Dec. 18, 2013
The Minnesota men's basketball team will travel to Puerto Rico next November, opening the season in the 2014 Armed Forces Classic at the U.S. Coast Guard's Air Station Borinquen. There, head coach Richard Pitino and the Gophers will face the Louisville Cardinals and head coach Rick Pitino, in the second-ever clash between the son and father as head coaches.
"We're excited about the opportunity to be invited to the Armed Forces Classic," said Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino. "It's a great event that ESPN has put on at the beginning of the season, and we're proud and excited to be a part of it."
The game, which will be played on Friday, November 14, 2014, is sponsored by ESPN and the U.S. Department of Defense. It will be the third-annual event in the series, after games this November in Camp Humphreys, South Korea (Oregon 82, Georgetown 75) and the inaugural contest in Ramstein, Germany in 2012 (Connecticut 66, Michigan State 62).
This will be the fifth meeting between the two schools, including a 70-64 Gophers victory in the most recent competition at the 2008 Stadium Shootout in Glendale, Ariz. Overall, Minnesota leads the all-time series 3-1.
Richard Pitino, who has guided the Gophers thus far to a 9-2 record in his first season at the helm, has faced his father's team once before. Last year, Richard Pitino's FIU squad fell to his father's Cardinals in Louisville, 79-55. The younger Pitino served as an assistant under his father for three seasons at Louisville, from 2007-09 as assistant coach and the 2011-12 season as associate head coach.
Basketball Hall of Famer Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals are the current defending national champions, and will be competing under the Atlantic Coast Conference banner for the first time in 2014.
"Opening against a team of Louisville's caliber means that we have to get to work right away," the Minnesota head coach added. "Playing one of the best teams in the country in the first game of the season, we're going to have to work hard in the summer and the fall to prepare for a tough opponent early."
The contest will be televised on ESPN and serve as part of the network's America's Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans initiative, honoring the men and women who are serving and have served in the United States military, both at home and abroad. The Armed Forces Classic is owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN.
Minnesota holds off Vanderbilt in 56-52 win
Minnesota erased a 12-point first half deficit and hung on Saturday to defeat Vanderbilt 56-52.
Preview: Gophers vs. Vanderbilt
The Minnesota men's basketball team returns to Sioux Falls to face the Commodores on Saturday.
Pitino Blog: State of the Gophers
Coach Pitino breaks down the first seven games of the season and evaluates the team in his latest blog.