NCAA

Father vs. son when No. 5 Louisville hosts FIU

Father vs. son when No. 5 Louisville hosts FIU

MIAMI (AP) Richard Pitino made his peace with the reality long ago. No matter what he does as a coach, he knows comparisons to his father will always be made.

Florida International's coach doesn't mind.

``I, more than anything, embrace it,'' he said.

There will be someone else for him to embrace Wednesday night - his aforementioned father. Richard Pitino gets to match wits with Rick Pitino in Louisville, Ky., when FIU (3-4) travels to meet the fifth-ranked Cardinals (9-1). The matchup was scheduled not long after the younger Pitino left his dad's staff to coach the Panthers.

It shapes up as a mismatch. Louisville is a major national-title hopeful with a storied coach who has taken teams to six Final Fours and won 638 games. FIU was picked to finish last in its division of the Sun Belt Conference, made its only trip to the NCAA tournament in 1995 and has a coach with exactly three wins on his resume.

None of that will matter Wednesday.

``I don't worry about it going away. I don't want it to go away,'' Richard Pitino said of the parallels drawn between him and his father. ``I talk to him every day about basketball. Putting him being my father aside, I think he's the greatest coach out there.''

It's a total family affair. There was a family dinner planned for Tuesday night after FIU's arrival. Richard Pitino and his family were planning to spend the night at his parents' home, and Wednesday will carry more emotion than even a father-son game ordinarily would. It's the annual Billy Minardi Classic for the Cardinals, a contest named for Rick Pitino's brother-in-law who was killed in the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

``Billy was very close with Richard and vice versa,'' Rick Pitino said Tuesday, when asked his thoughts on what the night will mean to the family. ``It's going to mean a great deal to him, seeing his uncle's picture around. Our family right now is more apprehensive and nervous than Richard and me. We know it's a basketball game. We know what it's all about.''

Rick Pitino has been in these close-to-the-heart games before, with 24 of his other former assistants or players having become head coaches. Louisville officials say there have been 44 instances of them coaching against their former mentor - with Rick Pitino going 34-10 in those games.

Included in that record: Rick Pitino is 7-0 against Billy Donovan, someone that Richard Pitino counts as an idol. FIU's style, quite simply, is one that meshes the teachings of Donovan's offense and Pitino's defense, and that isn't by accident.

``I've told him, stay after him,'' Rick Pitino said, referring to how his son mimics part of Donovan's style. ``That's your blueprint. There's no better model in the coaching ranks.''

Also according to Louisville, it's the 17th time in NCAA Division I history that a father will coach against his son. The dads are 14-2 in those games, the most recent when Arkansas and Nolan Richardson topped Tennessee State and Nolan Richardson III 90-68 on Nov. 17, 2000. (That had three generations of the Richardson clan, with Nolan Richardson's grandson Garrett playing for Tennessee State.)

Maybe Rick Pitino should take note: That game was a three-point contest with 7 minutes left.

``He's got a great group of young men,'' Rick Pitino said of his son's team. ``They're working real hard for him.''

Richard Pitino isn't the only son of a famed coach roaming FIU's campus these days, either.

The men's soccer coach at FIU is Kenny Arena, the son of former U.S. men's national team coach Bruce Arena, now the coach of Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy. While the younger Pitino and Arena - both of whom have incredibly similar looks to their fathers - haven't sat down and swapped stories about what it was like growing up in a coach's world, both acknowledge their last names raise eyebrows and expectations.

``It is quite an honor and becomes more of an honor the older I get,'' Kenny Arena said. ``I appreciate more and more what my father did, and is still doing, in his career. The more acknowledgement that he gets, even if it's through me, I always appreciate it.''

If nothing else, the scouting reports for this FIU-Louisville game will be comprehensive.

As a recruiter, Richard Pitino got several of Louisville's current players to sign with the Cardinals and still texts some of them. Rick Pitino - who has contact with some Panthers players that he's gotten to know now - has been in some FIU practices and even seen them play in person already this season, checking them out while on a break from a recruiting trip. He said watching his son coach made him sick with nervousness.

The younger Pitino got a win that night, his Panthers topping Stetson 82-79.

``People always ask me the question: `How are you like your dad as a coach?' And I hate that question,'' Richard Pitino said. ``You're asking me to compare myself as a coach to a guy who's won a national title, been to six Final Fours and won more than 600 games. I'm not him. I'm not trying to live up to his legacy. To me, the comparisons are silly.''

Maybe, but Wednesday, they'll be inevitable.

``I think Richard has matured the right way,'' said Rick Pitino, who's having his wife sit near the FIU bench on Wednesday night. ``Nothing's been given to him. Much has been earned. When he was an assistant here I made him work twice as hard as the other assistants. He just worked really, really hard.''

