LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino repeatedly was asked if he would consider ranking his current team, now at 31-5 and heading into the NCAA Sweet 16, among the best he's ever had. And multiple times, he declined.
He said this team is different.
"From a talent standpoint it might not be in my top five," Pitino said. "But in terms of execution, intensity, a will to win, it's up there. You know, I don't think this is going to be Who's Who in the lottery draft, but that's not why we play the game. We don't play the game for the lottery draft. We play the game for Louisville and then our guys move on and they're very successful people in and out of basketball.
"I have a young man, Tello Palacios, unbelievable kid, unbelievable player for us. Played in the Final Four. He's over there making great money over in Spain. He's bilingual, has two passports. That's what we're all about."
Again after he left the news conference, Pitino faced the comparison question, asked if his team's press this year rivaled any of his UK teams. (For reference, Pitino's 1996 national champions forced three more turnovers per game than the current Cardinals.)
"No. I don't think there's any comparison between the two," Pitino said. "They're executing great like those (UK) teams executed. But they were totally different teams. This team has to work so much harder to accomplish their goals. Not that those teams didn't, they did. But you had eight draft picks on that (1996) team. They're similar in their work and that they'll do anything to win. But they're different in personnel."