This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

Gophers pregame: For Richard Pitino, tonight's season opener will be very different from one night a year ago

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Richard Pitino Updated: November 8, 2013 - 4:49 PM

For new Gophers coach Richard Pitino, tonight will be much different from one night almost a year ago.

Then, Pitino was in his first stop as a head coach – at Florida International – learning on the fly about all the distinctions the top job brings. All the ways it was different from assistant life.

On November 11, 2012, he walked out onto a court in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, to lead his FIU team – which didn’t play public exhibitions -- in front of a crowd for the first time.

“I legitimately remember walking out my first game at Boston College and going ‘Oh my goodness, what am I doing?’” Pitino said, reminiscing. “It’s really, really hard to train your mind to react a certain way until you’ve done it.”

The limelight, he was more than used to. After a combined five years under his dad at Louisville and under Billy Donovan at Florida, Pitino was no stranger to the big stage. But things are different as head honcho.

“You don’t know how to work the officials,” Pitino said. “You’ve never done that before as an assistant coach -- you’re sitting on the bench, trying to stay out of their way. What do I do if this guy gets a foul? What do I do if this guy all the sudden is acting crazy? I can’t stop a game like I do in practice all the time. How do I keep my mind right if something goes wrong?

“Those are things that, it’s experience, it’s invaluable.”

Thirty-two games later, he has some.

Now, the 31-year-old has a season’s worth of head coaching experience under his belt and has grown into his coaching skin, a little bit. He enters Friday’s season opener against Lehigh more established. The bright lights of the moment have faded to a hue that is entirely manageable and Pitino feels comfortable.

But nervous?

“I’m nervous for every game,” he said.

Pitino noted that the biggest difference at Minnesota was the raised court, of which he has commented about the stool – “Everywhere I turned it was in my way – it was following me” – and the proximity of the bench – “Your staff feels so far away” --  but he’s had a pair of exhibition games to get used to the new set-up this season.

“So exhibition games are good for our players, but also good for me,” he said.

A few other notes on tonight’s game:

  • Flying in to witness his first game as the head coach of Minnesota will be his mother – Joanne Pitino – his uncle and his brother, Chris Pitino.
  • Keep an eye on the Gophers fouls – Lehigh is the first real driving team Minnesota has faced, and thus will present the first real test for the Gophers restraint in regards to the new touch fouls being called.
  • Expect the same lineup as we saw in the two exhibitions: Deandre Mathieu, Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins, Oto Osenieks, Elliott Eliason. Pitino said he does not plan to change it.


Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
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Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
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Toronto 114
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LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
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Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
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Ohio State 82
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Binghamton 54
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UCF 46
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Hartford 61
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Manhattan 71
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Marist 73
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Princeton 96
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Rhode Island 53
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St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
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Tennessee St 55
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Villanova 71
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Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
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Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
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Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
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Marquette 75
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DePaul 90
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Elon 80
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Arizona 81
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Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
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(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
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