Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino not pleased with Louisville’s first-round game with Manhattan


When the 2014 NCAA Tournament bracket came out on Sunday, many were critical of defending champion Louisville’s No. 4 seed.

The Cardinals are a popular pick to make their third straight Final Four — despite the No. 4 seed — but Louisville head coach Rick Pitino isn’t concerned about the Cardinals’ seed, he’s more worried about first-round opponent, No. 13 seed Manhattan.

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That’s because Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello is a former Louisville assistant coach who also played for Pitino at Kentucky. Pitino made some interesting remarks about the first-round matchup in a story from the AP:

“I think the pairings sometimes lack common sense,” Pitino said. “I don’t think they would put somewhere down the road Duke-North Carolina, so … the matchups don’t make sense to me. I’m OK with the seedings. I’m not OK with the matchups.

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

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The big issue with Louisville facing Manhattan? Both teams play similar styles of play, according to Pitino.

“We press like him, we trap like him, his offensive sets are just like ours,” Pitino said of Masiello. “That’s why I don’t like the game. I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t like it. I don’t know why they would do it.

“I just don’t like the game at all, for either one of us. We won the national championship and obviously we’re more heralded, but this is anybody’s game. This is not a 1-16.”

Pitino wasn’t the only one disappointed in the matchup. Masiello wasn’t happy with the matchup for Manhattan, either, and not because the Cardinals are so talented and the defending champion.

“To see them come up and then see us come up against them, it takes a little fun out of it,” Masiello said of the game. “It’s just, that’s not fun for me going against someone that I have to now try to beat, and almost in my mind, think negatively about. It’s hard for me to do that.” 

Louisville is set to tip-off with Manhattan in Orlando at approximately 9:50 p.m. on Thursday night in the Midwest Region.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.