ESPN messed up with this graphic during Romeo Langford’s high school game on Thursday, which prompted ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan to wonder what life in college basketball would be like if Rick Pitino was still the coach at Kentucky, an especially fitting topic given tomorrow’s showdown in Louisville. Brennan says not only would Pitino have a lot more career wins — maybe creeping up on Coach K’s total — but several career paths would be altered, including Tubby Smith, Billy Gillispie, and John Calipari’s; however, Brennan argues the biggest ramification of Pitino staying at UK might have been on the rivalry with Louisville. I’ll let him explain.
Whatever its other effects, Pitino’s decision to leave Kentucky got him, one way or the other, to Louisville. Where, aided by history, boosted by Calipari’s eventual arrival in the state, and driven by UK fans’ sense of deep personal betrayal, Pitino’s career trajectory sparked a gloriously hateful flame on perhaps the best rivalry in college sports. Both on and off the floor, in the modern game, there’s nothing quite like UL vs. UK.
That is certainly true, although I don’t agree with all of Brennan’s hypothetical conclusions. Regardless, check them all out at the link below.