The Cardinals fell 75–73 after missing a contested three at the final buzzer, and video surfaced afterward of Pitino walking back to the locker room and making a gesture toward the crowd. It was unclear from the shot exactly what happened.
Pitino told ESPN’s Dana O’Neil in a text message that he didn’t flip off fans, but was unhappy with some of the comments coming from the crowd after the rivalry game ended. He chose not to go into details about the things he heard.
"No I didn't flip off the fans,” Pitino said. “I was in the tunnel. People were yelling ugly crude things that I didn't like. The 1-8 comment [referring to Pitino's record against Kentucky coach John Calipari] was fine. But the other comments I didn't like.'”
Asked whether he gestured in any way toward the crowd, Pitino said, “My recollection was a, ‘we r #1.’”
Pitino had associate head coach Ralph Willard handle the postgame press conference. The No. 16 Cardinals fell to 11–2.
- Jeremy Woo