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Selection committee called out for matching Gophers against Louisville

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

Sixty-eight teams made the NCAA Tournament and somehow the Minnesota Gophers have been matched up with the Louisville Cardinals. 

Of all first-round tournament matchups, none has as many storylines as this one with Richard Pitino coaching against the university his father is suing for breach of contract to the tune of $38.7 million. 

Not familiar with the situation between Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino and the University of Louisville? Here's a fantastic summary from the Louisville Courier Journal

"Subtext abounds. Pitino’s father, Rick, is the Hall of Fame coach who led Louisville to the 2013 NCAA Tournament championship, only to see that title vacated as part of the NCAA’s penalties for sex parties in U of L’s basketball dormitory.

This is the same Rick Pitino who was later fired in the fallout from the FBI’s investigation of an alleged recruiting bribery scheme; the same Rick Pitino who is suing Louisville for breach of contract, who vows to 'kill them at trial' and claims 'they are killing me from getting hired with their inferences.'"

"The NCAA showed a lack of class matching Louisville vs Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA tournament," former Louisville star Jerry Eaves tweeted. "I believe it’s unfair to Coach Pitino and Coach Mack!"

Richard Pitino didn't wade into the ugly waters of speculation when asked about the matchup following Sunday bracket reveal. 

"It’s not going to be about me," he said. "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."

The NCAA Selection Committee clearly defines the selection process as choosing the best 36 at-large teams in the country to compete with the 32 conference tournament champions who receive automatic bids. 

From there, the committee tries to organize the brackets with "reasonable competitive balance." 

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The committee also creates a seed list, which is a ranking of teams 1-68. Teams ranked 1-4 each receive No. 1 seeds, teams ranked 5-8 get No. 2 seeds and so on and so forth. 

Louisville is 25th on this year's seed list while the Gophers are 39th. That means Louisville is the highest-ranked No. 7 seed and Minnesota is the third-ranked No. 10 seed, behind Iowa and Seton Hall. 

Competitive balance can always be debated, but the Selection Committee chose Minnesota over Iowa, Seton Hall and Florida as the opponent that would create the best competitive balance. 

Iowa probably wouldn't have been the choice no matter what since the first-round game is being played in Des Moines, which would've given Iowa a home-court advantage. So it was really between the Gophers, Seton Hall and Florida. 

In the other 10-7 matchups, Iowa plays Cincinnati, Seton Hall faces Wofford and Florida goes up against Nevada. 

The debate about whether the Selection Committee matched up the Gophers and Cardinals on merit or subplot will continue until one of them wins. 

The game tips off in Des Moines at 11:15 a.m. Thursday and will be televised on CBS. 

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