Dick Vitale isn’t afraid to put Louisville in his Final Four. The Cardinals are coming off a solid run in the Big East tournament where they battled to the final minute of the title game with Connecticut, but fell short and wound up with a No. 4 seed in the Southwest Region.
Louisville has experience, with its top two scorers upperclassmen. The Cardinals also have a talented sophomore in Peyton Siva. They even have an experienced and talented coach in Rick Pitino. What he says the team is missing however, is size and rebounding, and he thinks that could affect their first-round meeting.
Louisville has drawn No. 13-seeded Morehead State, which boasts plenty of experience of its own. I’m not really buying that the Cardinals will struggle in this game, but think they could down the road against the likes of Kansas, but in a year full of parity, I won’t blame anyone for putting Louisville through to the national semifinals.
Rick Pitino joined ESPN Radio with Mike and Mike in the Morning to discuss what the Cardinals will need to do to make a run, the changing times as college basketball continues to move away from having experienced players, what the Cardinals will take with them from their Big East tourney run and his thoughts on Dick Vitale picking Louisville in the Final Four.
How will they be able to make a title run?:
“We’re a team that plays a lot of close games. We’re not an overpowering team. We’re good enough to stay in the game because we shoot the ball well, we pass the ball well, we create a lot of assists. … But we’re small and we have difficulty with big teams that rebound well. We’re going to have a heckuva opener with Morehead State. … They have two players that would be all-Big East.”
On the changing times where having four seniors is now an anomaly:
“It’s created great parity in the game. It’s certainly a reason why Butler can get to a Final Four. Utah State could make a big run in the tournament, Belmont. They have been brought up to the rest of us who sometimes have a one-and-done or two-and-done basketball player. … I also think it enhanced the interest in the game because 12, 14, 15 teams could win a national championship this year.”
What will his team take away from the Big East tournament?:
“The competition is awesome. … We came back a very tired, physically beat up basketball team and I think Connecticut is the same way. … I do think it has got us tournament ready and certainly we are going to gear down in the next few days and get our rest. But it is so competitive and so intense at Madison Square Garden. … It’s the best tournament in the world.”
If it’s good or bad that ESPN’s Dick Vitale has picked Louisville in his Final Four:
“Well, he’s pretty accurate. He’s been pretty good. He’s not like Digger Phelps where he is the kiss of death, so that’s pretty good for us.”
Listen to Rick Pitino on ESPN Radio here (Interview begins at 6:30)