Feb. 21, 2009
(4:43 p.m.): Well, the postgame news conference wasn’t too pleasant. Mick was obviously displeased with the way his team rebounded the ball, and afterward, that’s what he wanted to talk about most.
“Obviously, we got dominated on the defensive glass,” Mick said. “It’s the story of the game. We lost the effort -statistics. We got physically outmanned. Other than that, not much to talk about. We got pushed around.”
And then this: “We got outhustled, we got pushed around. Our gameplan was to give them no baskets in the paint, and they got 30 points. There’s a difference between getting a stop against a top-10 team and a stop against another team. Right now, we don’t play with the physicality and the effort and the intensity to beat Louisville or Pittsburgh.”
I asked him that since the rebounding got really bad in the second half if his team was tired because of Louisville’s full-court press.
“There are no excuses,” he said. “Earl Clark played 38 minutes. Terrence Williams played 40 minutes. They didn’t get worn out.”
Overall, the Cardinals had 17 offensive rebounds on 29 missed shots. That percentage, as Mick would say, would lead the basketball world.
“They just wanted it more, I guess,” said Yancy Gates, who finished with 10 points and five rebounds. “They had more on the glass than us. They had more players on the glass. Especially down the stretch, we made a run, but then they got two or three offensive rebounds. It’s not deflating. But it hurts your team.”
Rick Pitino had some nice things to say about his point guard, Andre McGee. Although his stat line was nothing impressive (two points, one assist, one steal in 21 minutes), there was more to him than that.
Pitino said he loves the fact that McGee is a quick 5-10 guard who can hound the opposing point guard from the second he touches the ball on the inbounds to the second he has to pass. Pitino said it’s tough for anybody to stand up to that kind of pressure during the span of a game.
“It wears on a lot of players,” said Vaughn, who was held scoreless in the second half. “I did great things today. I had eight assists, I made some good plays, got some good shots for my teammates. I knew he was going to try to be a pesky defender on me. But I kept my head up.”
Pitino was asked if UC still had a chance to compete for an NCAA tournament berth. He said yes.
“It’s going to come down to probably who can get the marquee win and who can get the (Big East) tournament,” Pitino said. “The Big East is so strong. UC beats Georgetown twice, UC beats UNLV, who’s a heck of a team and who beat us. They’re going to be in it all the way to the end. They’re going to have to come up with a win at Syracuse, but nobody really knows until you go to Madison Square Garden and play one or two games.”
We only got the players for 2 minutes in the postgame presser (nobody got a chance to ask Alvin Mitchell a question) before they were ushered back into the bowels of the arena to watch film.
Mick also didn’t want to talk about the team’s NCAA chances.
“Not interested,” he said. “Worried about winning the next game. I didn’t have us winning five in a row. I did anticipate us rebounding the ball in our own gym.”