INDIANAPOLIS -- Louisville coach Rick Pitino said one of his players mistakenly thought a CBS sideline reporter was stealing plays Friday for Jacksonville State when she was near their huddle in the Cardinals' NCAA tournament win.
"This is a very inexperienced team," Pitino told reporters after the 78-63 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. "We're down two scholarships. Our backcourt is a little thin. Show you how inexperienced we are, one of my players said, 'There's a lady in the huddle stealing our plays.' It's Tracy Wolfson."
CBS' Wolfson said via Twitter she found Pitino's assertion humorous, though the coach was not joking, according to a Louisville spokesman.
Yes. That was funny! Appreciate coach allowing the access though https://t.co/pu876Kk4OL
— Tracy Wolfson (@tracywolfson) March 17, 2017
"They thought she was giving it to the other team," Pitino said. "I told [sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell], she's not doing that -- no, it wasn't him."
The longtime coach wasn't laughing about his next game. Pitino spoke highly of Michigan, Louisville's opponent in the Midwest Regional's second round Sunday. He called the Wolverines, who shot 55 percent from the 3-point line in their win over Oklahoma State on Friday, "the Golden State Warriors."
"We know what we're in for," said Pitino, who added he was courtside when his son Richard Pitino's Minnesota squad played Michigan earlier this year. "It will be the toughest second-round matchup I've had since I've been in this business. They're a great basketball team."
On Friday, the second-seeded Cardinals took full advantage of their opportunities, outscoring the Gamecocks 44-14 in the paint, 24-3 on second-chance points and 11-0 on fast-break points to pull away in this first-round game.
Louisville, which sat out last season's tourney because of a school-imposed postseason ban for alleged recruiting violations, gave up the first eight points and trailed for the first 13 minutes before rallying.
Jacksonville State cut the deficit to 10 midway through the second half, then got within 61-52 with 6:53 to go before running out of steam.
"When they shoot 50 percent, go 10-for-19 from the 3 and you still win by 15, you have to take it," Pitino said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.