Rick Pitino has had many opportunities throughout his coaching career to coach against former assistants and/or former players, most recently beating Billy Donovan in the West regional final in March.
But on December 19th he’ll coach against his son for the first time, as Richard’s FIU squad will visit the KFC Yum! Center.
To say the least this will be a tough match-up on the floor for the younger Pitino, who has a serious rebuilding project on his hands at FIU.
Louisville, on the other hand, is expected by many to be a national title contender after falling to in-state rival Kentucky in the Final Four last season.
While a game like this could serve as a great motivating factor for the son, it’s the father who’s been more vocal about the battle.
Rick Pitino has coached three teams to the Final Four, but he has never coached against a son before — much less a son who was his top assistant on a team that made a stirring run to the Final Four two months ago.
“I never got to spank you as a child, would you like to get a spanking this year?” Rick Pitino texted his son, not long after Richard got the FIU job last month.
“He uses that line all the time on the golf course. He needs some new material. I’m going to ask him, ‘When’s your new album coming out?’ ”
According to Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com Richard had the following response: “At FIU, we let our game do our talking. Not our mouths.”
The only other father vs. son coaching match-up that comes to mind is the 1993 battle between son Jan van Breda Kolff (then at Cornell) and father Butch (then at Hofstra).
The younger van Breda Kolff left the gym victorious on that day, with the Big Red winning by a final score of 70-56.
Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.
For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.
The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.
2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.
3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.
4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.
5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
- No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
- No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.
Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.
But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.
It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:
After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”: