Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
John Beilein Isn’t Buying Rick Pitino’s Golden State Warriors Schtick
INDIANAPOLIS — John Beilein has been around the block a few times and so he’s not buying Rick Pitino’s schtick that Michigan is the college version of the Golden State Warriors.
“This is the part before they kick your butt where they butter you up a little bit,” the Michigan coach said here Saturday in advance of Sunday’s Louisville-Michigan game, a rematch of the 2013 NCAA championship won by the Cardinals.
On Friday, Pitino had a devilish grin as he heaped praise all over the Wolverines after Michigan handled Oklahoma State, 92-91, with a barrage of three-pointers.
“We’re playing against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday,” Pitino said. “I watched the second half. I’ve never seen shooting like that since I’ve been a coach. It’s incredible the way they shoot the basketball.”
Michigan’s Derrick Walton Jr. was asked about the Warriors parallel and which Wolverine might be Steph Curry.Walton Jr. might be the best comparison.
Against Oklahoma State, he went 6-of-9 from deep en route to 26 points and 11 assists.
In a 2008 win over No. 7 Gonzaga, Curry went 8-for-10 on treys with five assists on the way to 40 points.
Meantime, Pitino and Beilein have matched wits four times in the past, including in the 2013 title game.
Both coaches have high praise for the other.
“I don’t know how many times, but we’ve always had bizarre games,” Pitino said. “I’m not sure if he was at West Virginia when we won the Big East championship at that time, but then he had a group — talk about shooting, we had seven guys. Our seventh man, Otis George, had a stress fracture. We played no man. We couldn’t press the whole season. We just played two-three bumping zone, and his team made 11 3s before half. And his son made two from the logo in Albuquerque, from the Wolf.
“We played them in the Big East in the quarter semifinals and finals. We played them in a great game in 2013. My respect for him as a basketball coach is off the charts. His teams are fun to watch, well coached, well drilled. He will turn it over. It’s going to be a heck of a game.”
Beilein, meantime, paid homage to Pitino’s prowess as a defensive coach.
“You’re always prepared for multiple defenses,” Beilein said.
Especially if you’re the college version of the Golden State Warriors.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.