Ryan Pitino explains the chicken suit at the Minnesota game

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During Minnesota’s home Big Ten win over Indiana on Saturday, you could clearly see Louisville head coach Rick Pitino sitting behind the Minnesota bench while his son, Richard, coached the Golden Gophers to victory as a first-year coach at the school.

The elder Pitino is a familiar face and a national-title winning coach, but you probably noticed him on television, behind the Minnesota bench, because his other son, Ryan, was wearing a chicken suit next to his father in support of his brother Richard.

Commentators on the Big Ten Network broadcast quickly questioned the chicken suit and asked if someone had lost a bet, but Ryan Pitino explained the rational for his decision in an interview with ESPN 680’s “The Deener Show”.

“If you’re going to ‘The Barn,’ why not wear a chicken suit?” Ryan Pitino told Deener.

Ryan arranged to wear the chicken suit through Walker Price, a former Louisville video manager that now works at Minnesota as Richard Pitino’s recruiting and operations coordinator. Ryan Pitino picked up the suit and drew the ire of his father, who wasn’t prepared for the chicken suit.

Richard wasn’t exactly all-for the idea either, but Ryan would not be dissuaded by his family:

“I go, ‘I’ve got a chicken suit I’m going to wear. Just don’t worry about it,’ ” Ryan told ESPN 680. “He goes, ‘No you’re not. You can’t do that.’ So I did it, and it turned out to be a pretty funny thing.”

Ryan added: “He noticed right when he walked out for the National Anthem. He gave me a little head nod like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ He enjoyed it after the win, of course.”

The chicken suit may have been semi-controversial in the Pitino household, but Minnesota got the win and Ryan is happy with the joke that he played, so all’s well that ends well.

(H/T: The Courier-Journal)

A record $439 million was bet on basketball in March in Las Vegas

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The month of March was quite friendly to Las Vegas.

According to ESPN, more money was bet on basketball during the month of March than in any month in the state’s regulated sports betting history.

And while the numbers produced by Las Vegas books don’t separate college and professional basketball betting, the money coming in on college hoops is pretty clear: $439 million was bet on basketball in March, more than double the $213 million bet on the sport in February.

It was profitable, too.

Those Vegas books kept more than $40 million dollars of the money that was gambled on basketball, which shattered the previous record of roughly $28 million in winnings.

Gonzaga lands their first post-Final Four commitment

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Gonzaga capitalized on their run to the national title game by landing a commitment from French point guard Joel Ayayi, who announced the news on twitter.

Ayayi is an interesting long-term prospect, according to Draft Express. He has the size and the frame to eventually be a significant contributor in the college game, but he’s raw. His handle needs work, as does his ability to create off the dribble and find teammates off of the bounce.

That said, he’s 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan and the ability to shoot it from the perimeter, and if Gonzaga can do anything, it’s develop players that enter their program.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson, top three prospect in 2018, breaks defender’s ankles

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Zion Williamson, one of the most sought-after recruits in college basketball, had himself a highlight-worthy moment at the Adidas Gauntlet event in Dallas over the weekend, breaking a defender’s ankles before hitting a three.

Illinois lands important commitment from four-star Class of 2017 guard Mark Smith

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Illinois landed a very important Class of 2017 commitment on Wednesday as guard Mark Smith pledged to the Illini.

The 6-foot-4 Smith was previously a Missouri commit for baseball, but some issues with his arm caused him to look back into basketball last summer. A native of Edwardsville, in the St. Louis metro area, Smith came out of nowhere to win the Illinois Mr. Basketball award as a senior this season as he averaged 21.9 points, 8.4 assists and 8.2 rebounds while becoming a consensus national top-100 prospect.

Rivals rates Smith as the No. 52 overall prospect in the Class of 2017 as he could come in and earn immediate minutes at Illinois next season at either guard spot.

This is a very important commitment for head coach Brad Underwood and the Illini as the new head coach was able to hold off some elite programs like Kentucky and Michigan State for Smith’s services.

Northwestern gets commitment from Boston College transfer A.J. Turner

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Northwestern landed a transfer on Wednesday as former Boston College wing A.J. Turner pledged to the Wildcats, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

The 6-foot-7 Turner just finished his sophomore season with the Golden Eagles as he averaged 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. A well-rounded wing who also shot 37 percent from three-point range, Turner will have to sit out one season due to NCAA transfer regulations before getting two more years of eligibility.

With Scottie Lindsay and Vic Law only having limited time left in Evanston, Turner provides a bit of insurance on the wing for the Wildcats for the future as he’s a proven rotation player coming from the ACC.