Vin Parise of College Basketball Talk caught up with Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino, whose Golden Gophers visit No. 14 Iowa Sunday afternoon.
CBT: You guys were picked to finish at the bottom of the Big Ten. Are you surprised your team is 14-4 and just beat No. 11 Ohio State?
Pitino: Honestly, I really thought we were close to getting a signature win – we took Michigan State to overtime on the road and our three losses were against great competition. For us to break through vs Ohio State in front of that electric crowd was tremendous for our guys.
CBT: At what point this season did you think the team may exceed expectations?
Pitino: Early in the year, the Syracuse game in Maui showed our staff a lot. We showed a lot of heart and a ton of potential chemistry moving forward. But the Florida State win at home was our first breakthrough win. They’re a good team that has size at every position and we played great – that’s when I though we had a chance.
CBT: We’ve heard a lot about “The Barn” recently. What is like to coach and play in front of your home crowd?
Pitino: To me it’s like playing your games at Wrigley Field. There is so much tradition that is associated with the building. So many people kept telling me that I hadn’t seen the “real” Barn yet – and they were right. Our Ohio State game the other night showed what I had hoped for. This is one of the best home court atmospheres in the nation.
CBT: Describe the relationship between you and your father during the season?
Pitino: We talk all the time. He watches us play as much as he can. He even made it out here for the South Dakota State game which was great. I’m always picking his brain and asking for honest critiques of our team and that will never change.
CBT: Lastly, your thoughts on Sunday’s matchup with Iowa.
Pitino: They are easily one of the best offensive teams in the country. They have size and strength at every position and cause matchup problems for everyone they face. They’re as good as any team in our league and we’ll have to play a great game Sunday afternoon.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville coach Rick Pitino remains defiant that his program will survive the allegations in a book by an escort alleging that former Cardinals staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.
Pitino said Tuesday that the Cardinals “will get through this the right way.”
The coach told a packed room at a tipoff luncheon that he understands the motivation behind Katina Powell’s book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” but questions the need for the alleged activities given the talent his program has produced.
Pitino added, “We will find out the truth, whatever it may be, and those responsible will pay the price.”
Georgia Tech picked up its third Class of 2016 commitment on Tuesday as the Yellow Jackets landed a pledged from three-star guard Josh Okogie.
The 6-foot-4 guard is considered the No. 143 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016 rankings and Okogie played with a very talented Team CP3 in the Nike EYBL. In 22 games this spring and summer, Okogie averaged 10.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 45 percent from the field.
Okogie joins three-star wing Christian Matthews and four-star big man Romello White in head coach Brian Gregory’s Class of 2016 at Georgia Tech. The group is definitely a solid influx of talent with some coming from successful grassroots programs.