Rick Pitino

Adam Glanzman / CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

Rick Pitino, the celebrated college basketball coach who led the Providence College Friars to the team’s last Final Four appearance in 1987, was fired as coach of the University of Louisville after an FBI investigation into a scandal surrounding the team.

Since the 1950s, Providence College basketball has been one of the great story lines in all of college sports, a New England version of the cinematic Hoosiers.

This tale flat-lined for too many years. But make no mistake: the Friars are back to the future, playing a marquee game tonight at Madison Square Garden, where the PC hoop legend really began all those years ago, in the early 1960s, with the National Invitational Tournament, when that post-season playoff at the Garden overshadowed the NCAA’s tournament.