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Mack and Cards to face Richard Pitino and Minnesota in NCAA opener

Updated: Mar. 17, 2019 at 10:08 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The NCAA selection committee does not set up match ups with story lines in mind. Sure they don’t.

UofL, in year one under Chris Mack, will tip off the tournament against Richard Pitino and Minnesota. Pitino just happens to be the son of the Cards former Hall of Fame head coach and a former Cards assistant.

“It’s the elephant in the room. You know I mean I coached a few of the guys that played for Coach Pitino, it’s his son. I would hope for the Minnesota players and for our guys that the game becomes about the game. Can’t control what people are going to write about or talk about or report on but you can only beat a horse so long,” Mack said.

Golden Gophers center Matz Stockman spent his first three college seasons at UofL. The seven-footer played in 45 games over three seasons at UofL.

Richard Pitino was a UofL assistant for two different stints, from 2007-09 and for the 2011-12 season. His father was fired by the university in October of 2017 and is currently involved in a lawsuit against UofL.

“That’s obviously what people are going to try to make the story line, but really this game is just going to be about the players that are in the game and the coaches of the respective teams getting their teams ready for the game," UofL senior Christen Cunningham said. "We not going to worry about the story lines.”

The Cards and Gophers tip off at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa. Cunningham has not been to Iowa.

“I have not,” Cunningham said. “I actually typed it in on my phone to see where it was at.”

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