Rick Pitino 'accepts' Mark Pope's unofficial series proposal between Kentucky, St. John's

After Mark Pope called out St. John's and Rick Pitino to schedule a home-and-home series on Sunday, Pitino seems to accept the challenge.
Feb 13, 2024; Providence, Rhode Island, USA; St. John's Red Storm head coach Rick Pitino reacts to
Feb 13, 2024; Providence, Rhode Island, USA; St. John's Red Storm head coach Rick Pitino reacts to / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Pitino back in Lexington? Well, it's definitely a possibility after Mark Pope called him out publicly during his introductory press conference as new Kentucky head coach on Sunday.

Pope, who played under Pitino at Kentucky and won the 1996 National Championship together, was asked about his process on non-conference scheduling and what goes into the decisions around neutral site games and pre-season tournaments.

Without hesitation, one opponent came to Pope's mind.

“Anybody down for a game with St. John’s," Pope said on Sunday with a smile.

On Monday, Pitino reponsded and seemed to be more than open to the idea, already saying he 'accepts' the proposal.

"St. John's accepts, this year at UK, next year at the Mecca (Madison Square Garden)," Pitino wrote on social media. "Looking forward to saying goodbye to Kentucky."

While nothing official has been announced, or likely worked out on paper, it now seems inevitable that a home-and-home series will be discussed and finalized.

Not only would Pitino's return bring fans to the seats inside Rupp Arena, Kentucky has always been a fanbase that travels. And to MSG, nothing will change.

Pitino has been extremely vocal over the past week about what Mark Pope would mean to Kentucky and what he would bring to the program as its next head coach. The relationship between the two is clearly very strong and Pitino didn't hide that.

"Mark Pope will go on to greatness," Pitino said. "You can put it down ... nobody epitomizes the name Kentucky on the front of the jersey like Mark Pope."

After the lack of connectivity between the older players and the new group of Kentucky players, bringing Pope to Lexington was meant to bring that connection back. If this series gets finalized, it'll be another step in doing so.