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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Pitino quiet on Arizona rumors

    Sweet 16 Notebook

    INDIANAPOLIS – The rumor mill around Tucson has Rick Pitino written all over it.

    And he’s glad he doesn’t live out here to hear about it.

    From hair salons to Internet message boards, the talk of the town revolves around Pitino and the rumor that the Louisville head coach bought a multi-million dollar home in Tucson.

    Nobody can confirm or deny the speculation, but for the first time this season Pitino was directly asked about his interest in the head coaching position next season at Arizona.

    “”I wouldn’t answer any question about any other job because it would be disrespectful to the University of Louisville,”” Pitino said Thursday in Indianapolis. “”You know, any time you hear a player stand up here and say, ‘I’m not going pro. I’m coming back.’ He’s gone.

    “”Any time a coach says he’s not interested in a job, he’s dead interested in a job. So, you know, I don’t mislead you,”” he added. “”Anybody today can go on a message board. Anybody today can put anything out there they want – truth or untruth. All I can tell you is that I’ve lived and died with Louisville for eight years.””

    Pitino has spent the vast majority of his basketball career back east, beginning with his playing days as a UMass guard.

    The New York native earned his first head coaching position at Boston University in 1978, proceeded by his first attempt in the NBA as a head coach with the New York Knicks.

    Pitino coached at Providence before returning to the Knicks for two years. He then moved onto Kentucky, where he won a national championship in 1996.

    Pitino spent four years with the Boston Celtics before settling with Louisville in 2001.

    According to Pitino, the only time he legitimately considered another job while at Louisville was the Providence opening last season.

    “”Because of the personal things I went through at Providence, I wanted to sit down and talk with them about the job to see if I did want to come back because of personal reasons that were very deep to me,”” Pitino said. “”I sat down with them, talked to them a bit, and realized Louisville was the place for me.

    “”Outside of that, for eight years, I haven’t thought about any job except the University of Louisville,”” he added, “”and that’s answering you the honest way.””

    Internet forums have also speculated that Pitino’s son would attend the UA as a freshman this fall. But on the topic of coaching rumors, Pitino said he heard more about Boston University wanting him back than the current rumors from Arizona.

    “”To be honest with you, I’m glad that I’m not living on the West Coast because I haven’t heard any of that. I heard a little bit more about Boston University wanting me back where I started. But I’m hoping they settle for my son,”” Pitino said.

    Playing in football stadium may impact shots

    Indianapolis hosts its Sweet 16 and Elite Eight region in the city’s brand new, state-of-the-art football stadium built for the Colts.

    The NCAA has experimented with bigger venues over the past two seasons, beginning with last year’s Final Four in San Antonio and this year’s in Detroit’s new Ford Field.

    With a capacity of up to 80,000 people for basketball games, it’s certainly a plus for the NCAA in terms of selling tickets.

    But will it impact the game?

    The Wildcats have not played in a football stadium this season. And because of the court’s placement, it may affect depth perception.

    The court is centered on the 50-yard line parallel with the field, as if the stadium was built for basketball.

    “”I hope we don’t have any problems,”” UA forward Chase Budinger said. “”You know, today in shooting I thought we did a good job at making baskets. It is different for us because of the backdrop and the arena is so big. It’s just something new to us.””

    Traditionally, if basketball games were played in football stadiums, the court would be placed in the end zone, with removable bleachers placed on the opposite side for tighter parameters.

    But today’s stadiums boast a wide-open 120-yard venue. And even more seating is available on the empty portions of the football field, adding to the stadium’s regular capacity – 65,000 in the case of Detroit’s Ford Field.

    “”I think it does affect the shooting by all teams playing in domes,”” Pitino said. “”So I think you’ve got to understand that it takes time to get used to it. It’s very important that you take high-percentage shots, that you create good ball movement, good player movement.””

    Added UA interim head coach Russ Pennell on whether the set-up could affect the teams’ shooting: “”I don’t think it will. It was great to get out there and shoot around. We spent our entire 50 minutes really on shooting just so we could get accustomed to it. We’ll have a short practice in here again tomorrow. We should be fine.””

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