I'm sure Rick Pitino has plenty of headaches. First of all, he's coaching at Louisville, that alone is enough to give anyone a migraine, and second, his team can't shoot -- The Cards are making less than 45% from the field and 31.5% from the 3-point line. UofL does play pretty good defense, though ... that is until Memphis hung 87 on the Cards in Louisville's win over the Tigers at the Yum? Center.
Now if that isn't enough, Pitino has to deal with an evidently supremely confident, yet overly verbose freshman who won't shut up, Chane Behanan. Behanan, who attended Bowling Green High School his junior and senior years after transferring from Cincinnati, recently said the following at a UofL media opportunity:
"We beat Vandy and Memphis, so now we're number one in my eyes. And like I said, we're going undefeated. Point blank. Period."
(OK, wipe off your monitor and pick yourself up off the floor if you must ... and if you don't believe me, if you think I've lost my mind along with Behanan, here's the link).
There are a couple of issues Pitino must now deal with. The first being Mr. Behanan's debating and basketball evaluation skills -- Basing the thought that UofL is "number one" and "going undefeated" on beating a very disappointing, 6-and-4, Festus Ezeli-less Vanderbilt squad, by two-points, at home, is a stretch even Mr. Armstrong would have a difficult time swallowing. In Louisville's "overwhelming" victory over the 'Dores, the Cards shot 41.7% from the field, and an equally mediocre 25% from beyond the arc (5-20). Domination, I say!
Then, in an attempt to bolster UofL's standing, Behanan uses the Cards 95-87 home win over Memphis as fodder to further his claim. The same 5-and-4 Memphis squad which has lost to Murray State (76-72), Georgetown (91-88), and Michigan (73-61). Once again, in their season-making win, the Cards showed the Tigers who the boss is by making 40.0% of their overall shots and 30.4% from the 3-point line (7-23). I can sense the giddiness washing over even the most negative thinking Card fan.
If Louisville could claim victories over, say, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio State, or Syracuse, instead of Ohio (59-54), or UT Martin (83-48), or Arkansas State (54-27), or IUPUI (90-60), then Behanan's prognostication skills might be taken more seriously. But with a challenging Big East schedule on the way, as well as games against Georgetown (UofL's conference opener) and Kentucky coming up before the turn of the 2011 calendar, Behanan will soon discover what big-time college basketball is all about. Also helping Behanan grasp the concept that he's not in high school any longer will be the collegiate road game -- UofL has left the the city limits of Louisville and the comfy confines of the Yum? Center exactly once, having traveled to Indianapolis to play mighty Butler -- with a powerful indoctrination on New Year's Eve in Rupp Arena.
The second, more pressing issue Pitino must deal with is educating his mouthy freshman about what big-time college basketball is NOT about, which is giving one's future opponents motivational bulletin board material. Even if said material is hysterically laughable. Simply put (lord knows we need to keep it simple), it's never good form to guarantee victory in a single game, much less an entire season's worth of games, something I'm sure with the proper Pitino counseling, Behanan will come to understand.
Even though UK and UofL are mortal rivals, I do wish Pitino good luck in dealing with Behanan. He is a talented player who happened to say something very misguided. Unfortunately though, this isn't the first time Behanan has made a questionable decision, he did after all opt to play his college ball at Louisville. Perhaps a troubling pattern of decision-making is emerging, or maybe, Behanan felt as if he fit like a glove into the UofL Cardinal model.
Enjoy, Kentucky fans! Thanks for reading and Go 'Cats!