The most favorable impression I had of Rich Pitino was that the coach was not an excuse maker. This differentiated him from Tubby Smith, who had several complaints about the hand he had been dealt during the second half of his six-year tenure.
Pitino embraced the old dump, Williams Arena, and his comments on a practice facility were offered as a desire — not as a blockade to winning a few more games in the Big Ten.
Young Rich probably can live with this, but I must say:
His reactions to the blowout by Wisconsin in the second round of the Big Ten tournament, and to being relegated to the NIT on Selection Sunday, have caused an adjustment in my thinking on Pitino as a whiner.
First, there was the pout over Wisconsin’s Jordan Hill firing up a three rather than waiting out the clock in the Badgers’ 83-57 victory on Friday.
Pitino sounded sillier in his reaction to the Gophers not making it to the NCAA tournament as the seventh-place team in the Big Ten. He whined that the Gophers were not properly rewarded for playing a schedule that was ranked ninth-toughest by the computer used in the RPI.
Patrick+ : startribune.com/gophers