Skip to main content

Richard Pitino has put himself in contention for coach of the year

A win over Michigan on Saturday will give the Gophers 20 on the season, 12 more than they won all of last season.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Minnesota's last-second win over Indiana Wednesday night tied the Gophers record for biggest one-year turnaround.

The Gophers mucked their way through a brutal 2015-16 season, finishing 8-23. They're already 11 wins better this season, and at 19-7 with five regular season games to go, Richard Pitino's Gophers are poised to shatter the record. The Big Ten record is 15, according to the Star Tribune.

Tubby Smith led an 11-win improvement in his first season at Minnesota in 2007-08.

Minnesota is a near lock for the NCAA Tournament, sitting as a No. 7 seed in Joe Lunardi's updated bracketology at ESPN.com. There's a chance the Gophers could earn the second-highest NCAA seed in school history.

In addition to making Selection Sunday more comfortable for Gophers fans, Pitino has firmly placed himself in the mix for Big Ten Coach of the Year.

  • 11 wins improved tying a school record and most in the NCAA
  • 5 wins improved in Big Ten play (just 2 conference wins last season)
  • Recruited a top Big Ten freshman, Amir Coffey
  • Transfers Akeem Springs and Reggie Lynch are playing great
  • Winning despite key transfer Davonte Fitzgerald tearing his ACL in pre-season practice
  • Most Big Ten road wins since 2004-05 (4)
  • 4-0 in February after a 5-game losing streak to end January

Big Ten Network's Tom Dienhart thinks the award will come down to Pitino, Northwestern’s Chris Collins and Maryland’s Mark Turgeon. He gives the edge to Collins because Northwestern is probably going to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.

But at 34, the youngest Power Five conference coach in the country, Pitino has turned a team that was an embarrassment on and off the court last season to a true Big Ten contender.

Collins might be the favorite to win the award, but a strong finish from Pitino could leave him holding the award when it's all said and done.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-06-25 at 11.01.17 AM

Woman breaks free after being kidnapped and taken to Brooklyn Park

The woman was taken by force as she arrived at her work in Plymouth.

image

How the fastest animal on the planet returned to MN after local extinction

The fastest animal on Earth had once vanished from Minnesota and Wisconsin.

image

St. Paul's new 'skate trail' brings non-traditional park to life

Gateway Park is the first of four parks to open in the Highland Bridge redevelopment.

FWDqyh6UEAENgIG

80 mph winds, large hail possible with severe storms in MN

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for much of the state until 3 a.m. Saturday.

290376311_5009722282489162_198055240351933487_n

30 people evacuated as flooding hammers small town

It's assumed that at least eight inches of rain fell in Randall, with more heavy rain expected Friday night into Saturday morning.

Intersection in Rochester.

Boy dies in motorcycle crash in Rochester

Police are investigating as of Friday afternoon.

Tab2FileL (13)

Numerous severe storms likely in Minnesota Friday night

Watch the video for the full details with meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.

court room

Teen pleads guilty in shooting death of 15-year-old girl in Columbia Heights

Damico Jamal-Tokyo High will receive a sentence in juvenile court, along with an adult prison sentence.

Screen Shot 2022-04-25 at 11.00.01 AM

Walz wants to use surplus money to send direct payments to Minnesotans

It's a renewed effort from a previous proposal from Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan's supplemental budget in January.

Ron Johnson

Jan. 6 committee says aide for WI senator tried to give fake elector info to Pence

The attempt was discovered through text messages in the ongoing public hearing held by the Jan. 6 select committee.

Stock U of M sign

Minnesota State colleges, U of M boosting tuition again

The Minnesota State system's Board of Trustee's approved the increase Wednesday.

Related

Richard Pitino has put himself in contention for coach of the year

A win over Michigan on Saturday will give the Gophers 20 on the season, 12 more than they won all of last season.

Richard Pitino is the Big Ten Coach of the Year

The Gopher men's basketball team had one of it's best season's in program history.

Richard Pitino is the Big Ten Coach of the Year

The Gopher men's basketball team had one of it's best season's in program history.

Pitino snubbed in Naismith Coach of the Year race

Despite the biggest turnaround in college basketball, Richard Pitino is not a semifinalist for the Coach of the Year award.

Pitino snubbed in Naismith Coach of the Year race

Despite the biggest turnaround in college basketball, Richard Pitino is not a semifinalist for the Coach of the Year award.

Pitino's Gophers shocked No. 15 Purdue on the road

After blowing a lead in a loss to Michigan State, the Gophers kept their poise in an upset win over No. 15 Purdue.

Pitino's Gophers shocked No. 15 Purdue on the road

After blowing a lead in a loss to Michigan State, the Gophers kept their poise in an upset win over No. 15 Purdue.

Richard Pitino signs contract extension with Gophers

Richard Pitino was recently named the Big Ten Coach of the Year.