Last Saturday at Williams Arena, there were two themes: The Gophers beat Indiana, and Richard Pitino's younger brother Ryan showed up in a chicken suit.
After the game, the Gophers coach shook his head and said he thought that allegedly Ryan had lost a bet. No one knew what this bet was about, but now, thanks to Louisville Courier-Journal reporter, Jeff Greer (hat tip to Jeff, who sent me these quotes), we have the real story.
According to Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who was also at the Barn with Ryan to watch his son's team dispatch the Hoosiers, 66-60, there was no wager at all, but rather the idea cropped up from Walker Price, the Gophers' recruiting and operations coordinator. He suggested, apparently, that Ryan be part of the Barnyard, and Ryan apparently liked that idea.
"He said, 'Dad, I'm going to go put on a chicken suit,'" Rick Pitino said. "I expected him to go sit with the students in the animal section and not my section."
Oh, but he did. He did.
"He came up and I said, 'You're going to sit here?'" Pitino recollected. "He said, 'Yeah, you have a problem?'
"And I said, 'Yeah, you're in a chicken suit.' I said, 'Why don't you go up with the other animals?'
"I just moved away like this (shifts his back to block someone to his right), like I didn't know him. Jeff Goodman and Seth Davis are texting me saying, 'Is that your son in a chicken suit, sitting next to you? And why is he doing it?' I tried to make him look good and say he lost a bet in the office and had to wear a chicken suit, which wasn't the truth.
"This is a very, very high-profile, responsible investor of money on Wall Street ... in a chicken suit. I thought it was very humorous. We had a great time. Twenty of us went in to see them play, from Boston, New York and Louisville, and had a great time."
But no, don't expect the times to get greater with Rick showing up in his own chicken suit. Ain't happenin.
"No, I won't," he said. "A white suit, maybe, but not a chicken suit."
I'm here in lovely Madison, Wisconsin, which means that colleague Master Tesfatsion was nice enough to help me out again with some quotes from today's Gophers' access (So many quotes from other people, I know). Thanks, Master.
A few other notes from those:
*Andre Hollins said he's at about 90 percent right now with his left ankle injury. He thinks he will be about 95 percent by game time tomorrow (8 p.m. CT). Pitino said the biggest challenge now is for Hollins to get back in shape. As he's rehabbed, he hasn't been practicing nearly as much as the rest of the team.
*Joey King on starting for the first time against Indiana. "It's something that I've never done in college so that first game I felt like I was just getting used to it, kind of just getting my wind and stuff. It's definitely something that I feel I'm now comfortable with after a game under my belt and it's something to look forward to."
*Pitino opened the press conference with a very unpopular shout out to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter who announced today that this will be his last season. "I figure nobody ever listens anyway, so let's just talk about he's won four titles, one of the best shortstops ever. So there you go. I'm a huge Yankees fan. My dog's name is Bernie, he's named after Bernie Williams. So that's another nice tidbit. We were going to go 'Jeter' but it didn't work. There's a big New York background in my family -- my uncle, who we lost in 9-11, we used to go up there every summer and go to games with my dad. He's doing it right though -- a farewell tour. That's how I would do it if I was a baseball player." Unfortunately I was not there to remind him which team has won the most championships this century.
*Pitino attended the Minnesota Wolves game against the Rockets on Monday, and talked about that a little bit. In the most recent Big Ten the Journey, Rick Pitino stated that his son didn't even like or follow the NBA. The younger Pitino says that's incorrect. "I don't know where he got that from -- I do. That's wrong. I refute that comment. I do like the NBA. You don't know him well enough to know. He'll say some things that don't make any sense."