Blog Entry

Pitino: SEC is 'second-rate' basketball league

Posted on: June 10, 2011 10:31 am
By Matt Norlander

Rick Pitino's capability for a good quote has too often gone overlooked. Thankfully, in the doldrums of June, college basketball's second-worst month of the year (only August is worse), Pitino has delivered some fighting words. Words that will have some lasting impact by the time Kentucky and Louisville play each other around New Year's Eve.

And the words aren't even directed at Kentucky -- they're a shot at the SEC. The Louisville coach sent a verbal barb flying Wednesday in the direction of the conference, a clear response to something John Calipari said last week.

After the SEC ditched its two-division format, opting to have one league with 12 teams, giving the league a better chance at more NCAA tournament teams, Cal said, "This is no knock on the Big East but they’ve had 19 teams in the tournament the last two years and how many have made it by the first round? How is this happening? When they start playing each other they say the 11th team is really good. What? We have to figure out how you play the best schedule you can play and still win. That’s different for all of us. I think that’s more important than 16 or 18 (conference) games." 

Card Chronicle also brings up the fact Calipari, in March, said the Big East is a product of "media hype." So Pitino, the former Kentucky coach who led them to a title in '96, clearly knew what he was doing when he said this:

The coach jabbed back just a bit tonight at a Cardinal Caravan event in Shelbyville. When introducing his son, Richard, to the crowd, he said:

"(Richard) went away for a couple of years to learn how to do things in a second-rate league, then get back to the big time."

Richard Pitino spent the past two seasons in the SEC as an assistant under Billy Donovan, a Pitino disciple. It's as much a playful jab as it is an under-the-surface shot. And a truthful one. The Big East has been a better league than the SEC for most of its existence. Undeniable. And Kentucky, you'll remember, saw its 2011 season end in the Final Four at the hands of Connecticut, a Big East team.

Photo: AP

Since: Jan 27, 2011
Posted on: June 12, 2011 5:11 pm

Pitino: SEC is 'second-rate' basketball league

You must have the reading comprehension of a rock.  He did not say UK was second-rate, he said the SEC is second rate.  You pull out all this UK vs U of L stuff, but guess what, Pitiino did not comment on that.  He made the truthful statement that the SEC, in basketball, is second rate.  You can spin that all you want, but the truth is that the last few years the SEC has been horrible in basketball.  No one from the SEC West made the NCAA last year.  They were truly awful.  And the 9th place team in the Big East won the NCAA, so I guess the Big East is not too overrated.  And UK was 0-2 against the team that finished 9th in the Big East last year.

And UK fans wonder why the entire rest of the nation laughs at them.  It ain't jealousy.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: June 12, 2011 4:59 pm

Pitino: SEC is 'second-rate' basketball league

Real classy coming from a guy with friends in the SEC. Of course, who would expect class from a head coach screwing someone other than his wife in a restaurant. WOW! Good luck with that class act, Louisville.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: June 12, 2011 4:58 pm

Pitino: SEC is 'second-rate' basketball league

Yeah, all the poor SEC does is winning national championships... MORE THAN THAT SECOND-RATE AND OVERRATED BIG LEAST.

Since: Dec 8, 2008
Posted on: June 12, 2011 4:27 pm

Pitino: SEC is 'second-rate' basketball league

Not to mentiom that Kentucky was knocked out of post-season tournaments by Big East teams in five of the last six seasons.

Did I meantion five of six? :)

Since: May 29, 2011
Posted on: June 12, 2011 4:08 pm

Pitino: SEC is 'second-rate' basketball league

SEC is over rated in football to, most of the teams in SEC football do not play good team out side there own conference ,FL has not played a non-conference team out of the state of FL in over 20 because thay are scared to

Since: Dec 8, 2008
Posted on: June 12, 2011 4:07 pm

Pitino: SEC is 'second-rate' basketball league

The final 2010-2011 Sagarin Ratings, which do as good a job at predicting winners as any:
1 BIG EAST = 84.76 83.91 ( 2) 16 84.16 ( 2)
2 BIG TEN = 84.06 84.30 ( 1) 11 84.24 ( 1)
3 BIG 12 = 81.75 82.11 ( 3) 12 82.00 ( 3)
4 ATLANTIC COAST = 81.49 81.34 ( 4) 12 81.45 ( 4)
5 PACIFIC-10 = 80.25 80.24 ( 5) 10 80.24 ( 5)
6 SOUTHEASTERN = 79.63 79.53 ( 6) 12 79.57 ( 6)

Ouch, babe...

Since: Jan 2, 2011
Posted on: June 12, 2011 3:39 pm

Pitino: SEC is 'second-rate' basketball league

The big east is a product of ESPN.  It is so overrated.  They get the most teams in every year and never get past the second round.  Knocked off by nobodys year in year out.  Uconn was an exception, they were on a run.  Plus Calhoun is a a cheatn dirtbag.

Since: Sep 26, 2008
Posted on: June 12, 2011 3:26 pm

Pitino: SEC is 'second-rate' basketball league

Loserville isn't even the SECOND best team in the state of Kentucky. That would be Morehead.......BWAHH  HAHAHAHAHA

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: June 12, 2011 3:15 pm

Pitino: SEC is 'second-rate' basketball league

Really? Well, the SEC and Big East are tied in the head to head "SEC/Big East Invitational" over the past few years. As a matter of fact, the SEC beat the Big East in the "challenge" last year with a 3-1 mark.

Since: Mar 30, 2009
Posted on: June 12, 2011 11:11 am

Pitino: SEC is 'second-rate' basketball league

Did you guys hear about UK's new TV schedule?  Yeah.... All games will now be aired on Comedy Central.

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