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.
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.”
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.