Pitino is a name synonymous with Louisville basketball, but it was the Cardinals' bane in Thursday's first game of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Richard Pitino, the Minnesota coach and son of legendary Louisville coach Rick Pitino, led the Gophers over the Cardinals 86-76
The No. 10-seeded Gophers led by as many as 19 points in the second half en route to the first NCAA Tournament victory under Pitino.
Richard Pitino was asked after the game about whether or not he'd get anything from his dad for the win or if he felt specific emotions about beating the school that fired his father.
"The focus was on preparing," Richard Pitino told reporters after the game. ". It didn't matter who we played. I'm proud of our players. I'm proud of our university that they can be a part of this. They can come drive over to Des Moines, so it's not really anything extra. That's always been my mentality. I try not to get too high. I try not to get too low."
Minnesota's Jordan Murphy added that this game was about surviving and advancing -- not the Pitino name.
"Like I said earlier, two days ago, this wasn't really about getting a win for Coach P," Murphy said. "It was about getting a win for our team in general and making sure we advance to the next round. I think that was what makes him happy and that's what makes our teammates happy."
Minnesota took a five-point lead into the half 38-33 and in the second half the floodgates opened. Minnesota shot 32.1 percent from beyond in the arc in the regular season and made just five 3-pointers per game, but against No. 6 seeded Louisville they were 11 of 27 from deep.
"I think it just happened," Pitino said. "It wasn't anything that we necessarily saw. It's a confidence builder. Gabe (Kalscheur) is a great shooter. [Murphy] chipping in with two. That's an addition, but we stuck with our offensive flow and I don't think it was anything necessarily that they did. We were just confident with open shots."
Defensively, Minnesota stifled Louisville. Duane Sutton was held in check with three points, well off of his 10.2 points per game.
Rick Pitino coached the Cardinals for 16 years, so it's poetic to see Minnesota get the upset.