Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rick Pitino blasts NCAA about Louisville-Manhattan matchup: Report

After insisting he doesn’t care about his team's No. 4 seeding in the NCAA Tournament, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino laid into the NCAA selection committee for matching him up against his friend and former assistant Steve Masiello in the opening round-of-64 game.

Pitino brushed off the low seed, but didn’t hold back regarding his displeasure at his defending national championship team being matched up with 13th-seeded Manhattan and Masiello. He went so far as to call it “unjust” because of how close he is to the Manhattan coach.

“I don’t think it’s right for either one of us,” he said. “I don’t know why (the selection committee) would do it.”

Besides the snub and the awkward matchup with Pitino's protege, the committee also placed Louisville in a bracket with a potential Midwest-region semifinal matchup against a bitter rival — Kentucky.


Masiello, himself, has also been suggesting for days that playing against Pitino — “a man who means so much to me,” has taken some of the fun out of this trip to the tournament for him.

The Jaspers coach wasn't shy about the fact that he’s copied most everything Louisville does and kidded at his press conference that he has changed everything this week, installing a triangle-and-two zone defense in place of his full-court press.

“Louisville has been the brand that I’ve tried to model (his program) after,” Masiello said on Wednesday.

But there is also the matter of Manhattan dealing now with a Louisville team that is playing its best ball of the season, winning 12 of its last 13 games, and coming into the tournament with something to prove.

Even after remarking “it doesn’t bother me, it really doesn’t,” Pitino said just enough about the lower seed to make it clear Louisville feels disrespected.

“I think everybody else is more shocked than I was,” Pitino said. “Sometimes when people say you fit the eye test (as a No. 1 seed), it depends who’s looking at it. If you have a bunch of football ADs looking at it, how would they know what the eye test is?

“But the selection committee is very fair, very honorable, so I can’t protest too much because they’re doing the best job they can do. Maybe they’re a bunch of soccer ADs, I don’t know.”

Yeah, he's peeved.

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