Mercer @ North Carolina: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

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Mercer @ North Carolina: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

Mercer (4-7) heads to Chapel Hill to take on the Tar Heels (4-6) for an afternoon matchup live on NBC Sports Washington.

How to watch Mercer vs. North Carolina

Who: Mercer vs. North Carolina

When: Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, 3:30 p.m. ET

Where: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC.

TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington

Live Stream: NBC Sports Washington

Weather: 59 degrees, rain.

UNC full 2019 football schedule

Week 1: Sat Aug. 31 vs South Carolina: W 24-20

Week 2: Fri, Sep 13 @ Wake Forest: L 24-18

Week 3: Sat, Sep 21 vs Appalachian State: L 34-31 

Week 4: Sat, Sep 28 vs Clemson: L 21-20 

Week 5: Sat, Oct 5 @ Georgia Tech: W 38-22 

Week 6: Sat, Oct 19 @ Virginia Tech: L 43-41 

Week 7: Sat, Oct 26 vs Duke: W 20-17 

Week 8: Sat, Nov 2 vs Virginia: L 38-31

Week 9: Thu, Nov 14 @ Pittsburgh: L 34-27 OT 

Week 11: Sat, Nov 23 vs Mercer 3:30 PM 

Week 12: Sat, Nov 30 @ NC State 7:00 PM

Hokies sink record 21 3-pointers in win over Delaware State

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Hokies sink record 21 3-pointers in win over Delaware State

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young offered a simple explanation for his team’s record-setting performance Wednesday.

“All coaching,” he said, jokingly. “All coaching."

Nahiem Alleyne scored 20 points and the Hokies hit a school-record 21 3-pointers en route to an easy 100-64 victory over Delaware State on Wednesday.

Alleyne hit 7 of 11 from the floor, including five 3-pointers, and Jalen Cone added 17 points to help the Hokies (5-0) extend their home nonconference winning streak to 28 consecutive games. The freshmen guards led a balanced Virginia Tech attack in which nine players scored – and seven of them hit at least one 3-pointer.

“This offense is built on making 3s, but also they want us to drive more and get to the paint and get to the foul line more,” Alleyne said. ???But if we’re open, we’re going to take it.”

John Crosby led Delaware State (0-5) with 19 points.

The Hornets jumped out to a 7-0 lead, hitting three of their first five shots from the floor. But the Hokies found their shooting stroke and scored the next 11 points, never trailing again. The Hokies hit eight 3-pointers in the first half in grabbing a 45-27 halftime lead, and then they blew the game wide open in the second half, hitting 13 3s and scoring 55 points.

“We have a number of kids that can shoot the ball,” Young said. “I empower them. When the leather hits your hands, let ’er rip. If you’re open and in rhythm, and it’s a practice shot … we have a number of kids that shoot the ball well. I didn’t think we took a bad shot. I thought they were rhythm shots and good shots.”

Virginia Tech also set an ACC record with its 21 3-pointers. The Hokies hit 21 of their 37 3-point attempts, with Alleyne, Cone and Isaiah Wilkins hitting five each. Virginia Tech shot a season-best 56.5% (35 of 62) from the floor.

“They shot the cover off the ball,” Delaware State head coach Eric Skeeters said. “You think you did a good job of guard and rotate and switch and getting out to them, and then ‘Boom! Boom! Boom!’ … They played like an ACC team to their credit.”

TIP-INS

Delaware State: The Hornets could have one of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's better players in Crosby, who transferred from Dayton and sat out last season. The senior, who has scored in double figures in every game, wasn't intimidated at playing against an ACC opponent and showed an ability to create his own shot. If he continues to play well, he could lead the Hornets to a better finish than many expect. They were picked to finish 10th in the 11-team MEAC.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies finally were able to get Wilkins going after a slow start to the season. Wilkins, one of their more experienced players, was shooting just 34.8% (24 of 69) and had made just two 3-pointers coming into the game, but he scored 15 points in what marked his best outing of the season by far.

HOKIES READY FOR STEP UP

Virginia Tech hasn’t played a Power 5 school since its season-opening win over Clemson, and two of its past four games have been against teams picked in the bottom half of the MEAC (Delaware State and Coppin State). But the young Hokies – with just one senior on the roster – take a serious step up on the competition ladder when they face No. 3 Michigan State on Monday in the first round of the Maui Invitational in Hawaii.

“We go out there with a good basketball team,” Young said. “We’re going to improve. It’ll be a far different scout, a far different prep than what we’re accustomed to. They’re unlike anything that we’ve played to this point, but the time has come. The time has come to play somebody really, really good. It will test everything we have done with them through this point in the season, and I look forward to seeing them compete again.”

UP NEXT

Delaware State: The Hornets play at East Tennessee State on Saturday.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies play No. 3 Michigan State in Hawaii as part of the Maui Invitational on Monday.

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