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Pitino lobbies for Friars NCAA bid

Moments after his team defeated Providence, 73-55, in the Big East quarterfinals, Louisville coach Rick Pitino said he believes the Friars should get an at-large invitation to the NCAA Tournament.

He also, in a way, lobbied for Penn State (21-10, 10-8) to make the Big Dance.

“Anytime you go over .500 in the ACC, the Big 10 and the Big East, you should automatically be in,” Pitino said. “I don’t want to hear about all the other stuff, automatically be in, because you’re playing the toughest competition. If your league is down in a given year, then it becomes subjective, but we all know that this league is not down.

“We all know Providence beat the No. 1 team in the country. They’ve got five 1,000-point scorers. In my mind, if someone is over .500 in the Big East, they deserve to be in the tournament.”

Providence (19-13 overall) went 10-8 in the Big East and finished in eighth place. The Friars, of course, beat then No. 1 Pitt on Feb. 24.

Said Providence coach Keno Davis, “We’ll have our fingers crossed on Sunday.”

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