NEW ORLEANS — It’s no secret that Kentucky Coach John Calipari and Louisville’s Rick Pitino are not the best of friends.
Friday, though, they came together to tape a segment for Jim Rome’s new television show.
How did it go?
“The table was flipped over and people were rolling around, but I’m not going to say more, and I’ll let you guys watch it on CBS,” Calipari said.
He was kidding — we think.
Kentucky and Louisville face each other Saturday in a Final Four semifinal.
Pitino and Calipari have been going at it for years. They famously met in a 1996 national semifinal when Pitino’s Kentucky team defeated Massachusetts-led Calipari.
At a news conference Friday, Calipari was asked about Pitino’s ability as a game strategist.
“You’re basically saying I have none of that, is that right?” Calipari joked. “You’re just not praising me about mine, you’re praising him.”
Pitino had some nice things to say about how well Calipari continues to turn over one-and-done players at Kentucky.
“You know, he probably coaches young players better than anybody in the country,” Pitino said. “I don’t know if I would ever want to do it or ever could do it, to coach a new group of freshmen every year.”
This has been a rough year for West Coast basketball — or so you thought
While no school west of Needles has made a pin-prick in the NCAA tournament, the Pacific time zone has fared well at other levels.
Would you believe: The Pac-12 had a 20-8 record in postseason play?
Stanford defeated Minnesota on Thursday to win the National Invitation Tournament, while Washington State made the championship game of the College Basketball Invitational before losing to Pittsburgh in the rubber game of the three-game series.
Western Washington captured this year’s Division II title, Concordia (Irvine) won the NAIA title, and Oregon Tech claimed the NAIA Division II championship.
Things haven’t gone as well at the Big Dance.
Colorado, a first-year member of the Pac-12, was the only conference team to win a game in NCAA tournament. California lost a first-round game, and Washington, the regular-season champion, failed to make the 68-team field.
1 a lonely number
Kentucky is the only No. 1-seeded team in this year’s Final Four. There were no top-seeded schools in last year’s Final Four.
“The parity in college basketball, it’s at an all-time high,” Ohio State Coach Thad Matta said. “You know, you could probably replay this tournament and possibly come up with four different teams… You know, we were the No.1 overall seed last year and couldn’t get past the Sweet 16.”
Kentucky got a scare last week when star center Anthony Davis banged his knee in the South Regional final against Baylor. “He’s fine,” Calipari said. ... Kentucky freshman forward Kyle Wiltjer said he isn’t concerned about playing the Final Four in a football stadium: “When you first get in there, it’s amazing to see the backdrop,” he said of playing in the Superdome. “Really, it’s the game we’ve been playing: the court and two hoops. It’s pretty much the same."… The key matchup in Saturday’s second game is Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger against Kansas’ Thomas Robinson. Robinson on Sullinger: “He’s a good player. If you don’t come prepared, he could cause a lot of problems for you.” Sullinger on Robinson: “Great basketball player. Plays hard, plays smart. In my eyes, college player of the year.”