Rick Pitino appeared WHAS' "The Terry Meiners Show" Monday afternoon and discussed his team's loss to Kentucky, his short postgame press conference and some changes that are going to be made going forward.
Here are the highlights:
--I've been been really under the weather the last two weeks, but I'm feeling a lot better right now. The short press conference had nothing to do with the media or anything. I asked if there were any questions and nobody had any questions. To the victor goes the spoils and John (Calipari) talked more after the game because his team won. That's how it's supposed to be. I had even less to say after the Wilmington game.
--This game still needs to be played, I don't think that changes because Kentucky has our number right now. This was a good game. It'll make you a better team. The short press conference had nothing to do with UK or any fatigue with the rivalry game. The media just didn't have any questions.
--People are upset because Kentucky has our number right now, but it reminds me of Marquette a while back when they had won five straight or something against us and everyone was talking about how we couldn't beat Marquette. We got some better players and eventually that evened out.
--Kentucky had about 6,000 fans in our arena like I thought they would. They come in a large contingent to every game they play, and you have to give them credit for that. I don't think they really ever have to play a true road game because they travel better than any fan base in college basketball. You can't be mad at them for that.
--They're a great defensive team. As Cal likes to say about us, "they hold and they grab." I love the way they play defense. It's very physical and they made it very hard for us to make shots. That being said, we also missed a lot of open looks, like Wayne Blackshear's open lay-up. You can't do that and expect to beat a team like that. We were 1-for-12 in that game on challenged shots, and that was the one thing we didn't want to do was take too many challenged shots because it's really hurt us this year. We're going to make some changes to our lineup because of that.
--Our screening was extremely bad in this game. We did a very poor job of screening and getting guys open for looks. It's like an offensive line not blocking in football.
--We knew it was going to be a physical game and we knew how good they were on defense. The one thing we really wanted to do was keep them out of transition and we did a good job of that. We didn't know if we'd be able to keep them off the backboard and they really hurt us there. They got way too many offensive rebounds.
--This Kentucky basketball team is the best defensive team I've seen in the last 20 years. The way they get over screens and block shots is tremendous. Foul trouble and fatigue aren't going to bother them because of their depth, so they don't really have a defensive weakness.
--Kentucky has played great in the big games, so I don't think you can pinpoint a game on the schedule that they're going to lose, because those are the games they really get up for. So I think if they were to lose, it wouldn't be a game that's earmarked on their schedule. It could happen in a place where you wouldn't expect, if it is to happen at all.
--There's not a whole lot I can control regarding all the blue in the arena. I wish the fans who are selling those tickets would sell them back to the university. We'll pay you double for those tickets, and that's all I'm going to say about that.
--You'll see unbelievable atmospheres and a great homecourt advantage for the Duke and North Carolina games, but the Kentucky game is not that way. I told the media that last month and they looked at me like I was crazy, which I was really surprised about.
--We had great respect for Kentucky, but we believed we were going to win that game. So we're hurting a little bit right now, but we all have jobs to do, and we base the success of our seasons on reaching our potential come NCAA Tournament time.
--We have a very difficult Long Beach State team to prepare for. They've played all over the country already and have played right with some of the best teams out there. If we don't really bring it then they're going to give us all we can handle.
--We're going to start two new players tomorrow. I'm not going to say who because I don't want to give that away, but there are going to be some changes.