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By LARRY VAUGHT
LOUISVILLE Ã¢â‚¬â€ Rick Pitino didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t waste any time Friday making it perfectly clear to assess KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 78-63 win over his Louisville Cardinals here.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take any smart answers to figure out they were the better basketball team. They were better on the glass, better executing and played a terrific game,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Pitino. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They have good speed in the open court and execute in the half-court well. They have a heck of a basketball team.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He says one reason is that UK can shoot outside so much better than last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 35-3 team can. That makes it more difficult to double team players inside.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They shoot so well and they can dish to the opposite corner, where last year they couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t (make the shots). It makes them harder to guard than last year. Not that they are a better team, but a different team,Ã¢â‚¬Â Pitino said.
He came away impressed with freshman point guard Brandon Knight, who had 12 points in the first half and 13 in the second half.
“I think he is very good because he is fast, he is under control, he makes it free throws and he shoots it,Ã¢â‚¬Â Pitino said.
However, he was impressed with UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s overall play.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I don’t think they really have a weakness because (DeAndre) Liggins and (Josh) Harrelson are so smart. They don’t have to worry and they really play intelligent defense. They are not going to get in a whole lot of foul trouble,Ã¢â‚¬Â Pitino said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They are in great shape, they play smart and they play well.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I don’t say this in a negative way, but they are going to get better and better in a (Southeastern) conference that is down this year. Next year they could be the best conference in basketball when schools like Auburn start building up. But we are not going to get a break. They are going to get a lot better, we are going to hopefully get better but we are going to face some teams that are going to overpower us a little bit.Ã¢â‚¬Â