It didn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that Rick Pitino would find at least some success taking over the Iona Gaels in 2020. But after what he did yesterday, Pitino has made even more college basketball history.
On Thursday, Pitino’s Iona team upset No. 10 Alabama in a 72-68 stunner. In doing so, the Gaels became the first team in the history of the Metro Atlanta Athletic Conference (MAAC) to beat an AP top-10 team. The MAAC had lost 119 games against the AP top-10 heading into yesterday’s game.
After the game, Pitino spoke about how proud he was of his players. “I’m happy for the guys,” Pitino said, via ESPN. “They are great guys to coach. I’m really, really excited, happy for them.”
With the win over the Crimson Tide, Iona are now 6-0 and the only undefeated team in their conference. They’ll likely find themselves ranked in the days to come.
— Iona Men’s Basketball (@IonaGaelsMBB) November 26, 2021
Last year Rick Pitino led Iona from the eighth seed in the MAAC to a conference tournament title, securing his team’s spot in the NCAA Tournament. His team lost to Alabama in the First Round, finishing with a 12-6 record.
With the way Pitino has the Gaels playing right now, another conference title could be in the cards. From there anything is possible.
He may be a controversial figure in college sports, but Pitino is still one of college basketball’s all-time greats.
How far can Pitino take the Iona Gaels this year?