New Mexico enters Monday’s game at San Francisco (8-2) as one of just seven unbeaten teams in Division 1. If they win Monday night, the elder Pitino will attempt to hand his son his first loss of the season on Sunday. “Look, they’re going to have a sold-out Pit, the altitude’s tough, we’re traveling on our way to Hawaii,” Pitino said of New Mexico. “But to be perfectly honest, I’d rather die than lose.” He then pointed out that he’s beaten Richard twice, but, “If he should upset us, he’s going to get the biggest blow-by [handshake] he’s ever gotten in his life.” Pitino was also asked about his desire to move into the Atlantic 10 Conference — which now has 15 teams after adding Loyola Chicago — from the MAAC. “We’re very disappointed that the Big East didn’t take us. The Big East has been close to my heart, and I thought for sure they would take us,” he cracked. He added: “I think Iona, whether we stay in the MAAC or not, we bring a lot to the table [in men’s basketball]. It’s not because of me. Every single coach from Jim Valvano on has won and won big. So I think we’d be great for any league. We’re not overly pursuing it, but we’d be great for any league so we’ll see what happens. “That’s not my job. We have a tremendous AD [Matthew Glovaski] whose been told if he doesn’t get us in the Big East, he has to go elsewhere.”
Remaining unbeatens in College Hoops— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) December 11, 2022
Miss State pic.twitter.com/01NEzhyfPe
As I previously wrote over on Forbes, Pitino, who has led three programs to the Final Four and two to NCAA championships, figures to be targeted after this season by various high-major programs after he was essentially vindicated in the scandal that saw him get fired by Louisville in 2017. (The Louisville championship was vacated, but Pitino believes the banner should be restored.) Louisiville, which is off to an 0-9 start under first-year coach Kenny Payne, has fans Tweeting memes about Pitino potentially returning, but he has said he won’t go back even to visit until they make amends with his former boss, AD Tom Jurich.
‘I think we’d be great for any league’ @RealPitino on his interest in joining the A-10 https://t.co/tdQDf4WI9o— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) December 11, 2022
Fans of other programs around the nation have also Tweeted memes calling for Pitino to take over their programs. “I want to coach for a long time, as long as my health stays the same,” he said earlier this season. “I said I would love to finish my career at Iona but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. You just never know about the future. My intent is I love where I’m living, I love the school, I love my players even more than where I’m living and how much I love the school. You just never know.” Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter Follow ZAGSBLOGHoops on Instagram And Like ZAGS on Facebook
https://t.co/qUXhwd96Te pic.twitter.com/GXPhjRUmOF— Mark Titus (@clubtrillion) December 10, 2022