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UNM's Richard Pitino named to late season watch list for Naismith National Coach of the Year

Feb. 23—UNM basketball coach Richard Pitino on Friday was announced as one of 15 coaches named to the Naismith Men's College Coach of the Year late season watch list.

Pitino has the Lobos sitting at 21-6 overall, 9-5 in Mountain West play, still in the hunt for a conference championship and a likely invite to the NCAA Tournament with four regular season games remaining.

A league title would be the program's first since 2013 (it won a MW Tournament title in 2014) and a trip to the NCAA Tournament would be the Lobos' first since 2014.

Pitino, in his third season at UNM, has led the team to three wins over ranked opponents this season, more than the three previous seasons combined, and took over a program in 2021 that won just four games against Division I opponents (6-16 overall) the season prior.

Pitino is one of two Mountain West coaches (Utah State's Danny Sprinkle) and five non-power six conference coaches named to the list.

The list of 15 coaches named to the late season watch list, as named by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, include (alphabetically):

—Hubert Davis, North Carolina

—Bryce Drew, Grand Canyon

—Anthony Grant, Dayton

—Dan Hurley, UConn

—Nate Oats, Alabama

—T.J. Otzelberger, Iowa State

—Matt Painter, Purdue

—Lamont Paris, South Carolina

—Bruce Pearl, Auburn

—Richard Pitino, New Mexico

—Mark Pope, BYU

—Kelvin Sampson, Houston

—Josh Schertz, Indiana State

—Kyle Smith, Washington State

—Danny Sprinkle, Utah State