WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Pitino concerned with Faried, not NCAA seed

Louisville coach Rick Pitino has plenty
going on right now, mainly Morehead State and relentless rebounder
Kenneth Faried.
The last thing Pitino wants to worry about is why the Cardinals
received the No. 4 seed in the Southwest region in the NCAA
tournament.
"I could care less about seedings, I could care less about any
of that," Pitino said Monday during a news conference. "I know a
lot more about basketball than the people in that (NCAA tournament
Selection Committee) room and my job is to coach the Xs and Os of
the game.
"I've had to answer stupid e-mails about how could Syracuse be
ranked ahead of us, it's taking my time, and getting under my skin,
so I don't care."
The Cardinals do care about the 6-foot-8 Faried, who leads the
nation with an average of 14.5 rebounds per game.
Louisville (25-9) meets Morehead State (24-9) in Denver on
Thursday.
Pitino knows containing Faried will be a challenge.
"He rebounds more than our two centers and our power forward
combined, so how difficult is that?" Pitino said. "It's a very
difficult assignment for any team, not only us, because our
Achilles' heel has been rebounding, now we've got the greatest
rebounder in the history of the game to go against."
Faried, who passed former Wake Forest All-American Tim Duncan's
rebounding record on Feb. 19, has 478 rebounds so far this season.
Meanwhile the Cardinals' three front line players - centers
Terrence Jennings and Gorgui Dieng and forward Stephan Van Treese -
have a total of 415.
"He's a Dennis Rodman," Pitino said. "He has unbelievable
passion for rebounding, great low-post defensive player. ... He
has, technique wise, all the things you want to see in a great
rebounder. He knows how to go baseline-out. He knows how to change
position to come out of his test tube. He knows how to get position
from a guy's back, and he's relentless. The only time he rests on
the court is on a free throw and on an underneath out-of-bounds
play he'll cop 5 seconds.
"Outside of that he doesn't rest on the basketball court."
Meanwhile, Pitino wants to put to rest any talk that his team is
underseeded after a surprising season in which the Cards began
unranked but ended up finishing third in the Big East during the
regular season and runner-up in the league's postseason tourney.
"All that stuff is for ESPNU late at night when you have no
life," Pitino said. "We're extremely proud where we are. We don't
do anything about political elections, we just worry about
basketball."
Morehead State and Louisville are familiar with each other, and
similar in some ways.
The Cardinals clobbered Morehead State 74-54 in the first round
of the 2009 NCAA tournament in Dayton after leading by just two
points (35-33) at halftime.
"We were up two (at halftime) the last time we played them with
two lottery picks (Terrence Williams and Earl Clark) and the
(tournament's overall) No. 1 seed," Pitino said. "They're a much
better team now because their better players are seniors and we're
not as good as that team and we understand that, from a physical
standpoint."
A couple of years ago the two coaching staffs traded notes and
ideas.
"Their defensive system is as close to ours as any other
basketball team, they're almost twins," Pitino said. "Now their
offense is a lot different than ours, but defensively we're twins.
"They've got great talent, great experience and we have
ourselves one tough ball game."


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