Before anyone had a chance to make it about Richard Pitino, the Minnesota Golden Gophers let it be known their performance in the NCAA Tournament had nothing to do with winning for their head coach.
Behind a barrage of shots from distance, Minnesota managed to defeat the Louisville Cardinals in the first-round of the Big Dance. After the game, as people began to salivate at the idea of this being “revenge” by Junior for his father’s firing in Louisville, Minnesota talent Jordan Murphy shut it down immediately.
“This wasn’t about getting the win for coach Pitino. It was about getting the win for us in general and advancing to the next round,” said Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy, who scored 18 points. “That’s what makes him happy, and that’s what makes us happy.”
To be fair to Richard Pitino, he also claimed before the game that this wasn’t about his father or revenge or other lazy narrative driven tropes. After the victory, he instead deflected some praise to his players.
“I thought we played really good defense when we needed to. We showed great toughness and grit down the stretch,” Pitino said. “You can’t undersell it. That’s a terrific win for our guys. Being proud of (them is) probably an understatement for these guys.”
This was the first NCAA Tournament win for the Minnesota Golden Gophers since Tubby Smith’s last season with the program in 2012-13.
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