Apparently the Jim Boeheim-Rick Pitino relationship has gone the through the exact opposite progression as the Jim Calhoun-Rick Pitino relationship.
Calhoun and Pitino went from hated rivals (at Northeastern and BU) to tolerable colleagues to somewhat friends.
Boeheim and Pitino, who were once worked together, have apparently gone the other way.
On Wednesday at Big East media day, the two got into a little he said-he said situation.
It started with Pitino’s comment that Memphis and Temple (entering the league next year in men’s basketball) would make adequate replacements for the departing Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
“Rick’s full of (poop), if that’s what he really said,” Boeheim said Wednesday to a small group of reporters. “And if he was in the Big 12 where he wanted to be right now, he’d be saying the Big 12 is the best.”
The conference realignment issue is still touchy, even if no new moves have been announced recently.
For what it’s worth, Pitino meant basketball-wise the two new schools could fill those vacated shoes, not in terms of brand name and ticket sales.
Boeheim probably understood that but still had some venom.
“If Rick and Louisville could have left, they would have left,” Boeheim said. “Everybody knows it. I’m really tired of hearing him say what Syracuse should be or shouldn’t have done, because they would have left in a heartbeat.”
After he cooled his heels a bit, Boeheim pointed out what most believe. The Big East will probably survive in some form even without Syracuse.
“Teams have come into this league, teams have gone out of this league. The league is still good,” Boeheim said.
“The Big East will be fine. It’s a really good basketball conference and it’s always been one, since Dave Gavitt started it,” Boeheim said. “It’s going to be a real good one without me and without Rick and without Jim Calhoun. It survived losing John Thompson and Lou Carnesecca and Rollie Massimino. It survived losing a lot of other teams that were in this league. And it’s going to survive because they’ve got good schools, good basketball schools. It’s going to survive and be good.”
Later in the day, Pitino defended his initial remarks and called Boeheim “full of (poop).” He said it with a smile, though, so don’t expect fisticuffs when the Orange and Cardinals meet this season.
Still, it made for some fun Wednesday.