No. 1 Louisville beats UConn 73-58
By JIM O'CONNELL
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Louisville passed its first test as the No. 1 team in the country, beating Connecticut with a spirited second half.
Next comes No. 6 Syracuse on Saturday after a 73-58 win Monday night.
There are a bunch of other tough games in the next few weeks, so it's no wonder Cardinals coach Rick Pitino says it will be like "musical chairs" on top of the rankings. But with star guards Russ Smith and Peyton Siva orchestrating the offense and defense, Pitino said there's nothing wrong with staying on top for a while.
"You played a great schedule, so you're very deserving of that," he told his team about the No. 1 ranking, the second in school history. "Why don't you hold on to that for a little while? It's going to leave you, but you're going to play for it at the end ... which is the most important thing. So hold on to it for a while."
Point guard and Big East preseason player of the year Peyton Siva isn't a fan of what comes with being No. 1, but he'll suffer through it for his teammates.
"I don't really like it, because it puts a big bull's eye on your back," he said. "But my team embraces it. They play with that chip on their shoulder like they should be No. 1 and in the second half, we proved it."
He was talking about the Cardinals' victory over Connecticut.
Connecticut, which shot 53.8 percent from the field in the first half, had just three field goals in the opening 13 minutes of the second half as Louisville went ahead 60-44. The Huskies, who went 9 minutes without a field goal at one stretch, had trouble moving the ball against the fullcourt pressure and 2-3 zone of the Cardinals. The Huskies had seven turnovers in the first 11 minutes of the second half, matching their total in the first half.
"In the second half, we came out and we put it all together," Siva said. "The second half, I just tried to get everybody going."
Louisville shot 60.7 percent in the second half (17 of 28) and hit an even 50 percent for the game.
"They deserve the No. 1 ranking," Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie said. "They have talent. They play together. They play hard. Whoever's open, they get the ball to. And they have those two amazing guards. Siva and Russ put pressure on our offense and defense the whole night."
Russ Smith had 23 points and Siva managed 11 in a foul-plagued 22 minutes for the Cardinals, who were playing just hours after they moved to the top of the poll.
The Cardinals (16-1, 4-0 Big East) won their 11th straight game.
Omar Calhoun led the Huskies (12-4, 2-2) with 20 points while Shabazz Napier added 12, all but two in the first half. Ryan Boatright had 11 points and he and Napier both had six assists for the Huskies, who were coming off a win over then-No. 17 Notre Dame that was their sixth in seven games.
The Huskies shot 25.9 percent in the second half (7 of 27) and were at 39.6 percent for the game.
Calhoun gave his opinion of Louisville being No. 1.
"You ain't going to play a team better than that," he said.
Connecticut dropped to 2-7 all-time against No. 1 teams, with the last win over Texas on Jan. 23, 2010.
Updated January 15, 2013
We check in for our weekly update from Bill Belichick and get his take on the Pats win over the Texans on the road, the benching of Stevan Ridley, and Antonio Smith's thinly veiled Spygate comments after the Texans lost.
Patriots’ defensive end, Rob Ninkovich, joins Mut and Merloni on a Patriots Monday after the team’s victory in Houston. Rob addresses the postgame comments of Texans’ defensive lineman Antonio Smith and the defense struggling against the run.
Tom Brady joined the show fresh off the teams 9th win of the season in Houston. He dismissed Antonio Smith's spying allegations and told the guys he has already moved on.
Eagle checks in to give Grande and Max a perspective on the Brooklyn Nets after they acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett via trade earlier this summer. He breaks down what he thinks the future holds for the Nets after completing this blockbuster deal.
Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell take some time and look back at the history between the Celtics and the Lakers, specifically the legendary rivalry between Magic and Bird. Legendary broadcaster, Ian Eagle, checks in to give the Brooklyn perspective as KG and Paul Pierce settle into their new home. Sean and Max also reveal the behind the scenes details surrounding Max’s famous “I got the ball” moment.
In the first hour of this edition of the Celtics Summer Cooler, Grande and Max analyze the trade that sent Fab Melo out of Boston. Also in this hour, Max sets the story straight about his history with Larry Bird.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier talk with Jon Lester about contract negotiations, losing a teammate like Jacoby Ellsbury, the World Series run, and looking ahead to 2014.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are back witht he Hot Stove Show. They talk about Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the New York Yankees, the Red Sox signings of AJ Pierzynski and Edward Mujica, and wrap it up with Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester, who talks about the World Series run, losing a teammate like Ellsbury and looking towards 2014.
The Red Sox new catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, joined the show to discuss his reputation as the most hated man in baseball. He also said that he turned down multi-year deals to come and win in Boston.
Shawn Thornton joined the show and discussed the teams long layoff leading into their game tomorrow night in Montreal. He told the guys that he anticipates fighting being a part of hockey for years to come.
Lucic joins Danny Picard to talk some hockey after the team’s overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Danny asks Lucic about David Krejci’s game winner yesterday and hockey outsiders that are trying to change the game.
Shawn Thornton joined the show fresh off his big night at MSG and talked about his recent goal scoring prowess. Shawn said that no matter who his line mates are he is always going to be a fourth liner.
Kirk Minihane answered any and all questions from the listeners and John and Gerry.
The New York Post's Joel Sherman joined the show with his thoughts on jacoby Ellsbury's signing with the Yankees. He said that if it were up to him he would have given the money to Robinson Cano over Ellsbury.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. They discussed how Ron Burgundy has officially jumped the shark and played sound of him on Dan Patrick.
Peter King joins Mut and Merloni to go across the NFL and address the latest news. He discusses Kubiak's firing, Tomlin's fine, and Dennard's possible suspension.
Brick makes his weekly appearance on Mut and Merloni and discusses the Bruins loss to Montreal and the hit on Johnny Boychuck.
Michael Fabiano, fantasy expert and Yankees fan, gives his opinion on the Cano signing, discusses Julian Edelman's rising fantasy value, and actually suggests starting Ryan Fitzpatrick
We check in with Herm Edwards on the Pats, Stevan Ridley, and a great many things around the NFL.
We stir up a pot of crap when we debate the world cup and the popularity of soccer... pro callers, con-callers, plus Jack Edwards!
We tackle four topics at 4PM.
Ryder talks with WEEI.com's Chris Price about the Patriots upcoming game with the Cleveland Browns, and Stevan Ridley's status on the team.
Alex joins the show and gives his thoughts on the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, and what prospects the Red Sox have to fill the hole left in the lineup, or trade pieces to get a player who can fill the void.
John talks to Rob and gets his thoughts on the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox signing AJ Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing with Miami.
The Red Sox new catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, joined the show to discuss his reputation as the most hated man in baseball. He also said that he turned down multi-year deals to come and win in Boston.More from this show
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. Today the guys discussed the first ever dog custody battle in New York City.More from this show
Kirk Minihane answered any and all questions from the listeners and John and Gerry.More from this show