Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Pitino frustrated with Cards' rebounding

The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE — Louisville is 11th out of 14 Conference USA teams in rebound margin, but coach Rick Pitino says his team's rebounding method ranks at the very bottom.

        In every sense of the word.

        “We don't lay our rear ends on people. We don't block out correctly,” Pitino said after his team's 93-85 win over TCU on Saturday. “It's going to take some time, but we're going to break them of it.

        “You're going to see our guys hitting people with their butts. And we've got big butts, by the way.”

        Louisville opens a three-game road trip tonight at East Carolina (6-9, 0-3), the league's worst team in rebound margin.

        The Cardinals (11-3, 2-1 Conference USA) outrebounded TCU 58-51, just the sixth time in 14 games they've won the battle of the boards.

        But Pitino was so frustrated with how his team was rebounding at one point Saturday, he turned to 6-foot-10 Marvin Stone, the newly arrived transfer from Kentucky who was seated on the bench in street clothes. Stone won't be eligible to play until next season.

        “I said, "Marvin, do you have any idea how to block out?' He said, "Yes, definitely,'” Pitino said. “And I said, "Great, because I won't get to your senior year right now with how this blocking out is going. You're going to be coached by (assistant) Mick Cronin.'”

        East Carolina coach Bill Herrion is more concerned with how his team handles Pitino's trademark full-court defense. Louisville has generated 29 percent of its points off turnovers and leads the league in turnover margin (plus-4.71).

        “Rick's teams, they're going to press you; they want to turn you over; they want to speed you up; they want to make you take quick shots,” Herrion said. “That's something we'll be really concerned about.
       “If we're throwing the ball all over the gym and we're not valuing the ball and taking care of the ball, that just plays into Louisville's hands.”


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