Remember how Rick Pitino was all complaining about his Louisville squad having to face Manhattan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament? It turns out his concerns were extremely well founded.
Manhattan gave Louisville a heck of a run and was even winning with 2:35 left in the game before the Cardinals pulled away on back-to-back 3-pointers from Luke Hancock. Louisville won the game 71-64, but the contest was much closer than that score indicates. In fact, Pitino said in an interview with TNT after the game that the coaching job by Steve Masiello was one of the best he’d seen during his career.
“That’s one of the best coaching jobs that I’ve seen in my 39 years,” said Pitino. “It was awesome. He just made us have to guard him on the perimeter with four guards. We had a lot of difficulty. We couldn’t go to our matchup zone because they passed so well.”
Pitino continued to praise his former player and assistant.
“They just did everything fantastic. I’m really, really proud. That’s why I didn’t want to play them. Because right now we won, I’m excited, but I feel sick inside losing to one of my players.”
Masiello just completed his third season as head coach of the Jaspers after serving on Pitino’s Louisville staff from 2005-2011. Pitino says he and Masiello are more similar in their coaching styles than him and almost any other former assistant.
“It’s a carbon copy. It’s a compliment to us,” said Pitino.
Now that you have all that background and understand that Pitino was essentially coaching against himself, it makes sense why the game was so tough. We doubt Louisville will have it as difficult in the next round. And if Masiello keeps it up, he won’t be at Manhattan much longer.Google+