The first game of the 2019 NCAA Tournament has one of the more interesting storylines, with Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino and his team set to play against the Louisville Cardinals.
If the name is familiar, that’s because it is. Richard is the son of former Louisville head coach, Rick Pitino, who coached the Cardinals for nearly two decades, from 2001-17. He was fired, however, due to a massive bribery scandal. Still, it’s clear that Richard will have a bone to pick with the Cardinals, and he might get some coaching tips from his dad.
Not only that, Louisville — while they have a talented roster — really faded down the stretch. The Cardinals have lost seven of their last 10 games, and appear to have peaked early in the season. Chris Mack is a great coach, however, and we believe he’ll get the team back to where it was to start the year — winning seven of its first eight ACC contests.
On the other side of the ball, Minnesota was a bubble team, but beating Purdue twice in a 10-day span — including in the Big 10 Tournament — was just enough to get them a ticket to the big dance. Still, the team doesn’t really have many other quality victories aside from that, and doesn’t boast an attractive resume. The Gophers have lost to the Cardinals both times they’ve faced them in the NCAA Tournament, and three of the past four contests overall.
How to watch Louisville vs. Minnesota
What: No. 7 Louisville vs No. 10 Minnesota
When: Thursday, March 21
Time: 12:15 p.m. ET (Thursday)
Where: Wells Fargo Arena (Des Moines, Iowa)
Betting odds: Louisville -5, -220 moneyline