Rick Pitino Fires Back At John Calipari

You knew Rick Pitino wouldn't wait forever. Turns out he couldn't even wait a couple of days.

In response to Kentucky head coach John Calipari stating earlier this week that Kentucky basketball was unique because it was the only real program in the state, Rick Pitino delivered the following statement to CBS:

"Four things I've learned in my 59 years about people," Pitino said. "I ignore the jealous, I ignore the malicious, I ignore the ignorant and I ignore the paranoid."

"If the shoe fits anyone," he added. "Wear it."

Oh my.

This comes on top of a fresh column penned by the Louisville Courier-Journal's Rick Bozich that centers around the idea that Calipari has a monster case of Pitino-envy.

It certainly appears to be true that Calipari has blatantly targeted several players being recruited by Pitino over the past two years. He ended up stealing Marquis Teague (who had claimed Louisville as his favorite since his sophomore year of college), and nearly stole Elisha Justice. Coach Cal also took the gig as head coach of the Dominican Republic National team only after Pitino had accepted the same position with Puerto Rico (Pitino later had to decline because of scheduling conflicts).

Then there are the verbal jabs. John Calipari called the Big East "overhyped." Rick Pitino called the SEC "second rate." Calipari made fun of Pitino's white suit. Pitino said Calipari's face looked like Lyle Lovett if he'd been badly burned in a fire. OK, the last one's not true, but you get the gist.

The Kentucky/Louisville rivalry was already the most contentious in college basketball, but this is getting unreal. I mean, I can't think of another collegiate (or pro, really) series where the distaste between the two heads of the programs is this blatant.

One thing's for sure, the New Year's Eve meeting between the Cats and the Cards will be can't-miss theater.

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