ESPN's Jay Bilas calls out NCAA for making Gophers face Louisville under cloud of Pitino drama

Bilas says the selection committee made the matchup in poor taste.
Author:
Publish date:

ESPN's top college basketball analyst is displeased that the NCAA Selection Committee didn't find a way to keep Minnesota from playing Louisville in the first round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. 

"The biggest one that I thought was totally unnecessary was pitting Louisville against Minnesota in the 7-10 game," Bilas said on PodcastOne's "Sports Now." "Everybody knows the history of his father and how it ended at Louisville, and that was just unnecessary."

Rather than a matchup between two power conference schools, the biggest storyline for Thursday's 11:15 a.m. game is how Gophers coach Richard Pitino is facing the university that fired his father, Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino. 

Bilas added that the selection committee has the ability to move schedules and adjust teams so it's fair to every invitee, throwing out Brigham Young University as an example where in past tournaments they're never asked to play on Sunday's to the Mormon faith. 

"It's just a bad look and it's unnecessary. Don't tell me that was lost on 10 people plus the administrators that are in the room there," said Bilas, referencing the selection committee. 

"They could've moved that if they wanted to and nobody would've known. They chose to do it this way and I think it was in poor taste." 

Related: Selection committee called out for Minnesota-Louisville matchup

Rick Pitino was fired in October 2017 just weeks after Louisville became the subject of a federal bribery and fraud investigation. The firing led to Pitino suing the school for breach of contract. 

Richard Pitino, in his sixth season at the University of Minnesota, has made it clear that Thursday's game against Louisville isn't about him or his father. 

"It’s not going to be about me," Pitino said Sunday. "I’m not going to be: ‘It’s revenge’ or anything like that. It’s about our players, it’s about this program. We worked really, really hard to put ourselves in position to be one of the 19 percent that gets to make the NCAA Tournament in college basketball."

Thursday's game tips off at 11:15 am. and will be televised on CBS. 

Next Up

snow

Here's how much snow fell in Minnesota on Sunday

Some localized areas saw more than expected.

Lindsay Guentzel

For The Week: What's harder than making a meal plan? Sticking to it!

Lindsay Guentzel says you shouldn't give up on your meal planning routines.

Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 11.15.34 AM

Two people fatally shot by police in Wadena County, two officers injured

Another man was shot in the altercation, which police claim started when one of the suspects opened fire on officers.

snow, plow

Winter storm warnings issued as snow system shifts in Minnesota

The worst of the snow will now hit further north, affecting areas including St. Cloud and the I-94 corridor.

Matt Dumba

Matt Dumba beats the clock to give Wild sixth straight win

Dumba scored as overtime came to a close for another Wild victory.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Bradley Beal terrorizes Timberwolves in loss to Wizards

Beal and the Wizards handed the Wolves their seventh straight defeat.

Marcus Carr / Gopher basketball

Gophers tourney hopes take another blow with loss to Nebraska

Marcus Carr scored a career-high 41 points, but Minnesota is still winless on the road.

St. Paul police

St. Paul police arrest teenage boy in carjacking crackdown

This comes amid a dramatic spike in Twin Cities carjackings.

snow

Snow latest: Twin Cities set for up to 4 inches

A narrow system will travel across Minnesota overnight.

Related

Selection committee called out for matching Gophers against Louisville

Pitino will face the university his father, Rick Pitino, is suing.

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 1.56.18 PM

NCAA Tournament: Louisville presents big challenge for Gophers

The Cardinals are as battle-tested as any team in the country.

Image from iOS (44)

Gophers upset Louisville to advance in NCAA Tournament

Minnesota is one win from reaching the Sweet 16.

Gophers land No. 10 seed in NCAA Tournament

Minnesota is in the tournament for the second time under head coach Richard Pitino.

Tourney journey could lead Gophers to matchup with No. 1 seed

Most bracket predictions list the Gophers as a No. 8 or 9 seed.

Cassius Winston

Minus Murphy, Gophers fall to Michigan State in NCAA tourney

Jordan Murphy missed most of the game because of back spasms.

Amir Coffey

Gophers 'night and day' difference since blowout loss to Spartans

Minnesota takes on Michigan State in the Round of 32.