Minnesota’s first-round opponent will sure look familiar to coach Richard Pitino.
The Gophers got the 10th seed in the East Region, matched up with No. 7 seed Louisville in a first-round game in Des Moines, Iowa.
Pitino had two stints as an assistant coach at Louisville under his father, Rick Pitino, who was fired prior to last season after his name surfaced in connection to the bribery scandal that has been playing out in federal court.
Richard Pitino is in his sixth season at Minnesota. This is his second trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Louisville is back in the NCAA Tournament after missing out last spring following its acknowledged involvement in a federal investigation of corruption in college basketball.
Its first-round opponent features someone very familiar with ties to the Cardinals’ recent past.
Louisville (20-13) is seeded No. 7 in the East Region and will face No. 10 seed Minnesota in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday. The Golden Gophers are coached by Richard Pitino, the son of former Cardinals coach Rick Pitino who was let go before last season in the midst of the scandal.
Louisville finished 22-14 and reached the NIT quarterfinals in a tumultuous year that included the vacation of its 2013 NCAA title as punishment for a stripper scandal. Interim coach David Padgett was replaced by former Xavier coach Chris Mack and this season was expected to be transitional, but the Cardinals instead earned a postseason berth thanks to a resume that included upsets of Michigan State and North Carolina.
Mack returns to the tournament a year after guiding Xavier to its first-ever No. 1 seeding.