Louisville’s Rick Pitino gets Coaching “Pantsed” at Notre Dame

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There’s only one way to describe what happened to the Louisville Cardinals, and their coach Rick Pitino- a college basketball coaching version of getting “pantsed.” You’ve heard of the term “half-time adjustments,” well what about overtime adjustments.

Pitino and Notre Dame’s Mike Brey traded blows for 40 minutes last night, tied at 74 heading to regulation. Then UL just got absolutely owned at Notre Dame, as the Irish started the extra session on a 14-0 run and folded the cards 89-79.

One of the biggest factors contributing to the outcome was ND switching from man to zone at an opportune time.

“We’re big; that group can play zone. We did not talk about it in the timeout. We kind of changed on the fly, and we did a great job. That is veteran guys making it work. That helped us. It changed their rhythm a little bit,” Brey said postgame.

By Paul M. Banks

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“We certainly defended the last five minutes of the game to get to overtime, and then I thought we were fabulous in overtime. Our seniors finished the game and started the overtime because they felt they could win for us. It was a heck of a game. A lot of toughness and smarts by our group to get out of here with a win.

It’s rare to see a coach with a national title and five Final Fours on his resume (the only coach in history ever to take three different schools: UL, Kentucky, Providence) get so thoroughly out-coached by a guy who’s never been past the sweet 16, but that’s exactly what happened Wednesday night.

“We put in a new offense to go against them and have worked on it the past two weeks. It’s a pure motion offense, and we got the ball inside, made great cuts, and made great plays. In the second half we broke it because it is a new offense and we tried to go too much one-on-one. That was our demise along with certain things defensively that we didn’t do correctly,” Pitino said.

The Irish confounded Pitino on UL’s final possession in regulation; and the mistake may have cost them the game.

“We just wanted to get the last shot. Notre Dame switched to a zone and we were supposed to screen the outside of the zone, and Peyton Siva went to the wrong side of the floor. He should have gone left where we had the overload. But that’s okay. We got a shot up and that’s what we wanted,” said Pitino.

His team will get better though as the season goes on, provided one of his main players, Terrence Jennings, learns how to adjust to the new motion offense. His “buying in” to the system will make or break the Cardinals.

“The whole team played great until the last ten minutes of the second half. I thought the whole team played very gutty. I think the motion is going to be great for us. We need more time to work on it. Terrence Jennings was the only one fighting against it because he didn’t like setting screens, but in basketball the screener is more often more open than the guy he is screening for. The screener is the most dangerous guy on the court. Even though Terrence is old, he still had to learn that.”

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He doesn’t have a real nickname, but he is also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

He does a weekly radio segment on Chicagoland Sports Radio.com and Cleveland.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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