Initially I was sure that Louisville coach Rick Pitino would relish the opportunity to play his former employer for a chance to go the National Title game. There are so many reasons why he should. First, no matter what he says publicly, he hates John Calipari with a passion. And why shouldn’t he? If Calipari wins his first title on Monday night, he would, in fact, be just as a successful as Pitino in Pitino’s former position. If it were a talk show, Calipari would be sleeping with Pitino’s ex-wife. It’s a Jerry Springer segiment sans the sex (in Cal’s case), without all the “Oh no you didn’t’s”, with the addition of a couple of All-Americans. This would be a chance for Pitino to take down Calipari in the most important place in Calipari’s professional career which even surpasses the fact that Calipari is now coaching for the University of Kentucky. Secondly, its a chance to get Louisville back in the forefront of college basketball. It’s no secret Pitino struggles to recruit in today’s college basketball world. What better way to get back in competition for five-star high school basketball players than to take down the guy who gets them all? Lastly, if you somehow take down Kentucky, everything that you have done wrong in Louisville would be instantly forgiven. No one would even care who Karen Sypher is anymore, let alone read her Guilty Until Proven Innocent “biography.” There are just too many incentives, including the fact that a national title is at stake.
A quote from Pitino in today’s press conference tells me that this is not only his worst nightmare, but I don’t think he thinks his team has a chance to win tomorrow night.
When asked about the rivalry and the game against Kentucky he says, “if we can’t bring it back, I hope they do.”
Really, Rick? Louisville fans should just quit while you are ahead in the trash-talking department, because this is the definition of “loser talk.”
It is not Pitino’s fault that an overachieving Louisville team ran into its biggest rival in the Final Four. Its certainly not his fault that the rival happens to be the best team in the nation this year. But it is Pitino’s fault that he doesn’t show confidence in his team to the media and their fans.
Good luck, Louisville. You are gonna need it.