would have not been able to play against Georgetown. We couldn't practice him today, he needed two days off, he has a groin injury. He would not have been able to play that game. I think he'll be OK, but he definitely could not have played against Georgetown. The next day he had a distinct limp. It would have also probably been very harmful for David Padgett to play three days in a row."
On injured forward Juan Palacios' playing status:
"I think Tello will be back. He did a light workout today, and if he comes back and he's not sore tomorrow I think he will play. I'll keep Earl Clark in the starting lineup, but he will play."
On the feeling of seeing his team in the tournament a year after playing in the NIT:
"We're very excited. It's a tremendous compliment to our players to perform in the last five weeks the way they have performed -- from the comeback against Syracuse, winning six road games, finishing 13-5 in the Big East. That's a tremendous accomplishment by an extremely young basketball team that faced a lot of adversity with injuries. So I'm really proud of them. They've gone way beyond what I anticipated after the injuries were part of our normal routine."
"I'm as pleased as I've ever been as a coach with a team overcoming the obstacles they've had to overcome and facing the type of schedule they had to face in February and do the job they did. It's an amazing feat by a group of young men."
On Syracuse being left out of the tournament:
"I was very surprised at that one, very surprised. I knew West Virginia was both ways, but listening to (Jim Boeheim), he convinced me they were going and he was very upset there was even a discussion. So I thought they'd be in. I think they were looking at the best teams not to favor anybody. When you have a conference of 16 teams and only six get in, it's a little bit scary."
"I think the thing that matters the least of everything is the polls. We're ranked 12th and 15th, but I don't think they even discuss that at all."
On Card Chronicle blogger Mike Rutherford:
"Coolest human being on the planet, bar none. I've got half a mind to give the kid half my paycheck and season tickets on the floor."
"I'm just joking, he cusses too much and everytime he makes up quotes as a joke it isn't funny."