LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville Interim Head Coach David Padgett said Monday afternoon that both he and his team were "disappointed" that the Cardinals did not make the NCAA Tournament but added that every single team member plans to hit the hardwood Tuesday evening for the first round of the NIT against Northern Kentucky.
"We were disappointed," Padgett said. "We knew that we were there, on the bubble, however you want to say it.
"We just came up short of our goal. Our goal was to reach the NCAA Tournament, and we just came up short."
Padgett said his role was to "re-shift the focus here" and prepare the Cardinals to face off against Northern Kentucky, which he called, "a darn, darn good basketball team."
When asked about rumors that members of his team expressed reluctance Sunday night to play in the NIT instead of the NCAA, Padgett deflected.
"I had to pick them back up from being disappointed," Padgett said. "I had to pick myself up from being disappointed.
"It's a sting. It's a very, very big sting … so there were some heavy, long, sad faces yesterday."
Padgett added that there has "never been a season" like the one experienced by this year's U of L men's basketball team.
"Eighteen to 21-year-old kids, you never know how they're going to handle adversity," he said, adding that he was "not disappointed" with their response.
He said no one was planning on sitting out of Tuesday night's game.
"Unless somebody gets hurt today in practice, everybody is going to play," Padgett said.
When he mentioned that he told the team to enjoy the rest of the season because it would be the last time they would all be together, WDRB's Mike Lacett asked if that meant he had no plans to pursue the permanent coaching position.
"I have not spoken one word with the appropriate people for the future," he said, adding that right now he was only concerned with helping the team members pursue their goals and careers until the end of the season. "My future, I have no concern about it. My concern is helping Quentin and Anas turn pro, and Ray and Deng with decisions they have to make."
"I don’t live in a fairy tale world," he said. "I know how this profession works. "I'm young. I've been in it long enough."
In the end, Padgett said it was all about forgetting about the past and looking to the future.
"I want to play Northern Kentucky," he said. "Because that's the next game on our schedule."
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