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Pitino vs. Pitino matchup in Puerto Rico is official

  • Blog Post by: Amelia Rayno
  • December 18, 2013 - 4:33 PM

It turns out Gophers fans didn't have to wait long for the matchup that was most highly anticipated after new coach Richard Pitino's hire at Minnesota.

The budding Gophers coach will lead his team against Louisville -- and his father, Cardinals coach Rick Pitino -- in next year's Armed Forces Classic on Nov. 14th, according to ESPN's Andy Katz. Both Pitinos have said recently that the move was in the works.

The game will take place in Puerto Rico, at the Coast Guard Academy's United States Air Station Borinquen.

This season's game, between Oregon and Georgetown, was played in South Korea.

The Pitinos coached against each other for the first time as head coaches last year, when Louisville defeated Florida International 79-55. Richard Pitino was an assistant coach for his father for three years (from 2007-09 and 2011-12) and then took the FIU head coaching job for the 2012-13 season.

Naturally, when the 31-year-old coach was hired at Minnesota, there were immediate questions about when he would face his dad, but the younger Pitino initially expressed hesitation, saying that he wasn't sure he was eager to so quickly become rivals with his dad, who has long been his mentor.

But after the Gophers returned from Hawaii last month, Pitino explained his change of heart:

"I just thought about it and I thought if we want to get to where we’re going, it’s all about elevating this program with everything we do," he said. "We want to get to the level of Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana, and I think one of those things you’ve got to do to do that is you’ve got to be innovative with your scheduling ... I think this is a great way to get our brand out there, to get people talking about Minnesota."

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