A freshly cut net draped around his neck, Louisville junior guard Peyton Siva clutched the Big East tournament MVP trophy.
Not bad for a player who nearly was forced to grab something else a few weeks back by Louisville coach Rick Pitino: A spot on the bench. It's not clear what a healthy, confident and composed Siva will mean to the Cardinals come NCAA tournament time, but that combo was enough to push Louisville to its second Big East title in three years, capped by a 50-44 victory at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
"He (Pitino) was going to take me out of the starting lineup once, but he told me he had faith in me," Siva said. "He said it was a brand new season and told me to focus on my defense and pushing the tempo. It was hard for me."
Siva, who was picked by some experts to be the top point guard in the nation this season, sprained his left ankle during practice on Nov. 14. He was forced to sit out two games because of to the injury and it ...