Louisville is ranked No. 5 in the country and just ran through the American Athletic Conference Tournament, but they’re not in strong consideration to receive a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament this year. Coach Rick Pitino thinks that should change.
Pitino believes the Cardinals deserve a 1 seed rather than the 2 or 3 they’re projected to get.
“I judge it from the eye test,” Pitino said after Saturday’s win over UConn via WDRB. “Now understand something, every analyst has an agenda, every coach has an agenda.
“Do I think we should be? Yes. Do I think we will be? No.”
Maybe Louisville’s strength of schedule is keeping them from receiving a higher seed, but it’s hard to argue against what they’ve accomplished.
They destroyed competition in the AAC Tournament. They’ve beaten UConn three times. They won 12 of their last 13 games. But they did lose non-conference games to Kentucky and North Carolina, and their conference blemishes include losses to Cincinnati and two to Memphis. Ultimately, the seed they receive may not matter if they’re as good as Pitino believes they are.
Rick Pitino: coaching legend. Richard Pitino: emerging coach. Ryan Pitino: chicken suit wearer.
Yes, Rick Pitino was in Minnesota to watch his son’s team take on Indiana on Saturday. Big Ten Network cameras captured him in the crowd seated next to a guy in a chicken suit, who turned out to be his son, Ryan.
No word yet on exactly why Ryan was wearing the costume, but there is some speculation that it relates to him dressing up appropriately for a game at Williams Arena, which is known as “The Barn.” The Big Ten Network announcers also speculated that he may have lost a bet.
So far the media seems split on the reason for the chicken suit.
Maybe Ryan was just part of the halftime entertainment.
Let me start off by saying I’m a huge fan of 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston’s “Toucher and Rich Show.” Fred Toettcher and Rich Shertenlieb have had me to the point of tears on many occasions from laughing so hard. But when a friend told me the popular shock jocks had Rick Pitino on for an interview on Thursday morning just so they could tell him he stinks and hang up on him, I honestly didn’t believe it.
There had to have been more to it than that, right? Wrong. According to CBS Boston, Toettcher — aka “Toucher” — primed his colleagues up for the interview by encouraging them to prepare some tough questions for Pitino, who agreed to the interview so he could promote a new book he has coming out. Here’s how the interview went:
Toucher: We are joined by Rick Pitino, former coach of the Celtics, current coach of the Louisville Cardinals who won the national championship. Rick Pitino, hello!
Pitino: Morning, guys.
Toucher: You stink. You ruined the Celtics.
Here is the audio of the interview, which Deadspin passed along:
And that was that. Fred then cued up the show’s final segment as his co-host and co-workers laughed hysterically. As most of you know, Pitino recently won a national championship with Louisville and is a Hall of Fame college coach. His tenure with the Boston Celtics was forgettable, to say the least.
These guys will do pretty much anything for a laugh. Toucher and Rich once hung up on Bill Walton because they didn’t like the way he was gushing about the Los Angeles Lakers when they beat the Celtics in the NBA Finals, so this shouldn’t really shock anyone. That being said, they had to have their people set up an interview with Pitino and keep him completely in the dark to pull it off. Some people will find that hilarious. Plenty of others will think it was classless and uncalled for.
Rick Pitino is still winning. The veteran coach won his first national championship with the Louisville Cardinals last month and reeled in his first marlin earlier this week.
As you can see from the photo above that Jody Demling of the Cardinal Authority shared with us, Pitino went fishing in the Bahamas with a group of friends and caught an 80-pound fish. He said it was the first time he and his friends went marlin fishing. Apparently they’re a bunch of naturals. Here’s another shot of the monster:
One of the motivational tactics Rick Pitino decided to use with his 2013 national champion Louisville squad was the promise of a tattoo. Pitino promised his players that he would get a tattoo commemorating their tournament run if they ended up cutting down the nets, and the 60-year-old kept his word.
As you can see from the photo above that Louisville senior associate athletic director of media relations Kenny Klein posted on Friday morning, Pitino got a Louisville logo, the words “NCAA Champions” and his team’s 2012-2013 season record on his back left shoulder. Here’s another angle that gives you a better idea of how big the tattoo is:
Rick Pitino freaked out when he heard fireworks (aka confetti cannons) after Louisville beat Michigan 82-76 to win the national championship game.
It’s that sort of reaction time that keeps a man alive at war … or in the hood.
