Mike Krzyzewski is coming under fire after calls to “reassess” the 2020-21 season, but Iona head coach Rick Pitino is coming to his defense.
College basketball games are being postponed due to COVID-19 left and right. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski recently called for the NCAA to “reassess” the college hoops season given the current state of the country.
Plenty of folks felt like Coach K was taking this stance due to the fact that Duke is struggling out of the gate. And it’s not just Twitter trolls or WFAN callers, Alabama coach Nate Oats went on record to criticize Krzyzewski for being a sore loser.
“Let me ask you a question,” said Oats via Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “Do you think Coach K would be saying that if he hadn’t lost those two non-conference games at home?”
“A lot of people misread that, that it was because he lost the game,” Pitino said via Josh Thomson of The Journal News. “I think he’s won enough that no one should question his comments after one loss. I think he was sincere. I think it’s the health and safety of athletes is most important right now. I think he sees what’s going to happen in January and February like most of us. I think a lot of coaches are afraid to speak out.”
The Hall of Famer has been outspoken in regards to COVID-19 and the 2020-21 season. As recently as May, Pitino was calling for the season to be pushed back with a subsequent rebranding of the NCAA Tournament as “May Madness.”
I’ll say it again, to anyone who will listen, push the season back to March, and then have May Madness. Give the Vaccine a chance. In the best interest of all involved!
— Rick Pitino (@RealPitino) November 23, 2020
It’s unlikely that the NCAA puts a full halt to the season right now. It looks like the plan is to continue adapting the schedule as needed.
Speaking of adapting the schedule, Iona will play a back-to-back with Fairfield. The Gaels were originally scheduled to play Siena and later Monmouth, but both programs were shut down due to COVID-19 exposure. Right now, Pitino is being brutally honest about where his team is at. You can read his full comments in Thomson’s piece on Lohud.
Pitino’s comments line up with the latest ESNY NY/NJ College Hoops Rankings. Keep in mind, those rankings came out before Iona’s disappointing loss to Morgan State on Tuesday. The Gaels could use a strong weekend to help right the ship.