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Which Cardinal tends to give Pitino a ‘nervous breakdown’?


Mike Miller

See that expression from Louisville coach Rick Pitino? That was fairly standard on Sunday.

The Cardinals kept frittering away leads against Pitt, which kept angering Pitino at various points. Here he’s yelling at senior Chris Smith, but the main target of his ire was sophomore Russ Smith, who led all scorers with 18 points, but his goofs almost cost Louisville its 57-54 win. When he almost fouled a Pitt player in the final minute with a needless reach, it was almost too much.

“It’s so difficult with him,” Pitino said. “It really is. I’ve never known what a nervous breakdown is, but coaching him almost daily I feel like I’m going to have a nervous breakdown.”

Smith – equally likely to burn the Cards as he is opponents – says he doesn’t try to frustrate his coach. It’s just how he is. It’s hard to stay mad at him, though, especially when he can go off for nine straight points. And to think, Pitino wants his team to play even faster!

Perhaps Louisville (22-7, 10-6 in Big East) won’t have as frustrating a day when South Florida rolls around on Wednesday. A win would help the Cards’ cause for a double-bye in the Big East tournament. A loss would end it.

Guessing a loss also would create more exasperated looks.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.