Pitino relives 25 years of Kentucky-Duke as a kid

Published 8:22 am Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Richard Pitino’s first real memory of March Madness stands as one of the defining moments in college basketball history — and a day that most Kentucky fans have spent 25 years trying to forget.

He was 9 years old in The Spectrum in Philadelphia on March 28, 1992, watching his father Rick coach Kentucky to the brink of the Final Four against defending champion Duke. The Wildcats were 2.1 seconds from the upset when Christian Laettner hit the buzzer beater to top all buzzer beaters .

As the 25th anniversary of that incredible shot approaches, Richard is set to make his NCAA Tournament debut as a head coach with Minnesota.

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The boy who spent his childhood following his coaching legend father from arena to arena, tournament to tournament, through triumph and heartbreak, now striking out on his own. It’s almost poetic, unless you’re Pitino.

“No. It’s not a movie,” Pitino said on Tuesday before his fifth-seeded Golden Gophers left for Milwaukee to face 12th-seed Middle Tennessee State in their opening game. “I woke up this morning and I had coffee and I took my daughter to school. We don’t really do that in the real world. There’s no narrator as I’m driving in or anything.”