ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – On Sunday, one of the most accomplished coaches in the history of college basketball is coming to the Pit. UNM is set to host Iona, led by two-time national champion, and Lobo head coach Richard Pitino’s father, Rick Pitino.
While the matchup between father-son Pitino is highly anticipated throughout the college basketball world, Richard and the Lobos aren’t looking at the game as any sort of family drama.
“If you were at our practice, if you were at our film sessions, you wouldn’t know who the coach of the opposing team was,” said Richard. “It’s business as usual for us. I’ve told my players that it’s never going to be about me. We’ve put ourselves in a position after ten games to maybe do something special. So, I’m not going to make it about me versus my dad.”
Since much of the focus over the weekend will still be on the father-son matchup, Richard and the Lobos hope to take advantage of the opportunity to bring the UNM basketball program back into the national spotlight.
“I didn’t schedule it because I thought I could beat him, I scheduled it because I thought we could get a great crowd and we could potentially get a nationally televised game and we’ve been able to do both.”
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Over 11,000 tickets have already been sold for Sunday’s game, and it is anticipated to be the largest crowd so far this year. The first 3,000 fans in attendance will be given spirit shakers, and the Pit is advising fans to arrive early due to new metal detectors at the arena.
The game is scheduled to tip off at 4:30 with doors opening at 3 p.m. The game will also be broadcast nationally on FS1.