by Pat Forde
INDIANAPOLIS — Arizona interim coach Russ Pennell is coaching in his first Sweet 16 game. He just so happened to draw the coach with the best record at this stage of the tournament in history.
Rick Pitino is an astonishing 8-0, and, truth be told, very few of those eight have been very close. His winning margins: 21 points over Alabama in 1987 (at Providence); 10 points over Massachusetts in 1992 (at Kentucky); 34 points over Wake Forest in 1993 (at Kentucky); 24 points over Arizona State in 1995 (at Kentucky); 31 points over Utah in 1996 (at Kentucky); 15 points over St. Joseph’s in 1997 (at Kentucky); 14 points over Washington in 2005 (at Louisville); and 19 points over Tennessee last year (at Louisville).
Why? Two reasons: Pitino is a preparation monster, when the five-day window between second round and third round comes into play; and he gets his teams to play with a great deal of looseness at this stage.
Best Record in Sweet 16
|Joe B. Hall||5-2|