Rick Pitino is 11-0 in the Sweet 16, that is am amazing record. You could say that record alone is a Hall of Fame type record. The question is why his teams haven’t lost in that part of the NCAA Tournament. He has had some embarrassing losses in other rounds, the loss Morehead State in 2011 comes to mind. So why the perfection in regional semi-finals?
A look at the numbers via CardChronicle.com shows that Pitino’s teams average margin of victory in the Sweet 16 is 19.8, 18.6 since becoming the Louisville head coach. Those numbers are outrageous for regional semi-final games. These are not easy 16 seeds, these are teams like Arizona, Michigan State, Washington (when they were good).
Rick Bozich of WDRB.com asked this very question that I am asking in an article Tuesday. Although it is a fantastic article, I didn’t find the magical answer that I was looking for.
Is it the amount of time he has to prepare? Well like I mentioned before, Pitino has had teams fall in the first two rounds and he has just as much time to prepare for those matchups than he does for the Sweet 16. It would be a very good answer though if that was the case. Fans could say, “Just give Pitino a week and he will have his team ready to play anyone.”
Maybe it is the players he has playing for him. Has he had talent, absolutely. Of course so did the other teams, some of them had more if we are honest. Just looking at the teams Pitino had at Louisville in the Sweet 16 and see how they did or are doing in the NBA. There are several that are role players, but none I would call NBA all-stars.
So what is it, why is Pitino undefeated? Why does his teams come with intensity?
I really do not know. All I know is that he has them focused
Case in point, Louisville is not meeting with the media at all until Thursday.
FYI: No #UofL media availability until Thursday in Indianapolis.
— Jeff Greer (@jeffgreer_cj) March 25, 2014
So as Friday’s game against the Kentucky Wildcats comes closer, think on this. Pitino (who has played in a Regional Semi-Final 11 times and won each of them) just had a week to prepare and focus his team. Several of this year’s players have already gone through Pitino’s Sweet 16 preparation.
It is no wonder why Vegas has Pitino and the Cardinals favored by five.
Comment your thoughts below.