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Richard Pitino downplays distraction of facing Louisville

Larry Brown Sports logo Larry Brown Sports 3/20/2019 Grey Papke, Larry Brown Sports
Richard Pitino holding a microphone © Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of people couldn’t help but laugh when the selection committee paired Richard Pitino’s Minnesota Golden Gophers with the Louisville Cardinals, the team that fired his father Rick over a recruiting scandal, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Richard Pitino, however, says he’s putting any other angle aside other than beating his opponent, and he’s not distracted by the off-court storyline.

“When you see Louisville pop up, you’re more about, ‘What am I going to say to the media? How am I going to lie to the media?'” Pitino said, via Adam Teicher of ESPN.

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“From an emotions standpoint, when you play in the Big Ten, there are so many emotional games. I learned that,” the Minnesota coach added. “I’m only 36. That’s a young head coach. But you have to keep your emotions in check. I think I do a pretty decent job of that.

“When I’m watching film and I’m watching Louisville play, it’s about not really what the name on the front of the jersey is, but I’m watching a really good team in Louisville, a really well-prepared and well-coached team with a lot of good talent and how can I put myself in a position to help our team beat them?”

Pitino added that he’d only spoken to his father, who is currently coaching in Greece, once since Selection Sunday, and they discussed the status of Minnesota, not Louisville.

There is no love lost between Rick Pitino and Louisville, and Richard has defended his father. He may not say so, but he’d probably enjoy the victory over Louisville if he can get it.

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