The year is 1983. Boston University and Holy Cross battle for the ECAC North Atlantic title – one win away from the NCAA Tournament. At the helm of the Terriers: 30-year-old Rick Pitino.
Pitino’s floor general: Shawn Teague, a transfer guard from Missouri.
Teague scores 10 points and dishes out seven assists in the Terriers’ 63-62 win and Pitino leads his first team to the NCAA Tournament.
A lot has happened in the 29 years since Pitino’s first trip to the Dance with the Terriers. The ECAC North Atlantic became the North Atlantic Conference and then its name changed to the America East Conference, Teague played two more all-conference seasons at Boston U., Pitino left Comm. Ave., guided 16 more teams to the tourney, reached the Final Four with at least one team in each of the last four decades and won a national title with Kentucky in 1996.
With all that said, the 2012 Final Four, where yet another Pitino squad (Louisville) will play, has a remarkably interesting America East feel to it.
On one side you have Pitino, who in five seasons with the Terriers back in the late 70s and early 80s compiled a 91-51 record (.641). He has since gone on to win 536 more games in stints at Providence, Kentucky and now with the Cardinals.
And on the other side you have Pitino’s former team, Kentucky. One Wildcat in particular might send Pitino all the way back to 1983, all the way back to Walter Brown Arena, all the way back to memories of coaching Shawn Teague. Why? Because Shawn’s son, Marquis, runs the show for Kentucky averaging 10 points and nearly five assists per game in this, his freshman season.
Marquis wears the same No. 25 that his father donned while playing for Boston U. and now looks to help Kentucky beat his dad’s former coach for a chance to play for a national title.
Pitino talked rivalries today on the Scott Van Pelt Show on ESPN Radio in lead up to the Louisville-Kentucky game on Saturday.
“Being at Kentucky and being at Louisville, you want to beat each other. But no more than Duke and Carolina. No more than Northeastern and Boston University,” Pitino said. “You have your rivalries and that’s pretty much it. It’s really not personal.”
It’s Teague’s Wildcats versus Pitino’s Cardinals, a matchup that no one could foresee back in 1983.