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Pitino could give a rip about an exhibition in The Bucket


Mike Miller

Rick Pitino doesn’t care who plays in the KFC Yum! Center. Now stop asking.

Louisville coach’s held court Wednesday mostly to discuss his team’s trip to the Bahamas next week, but a few other topics snuck in. And one involved a topic Pitino doesn’t care for, thank you.

Going over this year’s NCAA tournament loss to Morehead State wasn’t too bad. Every coach has to recount the tough losses at some point. No biggie. (Especially since he said the 2010 loss to Cal was more painful.)

But he has no interest in discussing the future events of the Cardinals’ home arena unless it’s one of their games. Any game involving a John Calipari-coached Dominican National team vs. former Kentucky players does not rate.

“I know nothing about that,” Pitino said. “I haven’t followed it, somebody just asked me about it for the first time this morning. I know nothing about it. It’s no different than Villanova or West Virginia, or anybody else playing there. It’s a free country and the KFC, last time I checked, was part of this country.”

Not only is it part of this country, it’s also one of the country’s top arenas! Who wouldn’t want to stage an exhibition at The Bucket?

The Dominican team’s slated to play the former UK stars – featuring Rajon Rondo, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Nazr Mohammad among others – on Aug. 15 in Lexington’s Rupp Arena. That’s an obvious site. Ticketmaster’s selling tickets to an Aug. 16 game at the Yum!, and not at Freedom Hall, another Louisville arena that used to the Cards’ home site. Why not have it there? According to the AP, Pitino became irritated at that question.

Does he have to repeat himself? He doesn’t set The Bucket’s schedule. If you ask again, things might get ugly.

“That’s a public facility, it’s our homecourt during the season, but obviously anybody can go in there,” Pitino said. “Lady Gaga can go in there, or the Dominican team can go in there.

“None of that is any of my business. We’re just concerned with Louisville first, we’re not concerned with anything any of our competitors do. We don’t pay any attention to our competitors except when it’s time to play them and I really mean that sincerely.”

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.