CRAWFORD | Louisville notebook: Late tip, scouting SLU and more - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Louisville notebook: Late tip, scouting SLU, NCAA records and more

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ORLANDO (WDRB) -- Rick Pitino hates having his team sit around all day. Sitting around all day for a near-10 p.m. scheduled tipoff that is pushed to 10:30 for an overtime game is over the top.

The Cardinals had their usual pregame walk-through around noon on Thursday, came back to the hotel, watched some basketball, had a film session, then had a light dinner at around 6 p.m. Still, there was lots of time to kill before tipoff against Manhattan.

Montrezl Harrell said it was "tough sitting around waiting to play." But Pitino wouldn't accept that as any reason his team had trouble with Steve Masiello's Jaspers.

"I think this generation ‑‑ now, Montrezl is a great guy. I love this team.  The last three years have been very special," Pitino said. "This generation is the greatest excuse-makers of all time.  If you would have watched one of our practices, they never get fouled.  If they lose the ball, they were pushed.  It's incredible what goes on in one of our practices.  But you never get upset because they're such great guys, including Luke (Hancock) who's obviously very cerebral, but he actually chops the guy, kicks the guy -- 'I didn't touch him.'  Manhattan had to stay up late, as well.  I always keep telling them excuses are a sign of weakness, and when you make an excuse, you show weakness.  (Manhattan) had to wait around, and they looked pretty good."

Then Pitino looked at his watch.

"Now, it is late," Pitino said. "(Expletive) it's 1:30 in the morning, so it is late."

At that, the moderator ended Pitino's news conference.

The NCAA's official transcript of the quote begins with the word, "Sugar." Only the first letter of that transcript is accurate.

U of L's Saturday game against Saint Louis will tip at a more hospitable hour: 2:45 p.m. And it will air on a more viewer-friendly channel: CBS. Still, the Cards' late-night win over Manhattan drew a 24.1 rating and 46 share on TNT, according to figures from the Louisville market provided by The Nielsen Co. That's about 163,000 households. And a lot of people dragging at work on Friday.

U of L shot 36.4 percent (20-55) from the field against Manhattan, the fourth-lowest field goal percentage a Cardinal team ever has posted in NCAA Tournament competition.

It's also the lowest field-goal percentage a U of L team has ever shot in an NCAA Tournament game and still won. Its lower efforts were all losses -- to Ohio State in 1961, to Wake Forest in 1996 and to Memphis in 1995.

The Cards did make 27 free throws, which was one shy of tying a school single-game tournament record. U of L made 28 against North Carolina on March 20, 1986, in a 94-79 win in the West Region semifinals.

-- Among the NCAA leaderboards Russ Smith is climbing is one major list: U of L's career list of all-time leading NCAA Tournament scorers. He passed two players whose numbers have been retired by the school last night: Pervis Ellison and Darrell Griffith. With 214 NCAA Tournament points, he is 14 shy of tying U of L's all-time leader, Milt Wagner. Smith also became the school's career steals leader last night, and its NCAA Tournament career steals leader.

-- Saint Louis coach Jim Crews did something unusual after his team's stirring, come-from-behind 83-80 overtime victory over N.C. State. He scouted the Cardinals himself.

Many times, head coaches will leave the in-person scout to their staff, while they head back and start to break down video of their next opponent. Crews and his entire staff stayed to watch the Cardinals and Manhattan in person.

One impressive thing about his Saint Louis team was that late against N.C. State, it put on an effective full-court press without having been a pressing team all season. The Billikens erased a 16-point deficit in the closing minutes of the game.

"I don't think we've ever practiced it once in three years that I've been at Saint Louis," Crews said. "But what we tell them, we just try to keep it simple a little bit on some things.  But I thought our guys did a good job of fouling when we needed to foul, not fouling when we didn't need to foul, and not running to make long traps.  We didn't try to run 25 feet for traps, we trapped just in short quarters, and they did a great job of it.  All the credit goes to them.  You shouldn't do things you never practice, but we were in a position we had to do that."

-- Celebrities are paying attention to March Madness. Late in Saint Louis' comeback against N.C. State, with 6-11 senior Rob Loe leading the way for the Billikens, the actor Rob Lowe Tweeted, "We Rob Loe's know how to ball! But can he get the W?"

After Luke Hancock's back-to-back threes sent U of L past Manhattan, Green Bay Packers' quarterback Tweeted, "Hancock is a baller. Clutch."

-- U of L and Saint Louis have been conference mates in both the Metro Conference, where both were founding members, and Conference USA. U of L edge in the series that dates back to 1928, and won the last meeting between the two, on Feb. 20, 2005, when Francisco Garcia had 17 points, six assists and five rebounds in an 84-66 victory.

Pitino, however, lost his first four games as U of L coach to Saint Louis, and is 3-5 against the Billikens while at Louisville.

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