Rick Pitino is back in the blog business and he hits on a number of topics as we head towards the beginning of basketball practice that begin early next month. You can view the page on RickPitino.net here or I’ve included it in its entirety below:
What an incredible football weekend. The town is alive, with national championship hopes definitely real. It should be a fun journey for a collective group of great athletes and terrific coaching on both sides of the ball. Congrats also to our soccer team with the upset of #1 ranked Notre Dame.
Practice is just around the corner and someone asked me if this year’s Duke team could potentially rival my 96’ Kentucky team. The answer is yes, but as Lee Corso would say … “Not so fast my friend.” Yes, they have awesome shooting, experience, and talented freshman. Certainly they are worthy of the pre-season hype. But in recent conversations with John Rothstein, who is more organized than crime, he points out the ACC could be a ten-bid league for the NCAA Tournament like the old BIG EAST from 2009-2011. By his count, 12 of the 15 teams will be in play for a bid.
According to his calculation:
Virginia Tech – Returns seven of its top eight from a 20-win team and gets back Ahmed Hill.
Clemson – Won 10 ACC games without a home court advantage and adds three transfers.
North Carolina St. – Improved their talent base.
Miami & Pittsburgh – Have key veterans.
Florida St. – Has terrific talent.
Let’s add Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Louisville who will be ranked in the top 20.
John also feels a lot of other leagues will be down.
The Big Ten should be loaded and the Pac-12 much improved.
Our two-hours-per-week practice time has been going according to plan. We are an inexperienced deep team with outstanding athleticism. Every minute counts in trying to get ready for a tough early schedule. With no double figure scoring returning, the obvious question is where do we get our points?
Quentin averaged 9.4 points and should better this year. Deng Adel and Donovan Mitchell are much improved basketball players.
Jaylen and Ray should be significantly better with the experience gained from last season.
There are a lot of question marks with a meat grinder schedule. The Red/White games will be important to measure how strong our depth actually is. I expect very close games. The games will be Wednesday, Oct. 12 and Friday, Oct. 21, with both games at 7 p.m. A lot of hard work lies ahead for this team. They are hungry and driven to succeed.
I’ll keep you abreast of practice after double sessions on October 3 & 4.