Souhan: Richard Pitino making favorable impression

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 4, 2013 - 12:03 PM
hide

Gophers head coach Richard Pitino gave instructions from the bench during the first half at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Tuesday, December 3, 2013.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Dml - Star Tribune Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

It was Richard Pitino’s first big date with Williams Arena, and once he was in the right mood, he began taking off his clothes.

With about six minutes left in the Gophers’ game against Florida State on Tuesday night, Pitino ripped off his jacket, throwing it to the bench in what was almost certainly an unintentional homage to Clem Haskins’ wardrobe-shredding antics. With less than five minutes left, he ripped off his tie.

Thankfully for those in the expensive seats, the Gophers earned their most impressive victory of the season, beating the Seminoles 71-61, and Pitino remained mostly dressed.

Pitino whipped his counterpart, Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton, and it has been a while since the Gophers enjoyed a marked advantage in coaching over a worthwhile opponent. Florida State had greater size and more experience playing in its coach’s system, but the Gophers confused the Seminoles with multiple full-court and half-court defenses.

Nine games into his tenure, there’s already plenty to like about Pitino, such as:

1. He has not adopted the worst cliché in college basketball, the head coach wasting time talking with his assistant coaches before entering the huddle during a timeout. Pitino immediately addresses his players, giving him more time to make his points and keeping him from looking like a wannabe Coach K.

2. He plays a style that should allow him to compete even without elite talent, a style that will take opponents out of their comfort zone. His father, Rick, wins big at Louisville without relying on blue chippers, or at least the kinds of players that make NBA general managers salivate. In at least this way, Richard is his father’s son. Pitino has a chance to be more entertaining in losses than Bo Ryan is in victories.

3. He adapts his lineups to suit his talent. He could have stuck with Andre Hollins at point guard and Austin Hollins at shooting guard, then filled in around them. Instead, he inserted the quicker, smaller DeAndre Mathieu at point guard and relies on a three-guard lineup that allows him to play fast.

4. He isn’t afraid of big-name nonconference opponents. He plans to play Louisville. That’s all you need to know.

5. He has a chance to do give nepotism a good name. Minnesotans still are reeling from the Saul Smith experience. Tubby Smith’s son didn’t seem to merit a high-profile position as a Division I assistant. Richard Pitino took advantage of the grand advantages of his birth, learning from his brilliant father before taking a nothing job at Florida International.

6. He extracts maximum effort from his players. Joey King is diving all over the floor despite a fractured jaw. Mo Walker has lost dozens of pounds preparing to play in Pitino’s running system.

7. He allows offensive freedom. Pitino has adopted an old coaching bromide — scream at players about defense, effort, rebounding and mental mistakes, but let ’em play with freedom on offense. “Coach gives us a lot of freedom,” center Elliott Eliason said. “He doesn’t even want us to look at him on the bench. He wants DeAndre or Andre to run the show the whole time. He wants us to play that up-tempo style of offense, so he doesn’t want us focusing on him when we should be playing.”

8. He has displayed the ability to game plan for an opponent. Note that when Pitino had a week to prepare for Syracuse’s famous matchup zone, the Gophers handled it easily. When his team had to play without much preparation, against Arkansas and Chaminade, the Gophers struggled.

“We’re doing a lot more to prepare this year,” Eliason said. “It’s been really helpful. We watch a lot more film, run a lot more stuff. When we have time to prepare for teams, we’re really tough. Coach has us really prepared to play these teams.”

9. He supports his bark with bite. He knows he needs Walker to compete this year, yet he suspended Walker for six games for a rules violation.

Tuesday night, Pitino said, “I thought we won the toughness battle.”

They won the coaching battle, too.

 

Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays

at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is

@SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland 1 Top 10th Inning
Kansas City 1
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado 2 Bottom 9th Inning
Arizona 0
Chicago Cubs 1 Top 8th Inning
St. Louis 4
Los Angeles 1 Top 7th Inning
San Diego 1
Milwaukee 0 Top 6th Inning
San Francisco 3
Oakland 0 Bottom 4th Inning
LA Angels 0
Washington 3 Bottom 5th Inning
Seattle 0
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 4th Qtr 6:14
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 4th Qtr 4:22
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 24 4th Qtr 9:45
New Mexico 21
North Texas 0 4th Qtr 12:16
Texas 28
(1) Florida State 20 3rd Qtr 5:49
Oklahoma State 17
(14) Wisconsin 17 2nd Qtr 4:32
(13) LSU 7
Idaho 0 Delayed 14:50
Florida 0
South Dakota 0 1st Qtr 14:50
(3) Oregon 0
(25) Washington 0 1st Qtr 14:30
Hawaii 0
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close