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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Mike McDaniel

Rick Pitino Offers Cheeky Answer on How to Defeat UConn in Big East Tournament

Rick Pitino has St. John’s on the cusp of its first men’s NCAA tournament appearance since the 2018–19 season, after the Red Storm defeated Seton Hall 91–72 in Thursday’s Big East tournament quarterfinal.

As No. 2 UConn awaits on Friday’s conference tournament semifinal, Pitino knows that his team will be up against it. When asked how his team could pull off an upset, Pitino offered quite the answer.

“We gotta have about six of their players get COVID,” Pitino said with a wry smile.

It’s Pitino’s first year coaching the Red Storm, and this certainly isn’t the most talented team that he ever has. But at 71 years old, Pitino has proven that he is every bit of the Hall of Fame coach that he’s always been. 

Getting St. John’s into a position to make the NCAA tournament in his first season at the helm, after a successful three-year stint at Iona, is a testament to that.

Now the Red Storm will head into Friday’s game with a chip on their shoulders, in hopes of pulling off an upset and moving closer to an opportunity to win a conference title.

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