Following an American Athletic Conference tournament championship, along with a share of the regular season title, it is to no one’s surprise that Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino is displeased with the Cardinals’ No. 4 seed that was given to them by the NCAA selection committee. Many people thought that Louisville would be in contention for the last No. 1 seed and at worst they would wind up with a No. 2 seed.
The entire country was in shock when the committee released the bracket. Not only were they severely under seeded, but they were also placed in what is now known as the “region of death” with three of the four Final Four teams from last season (Michigan, Wichita State, Louisville) and Duke being placed there. To make matters worse for Pitino, they have to open against the Manhattan Jaspers, who are coached by Pitino’s former assistant, Steve Masiello.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Pitino said: “I think the pairings sometimes lack common sense.” He also said that the selection committee is “very fair, very honorable, very honest people,” but that “maybe they’re just a bunch of soccer ADs, I don’t know.”
Masiello was also asked about the matchup and he said, “to see them (Louisville) come up and then see us come up against them, it just takes a little fun out of it.”
Masiello was Pitino’s ball boy when he coached for the New York Knicks in the 1980s. He also played for him when he coached for the Kentucky Wildcats from 1996-97, and was his assistant at Louisville from 2005-2011 until he was hired as Manhattan’s head coach in 2011. The Jaspers are known for running basically the same offensive and defensive schemes as the Cardinals, which makes sense given Masiello’s time being under Pitino’s wing.
The two teams face off tonight in Orlando.