Before Wednesday night, Rick Pitino didn’t expect Chapel Hill to be a place where he’d get into it with a fan. But at halftime of Louisville’s 74-63 loss to North Carolina, the Cardinals coach had to be restrained as he exchanged words with one of the Tar Heel faithful.
The incident occurred as Pitino was on his way to the locker room at half:
After the game, Pitino wouldn’t elaborate on what the fan said other than providing a wry “something kind about me.” Whatever it was, it was enough to get the fan ejected.
“I’ve always said this is the classiest place in college basketball until I met a fan on the way out,” Pitino stated “It always reminded me of a class place, but they’re getting just like some of the other places now.”
Kentucky’s Rupp Arena might be one of those “other places” to which Pitino was referring. Last season, the Louisville head man may or may not have given the one-finger salute to a Wildcat fan.
As for Wednesday, here’s one account:
Pitino had to be restrained by assistant coaches after fan yelled "you suck" towards him
— Matt Hodgin (@MCHodgin) February 23, 2017
For the record, UNC coach Roy Williams also chimed in on the situation.
“We’re North Carolina. We don’t have to be like everybody else,” Williams said. “You can raise Cain, you can boo, but you don’t have to say the stuff that we, as coaches, have to put up with. I hope that never happens again at North Carolina. I apologize to Rick. I don’t know what was said, but cheer like crazy for us. I know some of the junk that I have to listen to on the road is not what I enjoy.”