With a day to go until Michigan’s monumental second-round matchup against the Louisville Cardinals, Rick Pitino is already signalling this will be one for the ages.
"We're playing against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday," Rick Pitino said in Indianapolis. "I've never seen - I watched the second half. I've never seen shooting like that since I've been a coach. It's incredible the way they shoot the basketball."
Pitino is referring, of course, to Michigan’s 11-for-15 performance from behind the arc in the second half against Oklahoma State, which netted them a gritty 92-91 win against Brad Underwood and the Cowboys. Their 16 three-pointers overall tied a Big Ten record in the NCAA Tournament.
"Look, we know what we're in for," Pitino added. "It will be the toughest second round matchup I've had since I've been in this business. They're a great basketball team.”
He continued: “I've seen them in person lose to my son (against the Gophers in a game in February). But since that point, seeing them in person, they are an entirely different basketball team. And they're lethal, and they're on a great run right now. I think it will be a heck of a game."
He also said this weekend that John Beilein was "the toughest guy to prepare for of any coach I've ever gone against."
For Michigan, this will be a juicy opportunity to get revenge for the championship game loss in 2013, but it’s also just another chance to keep proving themselves.
After the game, Derrick Walton said he was “extremely proud” of what Michigan’s done so far, and he credited the defense as their secret weapon going forward.
“We were so focused on trying to get a stop, knowing that we can match ‘em (offensively), It’s just about getting stops.” ...
“Anybody can go and have a huge game, so, knowing that I think it takes a lot off Coach Beilein not having to put so much pressure on one guy - just knowing that we can get each other shots in the flow of the game.”
The game tips off tomorrow on CBS.