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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.

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. 

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