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Rick Pitino Previews Miami

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

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--There are obviously lots of important games in a conference like the ACC, but this is the most important game of the season for us so far, and not just because they're an outstanding opponent. If we want to finish in the top four and get a double bye, we need a win desperately. There's a lot at stake for both teams. We need a very loud and enthusiastic crowd. We need to play great defense. We need a lot of emotion tomorrow afternoon.

--I think the guys are fine. We broke down the film and our problem defensively is we have about four or five possessions where guys don't know what they're supposed to be doing and the other team winds up with an easy bucket. But our number one problem is ball containment on straight line drives. It forces rotation for your bigs and gets people in foul trouble. It's our young guys who are really struggling with it.

--Quentin's biggest problem is he moves towards the defender when he drives instead of trying to get to a spot to cut off his penetration. Nanu's biggest problem is that he slides defensively and lets guys get around him.

--Nanu's really getting better. I think you can see how good of an outlet passer he is. He's also getting a lot better offensively. He's always posted up hard, but now guys are actually having the confidence to throw him the ball. Both he and Anas are playing with a lot more confidence and are getting a lot better as the season goes along.

--Chris will play but not start. He had to things unrelated to us, and he got it done.

--We played well against Miami the last time, but they're a different team. They've been playing four guards, switching everything, but I don't know if they'll do it against us.

--I think fans if they know history -- probably the ones that don't study history, panic. The ones that understand the game, understand the way we are -- because you can pick out losing streaks every season. I showed my wife this morning, here's the record I thought we'd have at this point, I keep it on paper. Based on six weeks of practice, I had this exactly right: 20-6 ... except I had the games wrong with the wins and losses. You sort of think sometiems where your bumps in the road are going to be. I didn't expect it to be North Carolina State at home, let's just say that. I'm happy with the record, where we are.

--Chris knows how disappointed I am in him. I told him you cost your team a victory. I'm not saying we definitely would have won if he was there, but he knows how I feel, and he's very disappointed as well. He wanted to make that trip, but i wasn't basketball related. I told him you can't erase that mistake, but what you can do is play harder and better. His response was, "don't you think I play hard?" I told him I don't know if anyone plays harder, but you've got to pick it up even more now.

--Wayne did have an assist the other night. I told Kent on the coaches show the other night, most SIDs, if they're not in a tavern, would have picked up on that.

--Wayne's playing great basketball. I don't base it just on the games, he's playing great in practice. He's doing things that I haven't seen him do in two or three years. Taking off and dunking on people and getting fouled, but when he gets into foul trouble he gets very reserved.

--I'm going to put the total deflections from our players on our website from now on so everyone can see. If you get 35 or 40 of those like we averaged with the championship team, you're going to win unless the other team hits 14 or 15 threes.

--The championship team got deflections because they knew scouting reports. Luke wasn't a great defensive player. But that team knew what the other team was going to run, they broke it down and knew where everything was going to occur. They were also more active with their hands, they pressed better, and they reacted better.

--The 30 second clock would force teams to start their offenses earlier. It would create more movement and speed up the game a little bit. I'm baffled that it didn't happen 7 or 8 years ago.

--The freshman ineligibility thing will never happen. It costs money to run freshmen teams, and as soon as you tell ADs that, they're not going to like it. What they're trying to do is develop more education for athletes. It sounds great, it's not going to happen. In theory it has a lot of good things. Players mature, it creates more discipline in their life, it humbles them, but it's not going to happen.

--Everyone wants the true, rounded into form student athlete, but how to get there is the problem.

--The power 5 conferences pulling away from the NCAA has been talked about, and I would hate that personally. I would hate to have March Madness without all the Cinderella teams. But the one thing I have learned is football dominates the powers that be. At one time that wasn't the case, but today football dominates everything. America likes football. Europe likes soccer ... I don't quite see that, but they do. I mean I root for our soccer program, I think it's great.

--I don't want to give the impression that this isn't a group of great guys, because they are. Chris Jones is a great kid. You may not see that because his body language is not always the best. I can't get him to smile on the bench. I can get him to play hard, so that's enough for me, but I can't get him to come out and hand the towel to the guy and be happy about coming out, even though he has to understand that other people like to play.

--The championship team, I could tell them that we weren't cutting down the nets until we win it all because they were totally focused on winning the championship. This team, you've got six guys, two who probably don't even understand March Madness, why everybody gets all excited about it. And the other four guys probably have not paid too much attention to it, maybe with the exception of Quentin because he lives in this town. Come senior night, the last remnants of that championship are gone. This team doesn't understand the whole thing I'm trying to get across to them. They see my passion and excitement, but except Montrezl and Wayne, they don't really have any sense of it.

--Billy Donovan and my son are having tough times, I don't think we're really having tough times. It's like someone who's worth millions of dollars and loses a hundred thousand dollars in the stock market and thinks it's an awful day. I don't think these are tough times, when we get knocked out of the NCAA, that'll be a tough time. You'll all be out of a job and I'll be out of work.

--I think Wayne stresses out when he gets a few fouls and worries about coming out which keeps him from getting into the flow of a game. But he dominates practice, and I couldn't say that in previous years. He's playing great, and I expect him to have a great finish to the year.

--I don't know how many of you remember, but Peyton wasn't playing great until the latter stages of his senior year, and then he became one of two players to win back-to-back MVPs in the Garden. And then he got on another great run in the NCAA. I expect the same thing out of Wayne Blackshear, because he's been great in practice.

--Nothing ever comes out of players only meetings. It's always short-lived. I've been through 100s of them. It lasts for two days, maybe a week max. We had a great meeting the other day. The veterans and freshmen each got up and talked about what we need to do better and how they can do better and you've got to mature in this area. For two days it was much better, and then they reverted back.

--Our attitude is fine. The team knows what I've told you about Chris. He's not jealous at all of Terry or Montrezl and the publicity they get. He's got a great basketball attitude, he just wants the team to win. The problem is, if he comes out of the game, I'm not his best friend anymore. As long as I keep him in the game, he loves me.

--Terry's having a great season. We just need him to rebound at the beginning of the game the way he does at the end, because in the last 4 minutes he's the best rebounder on the court.

--We were all taken back by how mature Quentin Snider played against Syracuse. He didn't try to blend in, he didn't shy away from taking big shots, he wanted to be the best guard on the floor, and that's what I wanted to see out of him. I gained a lot of respect for Quentin Snider as a freshman in that game.