Below in GIF form:
Rick Pitino was looking rather, umm, pale, during the national championship game Monday, and the Internet took notice. The Louisville coach morphed into a vampire while witnessing Michigan’s explosive first half, leading to a solid meme:
Rick Pitino and Mike Krzyzewski may be in competition with each other, but they are also friends who have immense respect for one another.
The friendship between Pitino and Coach K began after their teams competed in the 1992 East Region finals of the NCAA tournament. Krzyzewski’s Duke squad beat Pitino’s Kentucky team 104-103 on Christian Laettner’s famous shot. The game is considered to be one of the best in college basketball history.
On Sunday their teams met in the regional finals, marking the first time the coaches have faced each other in the NCAA tournament since that game. Pitino’s Louisville squad got the best of Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils 85-63 to even things out between them.
Pitino and Krzyzewski had nothing but praise for each other before the game. Pitino, now the coach at Louisville, even called Coach K “the modern-day John Wooden.”
“He’s the modern-day John Wooden. He’s a true winner on and off the court,” Pitino said of Krzyzewski in an interview with CBS before the game.
“What I love about him, too, is that when he loses, he’s a gracious loser. He doesn’t give you the blow by handshake. He’ll stay there, he’ll congratulate you, he’ll praise you in the press conference. So he has it all together.”
Pitino expounded on their friendship while meeting with the media Saturday.
“We’ve been friends from that point on,” Pitino said, via The Lexington Herald-Leader. “Both of us looked at the game a lot different than the Kentucky fans or, for that matter, the Duke fans. Both of us just sat back and coached and watched an incredible offensive display.
“Any time you write a whole book about one game, it’s kind of special.”
Comparing someone to Wooden is about as strong of praise as you can get. Wooden won 10 national championships at UCLA and was considered to have character as strong as his coaching ability. But Coach K isn’t too far off from Wooden. He has reached eight championship games, won four national titles, and his 11 Final Four appearances are one shy of tying Wooden’s record 12. He’ll have to wait another year before having a chance to match Wooden.
Louisville lost its second straight tough game in a row on Tuesday night, this time at the hands of Villanova. Over the weekend, the Cardinals lost a tough home game to No. 6-ranked Syracuse. However, the Wildcats are a team they should have beaten. Had they been more successful from the charity stripe, Rick Pitino’s team may have come away with a win.
Louisville hit only 12 of its 24 free throw attempts, and Pitino was livid about it after the game. So livid, in fact, that he decided to take it out on Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard.
“It was really a simple answer to why we lost,” Pitino told reporters, via the Courier-Journal. “Basically we were Dwight Howard or Shaquille O’Neal. We came down we had a six-point lead and it could have been eight. Could have kept coming down and extending it but our free throws were a turnover. Very simple answer for why we lost. Our foul shooting was despicable.”
The final score was 73-64, so obviously the free throws the Cardinals missed were crucial. Louisville missed the front end of a one-and-one on two occasions down the stretch, which made it incredibly difficult to close out a game that they led in the second half. At one point, forward Chane Behanan missed five free throws in a row.
The Cardinals has lost two games since being ranked No. 1 in the nation, and they have not gotten off to a good start in Big East play. If they don’t solve their free-throw shooting woes going forward, they’ll be in danger of falling even further.
Chest bump to The Dagger
Most of us are familiar with Rick Pitino the championship-winning college basketball coach, but very few of us know Rick Pitino the horse enthusiast. Two of Pitino’s horses are currently being trained by thoroughbred trainer Randy Bradshaw, and he recently asked the Louisville coach for help in naming the pair of two-year-old colts. Natually, Pitino named them after his players.
“The Bellamy Road colt was a spectacular big, big colt,” Pitino said according to the Courier-Journal. “He was lanky, had great potential and goes the distance. I said I got the perfect name for him. I said ‘Gorgui.'”
Of course, Pitino is referring to his 6-foot-11 big man, Gorgui Dieng. He led the team in rebounds and set a school record for blocked shots in a single season. It sounds like he’s deserving of the honor, but don’t worry — Pitino didn’t forget about his back court.
“(The second horse is) very, very quick — has a great first step, so to speak,” Pitino explained. “I said I got the perfect name there, too.”
Pitino named the other horse “Siva,” after guard Peyton Siva. As you know, the Cardinals got hot at the right time last season and charged their way all the way to a Final Four appearance. Many great players have played under Pitino, but obviously this crew left a lasting impression. You don’t just going throwing names at your horses unless they mean something.
H/T Game On!
Photo credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE