Louisville coach Rick Pitino is no stranger to the NCAA tournament. As he prepares his team to face the 13th-seeded Manhattan Jaspers in Thursday night’s second round game, it is not the seeding of his team that has Pitino irked. According to a report by the Associated Press on March 20, the Louisville coach is not happy facing his former assistant, Steve Masiello.
As many experts fill Louisville deserved a higher seed, Pitino has no problem where the NCAA selection committee seeded his team. He feels the matchup just doesn’t make any sense.
“I think the pairings sometimes lack common sense. 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.”
He then went on to label the selection committee as “very fair” and as “doing the best job that they can do.” The second round matchup will definitely present some drama as Pitino goes up against a coach he has mentored. The matchup is tough for Louisville because Manhattan plays a similar style as Louisville. It is the personal relationship between Pitino and Masiello that makes it even tougher.
“We press like him, we trap like him, his offensive sets are just like ours,” Pitino said. “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 he national championship and obviously we’re more heralded, but this is anybody’s game. This is not a 1-16.”
For all the reasons Pintino doesn’t like the matchup are the reasons perhaps the committee paired the two teams. It won’t be fun for the coaches trying to beat each other, but it will be fun for the common fan watching the game.
Steve Masiello shares Pintinos sentiments on how the pairing sucks. He told reporters that going up against his mentor “takes the fun out 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.”
Although the NCAA Tournament is filled with emotion, sometimes emotion has to be set aside for the competitive nature of the game. But then again, it is the emotion that makes the games competitive and intriguing to watch.
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