BOZICH | Pitino (Richard) Vs. Pitino (Rick) countdown underway - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Pitino (Richard) Vs. Pitino (Rick) countdown underway

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Rick (left) and Richard Pitino are counting the days until U of L plays Minnesota. Rick (left) and Richard Pitino are counting the days until U of L plays Minnesota.

CHICAGO (WDRB) – When Richard Pitino arrived at his desk in the University of Minnesota basketball offices the other day, a gift was waiting – the box score from the private intrasquad scrimmage the University of Louisville played last Sunday.

One of Pitino's assistants found the results on the Internet, printed it and left it for him. Nov. 14 will be here before you know it – Minnesota vs. Louisville, Pitino (Richard) vs. Pitino (Rick), live from the Armed Forces Classic in Puerto Rico and televised by ESPN. Four weeks from today.

“It's unique certainly in the sense that obviously I'm playing my Dad,” Richard Pitino said Thursday at Big Ten basketball media day. “But we're about to go play a Top 10 team, a very talented team and a very good program in our first game.

“You don't normally do that. You normally get a couple of games under your belt to see where you're at. That part of it is unique. It's exciting for us as a program to, regardless of the me and my dad thing, to play a great program, national TV, first game of the season. That's good for us and what we're trying to build.

“It's interesting because me and my dad talk every day about our teams, ‘How's practice going?' this and that, and neither one of us have kind of, like, backed off the intel. But I see it coming soon. We start giving so much information, and we flip that switch a little bit. So that part is definitely different.”

What Richard is trying to build, of course, is a team that gets to the NCAA Tournament. He won 25 of 38 games during his first season in Minneapolis. The last five came during the National Invitation Tournament, an event the Gophers won.

He beat Larry Brown, a Hall of Fame coach, and SMU in the final at Madison Square Garden – with his parents watching. Career highlight.

Still, it was the NIT. One game in the NCAA Tournament delivers more juice than five in the NIT.

“The NIT, winning the NIT, it's just a weird -- nobody knows how to handle it,” Pitino said. “Do you brag about it? Do you talk about it? You know, he didn't even put it in the notes, the Big Ten guy. I noticed that.”

You should also notice this: The Gophers return six of their top eight scorers from last season when they beat Wisconsin, a Final Four team. You can find Minnesota picked as high as sixth and as low as ninth in the Big Ten. And after the Gophers return from playing Louisville, they host Western Kentucky in Williams Arena on Nov. 18.

And for the record, Richard Pitino confirmed that he will indeed travel to Puerto Rico with a four-game winning streak against his father. Son has defeated Father the last four times they have played golf – once at Hazeltine National Golf Course outside Minneapolis; again at Richard's home course, Interlachen; and twice more in Tampa, Fla.

“The tide was turning a little bit on the golf course,” Richard Pitino said. “Hopefully that carries over to basketball.

“Normally, he would get me. He's getting older. Or I'm not working hard enough, playing a lot of golf. I don't know what it was. Maybe he's slacking a little bit, doing too much horse racing.”

Tune in again on Nov. 14, Pitino vs. Pitino to open the college basketball season.

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