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Rick Pitino Talks Boston College And The Possibility Of Wednesday's Game Being Canceled

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

From today's ACC coaches' teleconference.

Opening Statement

Well, Boston College is a team that plays everybody tough and they just came off a good win over Georgia Tech. They run a mix of man and a different zone sets that are all excellent. They've had some good wins, they were up late in the game against Virginia and beat Providence, so they're a formidable opponent and we know it'll be a tough game.

On the lack of scoring and pace in college basketball

Well, I'm not sure what you can do about it. The only way the NBA picked it up was David Stern telling the officials to change the way they call the game to get less hand checking and body pressure. They made a concentrated effort, and they did it. It's really tough to do in college basketball unlike the pros, where they made a drastic change.

I think the first thing is you have to go to a 30 second clock before you can even address all the other issues that would speed up the game. The 30 second clock is something that has to be put into effect.

Do you think there needs to be some sort of directive like the one Stern put out?

You know, it was put out last year and it went up for a short period of time and the referees then went right back to not calling it because the fans didn't like it and were booing. It's just different. I think we as coaches spend about 80 percent of our time choreographing our defenses to stop the other team's offense. And we only spend -- and I'm guilty of it as well -- 20 percent of our time with our offense trying to attack the other team's defense. With the technology today, it's very easy to pick apart weaknesses and tendencies with every single basketball player, so the defenses are much better today than they've ever been in the history of college basketball.

On handling the travel to New England with the bad weather

Well we're traveling on game day because obviously you can't travel on Tuesday. If the storm is as epic as they say, it may have to be rescheduled. A lot of times they say it's going to be 2 or 3 feet and it ends up being 8 inches, so you never know how it's going to turn out. So we'll address that on Wednesday. 

Was there any thought about traveling the day before the game to try and make it in?

You know better than me probably, but apparently they're calling for 2 or 3 feet on Tuesday and the airline said they didn't think we could travel that day.

So there's no contingency plan for a cancellation right now?

No, we're hoping we can get in there Wednesday and play the game. From a scheduling standpoint, I hope it doesn't get rescheduled, but I guess the league office will make that call sometime late Tuesday.

Your impressions on Boston College's win over Georgia Tech and the play of Olivier Hanlan?

Well he's a terrific guard, but I really like what they're doing offensively in all their sets. You always judge an offense by movement and how they play north and south, and really they run some outstanding sets both against man and zone. That's why they've been in a lot of games and had some big wins -- from beating Providence, Harvard, Georgia Tech yesterday and being right there with Virginia. They're very difficult to defend. They're one of the older teams in college basketball and one of the tallest teams in college basketball. They're top 10 in both categories, so they've got great experience.

Your concerns heading into this game?

As far as our defense is concerned, we're just gonna have to prep a little overtime in getting ready for all their different sets and do some things that may cause difficulties for them running their offense. That's something we've got to spend a lot of time working on these next two days.

Why are some teams better than others in close games?

It's finny you say that because I was just talking to my son at Minnesota about that. I said it's cyclical. It changes based one experience and free-throw shooting. He's lost a lot of close games at the foul line. I told him when I was at Providence we lost six games by 2 points close to the buzzer, and then the following year we won six games with less than a second on the clock. So it's experience, it's free-throw shooting, the more experience you have, the more comebacks you have in tight situations. It's like Virginia Tech being up big on Virginia late yesterday. Their experience kicked in and they hit their threes and they moved the ball and made all the right plays at the end. Experience won out in that game even though Virginia Tech played great. A lot of times it comes down to the foul line or a referee's call.

Is it easier to win close games after you've won a few?

I think so, I think there's a confidence factor -- teams believe they're going to win it. But again I think the common denominator is experience. Experience tells you that you're not going to lose all close games, but you're also not automatically going to win them. You've got to execute and you've gotta thrive under pressure, so I think experience is the biggest factor. And free-throw shooting, you've got to get guys out of the game that don't shoot free-throws well.