If you weren’t in the Pit on Tuesday night and instead tuned into the nationally televised broadcast of San Jose State vs. the New Mexico Lobos, you caught an earful.
The game was one of FS1’s exclusive “All-Access” broadcasts that features running commentary throughout the game — and during halftime — from live microphones worn by each team’s head coach.
SJSU’s Tim Miles and UNM’s Richard Pitino, friends from when the two coached against each other in the Big Ten, agreed over the summer to do the game — both hoping it would add some exposure to the rebuilding efforts both have undertaken with the two Mountain West programs.
READ MORE: Lobos handle San Jose State, improve to 17-2
Social media reviews of the game were largely complimentary as it offered rarely, if ever, before seen (and heard) aspects of the game fans aren’t usually privy to.
Some suggested it was a little distracting from the actual game play. Others said it might have been better in smaller doses rather than throughout the entire game and then others offered up that they wish they could always watch games that way because of the insight, and often humor, it brought to the game from the coaches.
As for the coaches themselves, both said afterward they were just glad when it was over without any embarrassing moments or curse words heard.
“Thank you. I will never, ever do it again,” was Pitino’s reply to FS1’s Casey Jacobson in an on-court, postgame interview when thanked for taking part during the game, which UNM won 77-57.
Pitino said that while he warned players to be mindful of his being on a hot mic, he didn’t want to alter anything about his approach.
“What I was worried about was I didn’t want to add any extra elements that were going to make something difficult for our guys, especially with the season that we’re having,” Pitino said to local media afterward. “… It brought some spotlight to our program. I didn’t change the way that I coached at all.”
Among the interesting exchanges was a charging foul called on UNM Lobo point guard Jaelen House while defended by SJSU’s Alvaro Cardenas with 10:43 left in the first half.
Pitino, and more than 11,000 of his closest friends in the Pit, certainly believed the lightning-quick House got his left shoulder past the body of Cardenas before contact was made and Cardenas went tumbling to the floor.
Referee Kelly Pfeifer saw it differently, calling a charge on House.
Seconds later, Pitino is heard yelling across the court to Pfeifer, suggesting it was unlikely his 6-foot, 170-pound point guard could have actually knocked Cardenas to the floor.
“That’s a flop, Kelly! That’s a flop!” Pitino yelled. “He’s not that strong.”
“Yes he is, Richard,” Miles chimed in from his end of the court.
Pitino looked down the court at Miles and sarcastically dismissed him with a wave of the hand and a smile.
“Go back over there,” Pitino said.
About two minutes later, when Pfeifer was in front of the SJSU bench, Miles walked behind him and said, “That charge call is such an easy call. I’m just so proud of you to make the easy call and do it right away.”
During a timeout while the referees were conducting a video review with 14:14 left in the game, Pitino was seen drawing up a play and heard saying it would run to the left.
As play was about to resume on the court, a Lobo player off screen asked Pitino which direction they were going.
“Left,” answered Pitino. “Do you ever pay attention when I talk? No. Never.”
Tuesday night, plenty of people were paying attention to what the coaches were saying all game long.
FRIDAY: Boise State at UNM, 9 p.m., FS1, 770 AM/96.3 FM