Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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As the Round of 64 got started in the NCAA Tournament today, it has been nothing short of a wild ride. Whether it was the Dayton Flyers conquering the Ohio State Buckeyes in the final seconds (told you so) or the Crimson of Harvard going straight Mark Zuckerberg on the Cincinnati Bearcats, it has definitely been a fun tournament so far. To go along with the excitement of Day #3 of the tourney, all eyes will be on tonight’s match-up between the reigning national champs, the Louisville Cardinals, and the Manhattan Jaspers, but not for all the right reasons.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Louisville’s head coach, Rick Pitino spoke of his dis-pleasures with the tournament selection committee because of the match-up with Manhattan. The Jaspers happen to be coached by former Pitino prodigy, Steve Masiello. You would think that Pitino would be excited about coaching against his former ball boy, player and assistant coach, but because Masiello is turning the Jaspers into Louisville 2.0, Pitino claims there will be no fun in playing the game.
I’m sorry Rick, but did I miss something here? Aren’t we in the NCAA Tournament and you play each game like it’s your last? I understand that Pitino is going up against his former partner in crime and he wants to enjoy it, but to quote my dude Herm Edwards, YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME! When you enter the big dance, you play to move on to the next game. You can respect your opponent and have fun all you want, but at the end of the day, you have one goal and that is to beat the pants off of whoever you are playing on that given night.
Don’t worry folks; I’m not just picking on Pitino. His opposition, Coach Masiello, isn’t a fan of the match-up either. Masiello claims that the game won’t be fun for him because he now has to go in with a game plan to try and beat Pitino. Excuse me, but isn’t that the whole point?? I understand that Pitino taught Masiello almost everything he knows and is basically a father figure, but if you got the chance, wouldn’t you want to show your former role model what kind of coach you have become? Shoot, look what Archie Miller proved to Thad Matta today! Dayton may have been the smaller and less recognizable school, but they pulled out the win and the same could very well happen tonight for the Jaspers. Louisville may be the favorite for tonight’s game and even the tournament as a whole, but if the Jaspers and Cardinals play the same offensive and defensive sets, there is no guarantee in this match-up.
This has already been an amazing day of basketball and I can’t wait for it to continue. Rick Pitino may say that the Manhattan match-up isn’t fair, but all I hear is that he taught Masiello too much and now he is scared. Maybe Pitino should quit complaining about the selection committee and actually get his team ready for battle, because come tonight, Pitino and the Cardinals will need all the help they can get.