21years later, Pitino and Coach K meet again
TribLIVE Sports Videos
INDIANAPOLIS — Mike Krzyzewski and Rick Pitino are finally doing an encore.
For the first time since their teams played perhaps the greatest game in the history of March Madness, Krzyzewski and Pitino will meet in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday when top-seeded Louisville faces Duke. In the regional finals, no less.
Krzyzewski and Pitino are forever linked by that one game in Philadelphia, immortalized by Christian Laettner's improbable shot.
“It's one of those moments in time that helped define our sport,” Krzyzewski said Saturday.
Krzyzewski and Pitino have five NCAA titles and 1,618 victories between them. Yet for all of their success, and for as good a friends as they are, Krzyzewski and Pitino rarely play each other.
When Louisville (32-5) and Duke (30-5) played in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in November — Duke won — it was the first time Krzyzewski and Pitino had played each other since '92. Sunday's game will be just their third meeting.
“That's why we got them in the conference. Got to start doing this a little bit more,” Krzyzewski joked, referring to Louisville's upcoming move to the ACC.
But almost nothing could top that first meeting between them.
The Blue Devils, led by Laettner and Grant Hill, were defending national champions in 1992. Kentucky was on the rise again after two years on probation. When they met in the old Spectrum for the East Region finals, it was a showdown of the 1 and 2 seeds, a game worthy of a national championship.
After coming from 10 down in regulation, Kentucky appeared to have the game won when Sean Woods made a running bank shot in the lane with 2.5 seconds left in overtime. Duke called a timeout, and gave the ball to Grant Hill to inbound.
The Wildcats knew the ball was going to Laettner. But without Jamal Mashburn —he'd fouled out — Pitino pulled John Pelphrey and Deron Feldhaus aside and warned them not to foul.
“I said, ‘Whatever you do, don't foul him. He hasn't missed a shot,' ” Pitino recalled. “I shouldn't have done that. That was the mistake I made. I should have said, ‘Whatever you do, bat down the ball. I don't care what the contact is, go for the basketball.'
“You saw my guys freeze a little bit.”
Hill threw a strike from the far baseline and found Laettner at the foul line with his back to the basket. Laettner faked right, spun to his left and swished a 15-footer as the buzzer sounded.
Duke would go on to win its second straight title, beating Michigan in the final.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.S. Steel to relocate to new corporate headquarters on former site of Civic Arena
- Clues to Chief Justice John Roberts’ thinking on new ObamaCare case
- Pirates trade Davis to A’s for international signing bonus money
- AP: Hagel to resign as secretary of defense
- CT scans can find smokers’ lung cancer early
- Iraqi family, torn apart for opposing Saddam, reunites in Pittsburgh
- Starkey: No explaining Steelers, AFC North
- NFL parity makes playoff chase a multi-team muddle
- Pitt notebook: Chryst keeps Panthers motivated amid adversity
- Finding balance between toughness, excessiveness key for Penguins’ Downie
- For Steelers, a fight to finish for playoff berth