Rick Pitino is back with another blog. In this edition Coach Pitino talks about his strategy behind beating Duke, Mangok’s progress, Pitt, Senior Night, and Ralph Willard.
Another magical home victory for us against Duke. Every opponent is different. You examine each team with meticulous preparation in not only what they do physically, but find out where they are mentally and emotionally.
We knew Duke would be motivated to give it their all, but with a short bench. We had to try and physically wear them out. Emotionally, coming off a tremendous road victory against a rival, most teams could be affected. That’s not going to happen with a Coach K team. That being said, you not only have to wear them out with defensive pressure, but offensive paint touches. We had our run and it proved to be the difference maker to turn the game in our favor. Duke will get healthy at the right time.
It’s interesting with Mangok, who was supposed to be out 6-8 weeks. He just started doing drills and is not even close to being ready and it’s been nine weeks. I believe Amile Jefferson of Duke has a similar injury.
Pittsburgh is another difficult road game. They are #1 in the ACC in bench scoring (26.4 points per game) and are an excellent foul shooting team, ranking sixth in the nation in assisted field goals made. You won’t find any more difficult road games than our next three.
Let’s get ready for senior night!
Damion and Trey will leave a great mark on all of us. They leave with so many positives. It was truly an honor and privilege to coach them. Besides Dillon, Trey , and Damion, we will also say goodbye to three awesome managers: Michael Brooks from Grayson, Ky., Patrick Reilingh from Pleasantville, N.Y., and Drew Wagner from Louisville.
Also, I asked Ralph Willard to come in for one year and help us build another contender. Although we will not get a chance to compete for a national title, Ralph brought so much knowledge to all of our players. He will be missed, but his return to Florida to continue hustling people on the golf course is a must.