Friday, March 7, 2014

Rick Pitino Talks UConn, Jim Calhoun

Maybe I'm a little biased, growing up a PC Friar fan in the mid-80's. Heck, the guy once gave me a free pair of Converse All-Stars after I dunked a ball at his summer camp in 1987 (a few weeks before he bolted for the Knicks). But I love hearing Rick Pitino talk basketball. Whenever he does, I'm all ears.

UConn faces Louisville for the final time in the regular season as conference opponents on Saturday. Should be a fun one. The Huskies have dropped three straight to the Ville and seven of their last eight meetings -- and you could say they're a Mike Marra free throw away from an eight-game losing streak to the Cards.

Here's what Pitino had to say about UConn at a press conference Friday on the Louisville campus:

(on whether he'll miss not being conference mates with UConn after this season)

“I started off very competitive with Jim Calhoun. BU-Northeastern, we didn’t care for each other very much. Then I became friendly with him, with great respect for him and what type of coach he was. At BU-Northeastern, you’re fighting for page 14 in the Boston Globe, so it was different back then – little jealousies. But I had great respect for him. I’ve always said that (Jerry Tarkanian) and him were the two greatest building jobs I’ve seen in my lifetime. Taking a Yankee Conference school and making it into a national champion. And then Tark building something out of the desert and making it into a national champion. It’s remarkable. Kevin (Ollie), I think the world of. Yes, we’ll miss them, certainly. And I’ll miss the Big East, certainly. But, they’re going to go in their direction and we’re going to go in our direction. Probably football played a great role in everything.”

*** Meanwhile, as things stand now, UConn would play Memphis in the 4-5 game on Thursday night at 9 p.m. (The game will actually start closer to about 9:45 p.m., since the first game of the evening starts at 7 p.m.). The winner, at this point, would likely face Louisville on Friday night, again at 9 (er, 9:45) p.m.)

Memphis is locked into the four or five seed,so it will play in that Thursday night game. UConn could avoid that and be the No. 3 seed if it beats Louisville Saturday and SMU loses at Memphis. In that case, UConn would face Houston at 1 p.m. on Thursday.

All the quarterfinal-round AAC tourney games will be on ESPNU.

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