Leading the Iona Gaels to the MAAC Tournament championship title, Rick Pitino made history on Saturday by becoming just the third coach in NCAA history to take five different teams to the NCAA Tournament, joining only Tubby Smith and Lon Kruger. And he did so as a No. 9 seed in the conference tournament after playing just 15 games due to multiple COVID-19 cancellations.
As Pitino prepares for the Big Dance, national analysts and fans have begun poking fun at some of the other big-name coaches who did not make the NCAA Tournament (or are not expected to), specifically John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats.
The Big Blue Nation’s favorite college basketball analyst, Jeff Goodman of WatchStadium.com, was among the loudest after Pitino’s conference championship victory this afternoon.
“Rick Pitino will be coaching in the NCAA tournament. John Calipari will not be coaching in the NCAA tournament. Anyone have this prior to the season?” Goodman asked.
In response, former NBA player and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins threw a jab at Calipari’s coaching abilities, hinting that Iona’s presence in the NCAA Tournament and Kentucky’s absence is due to the fact that Pitino is the superior coach.
“That’s the results you get when you actually have to Coach!!!” Perkins said. “Don’t mind me (though). Carry on…”
Check out the exchange below:
That’s the results you get when you actually have to Coach!!! Don’t mind me tho. Carry on…
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) March 13, 2021
Sure, it’s fair to poke fun at Kentucky following its abysmal 9-16 season. We all are.
But let’s just remember that Calipari has won eight of his last ten head-to-head matchups against Pitino, including 2-0 against the legendary coach in the NCAA Tournament.