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Former Louisville coach Rick Pitino believes the school should take legal action against the NCAA after the governing body nullified the Cardinals of the 2013 men’s basketball title.

Pitino, speaking from his attorney’s offices in New York, said the NCAA’s decision to have Louisville vacate the championship as part of sanctions for a sex scandal was unfair.

“I don’t know if this Board of Trustees will do that,” Pitino said when asked if Louisville should take legal action, “but they should because the players deserve it.”

The sex scandal occurred during Pitino’s coaching tenure, though the Hall of Fame coach once again reiterated that he didn’t know about the sex shows.

Pitino did take responsibility for the people he hired as assistants — including Andre McGee. It was McGee who an escort said hired her and other dancers for sex parties on campus with players and recruits that led to the NCAA investigation.

As for taking legal action himself, Pitino said he was defenseless in this situation, but he is suing Louisville for his dismissal. He was not fired after the sex scandal, but Louisville let him go in October after the school acknowledged the university was being investigated as part of a federal college corruption case.

That case is unrelated to the NCAA’s investigation of the sex scandal.

Louisville announced Tuesday that the NCAA had denied its appeal of sanctions that included vacating 123 victories and the return of about $600,000 in conference revenue from the 2012-15 NCAA Tournaments. The school later removed banners of the 2013 championship and 2012 Final Four appearance.

While the NCAA no longer recognizes Louisville as the 2013 national champion, it doesn’t mean the title falls to runner-up Michigan. Former Wolverines guard Tim Hardaway Jr., now a member of the New York Knicks, doesn’t believe it changes what Pitino or the Cardinals achieved.

“You could take away all the banners or whatever the case may be, but you can’t take away their legacy and what Pitino built there,” said Hardaway, who played on the Michigan team that lost 82-76 to Louisville in the championship game.

Michigan coach John Beilein said Tuesday the Wolverines have no plans to claim the title, saying they were beaten fair and square by Louisville.

Wednesday’s games

State women

(At) Michigan State 69, Wisconsin 61: Taryn McCutcheon scored 16 and Branndais Agee had 13 points and 14 rebounds as Michigan State (16-12, 6-9 Big Ten) surged in the fourth quarter to beat Wisconsin (9-20, 2-14).

(At) Central Michigan 91, Northern Illinois 71: Tinara Moore had 36 points and 12 rebounds, and Reyna Frost had 20 points as the first-place Chippewas (22-4, 14-1 Mid-American Conference) rolled. Presley Hudson had 17 points and 13 assists. Northern Illinois is 13-3, 5-10.

(At) Ball State 85, Western Michigan 58: Deja Wimby had 13 points and Breanna Mobley scored 10 as the Broncos (14-13, 7-8 MAC) fell on the road. Jasmin Samz scored 17 for Ball State (22-4, 11-4).

(At) Toledo 80, Eastern Michigan 69: Danielle Minott scored 30 and Sasha Dailey 17 as the Eagles (10-16, 6-9 MAC) fell on the road. Jay Bravo-Harriott scored 26 and Kaayla McIntyre 24 for Toledo (17-10, 8-7).

Big Ten

(At) Minnesota 86, Iowa 82: Nate Mason scored 33 as Minnesota snapped a nine-game losing streak with an 86-82 victory over Iowa on Wednesday night.

Dupree McBrayer scored 16 for Minnesota (15-15, 4-13 Big Ten), Jordan Murphy had 10 points and 10 rebounds and Davonte Fitzgerald also scored 10.

Isaiah Moss led Iowa with a career-high 32 points, including 19 in the final two minutes as the Hawkeyes (12-18, 3-14) fought their way back from an early 20-point deficit. Luka Garza added 16 points and Ryan Kriener scored a career-high 15 as the Hawkeyes lost their sixth straight

Top 25 men

(At) No. 1 Virginia 65, Georgia Tech 54: Ty Jerome scored 18 points and top-ranked Virginia clinched (25-2, 14-1) the regular season title and top seed next month in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. Ben Lammers scored 22 points to lead the Yellow Jackets (11-17, 4-11).

(At) No. 3 Villanova 93, DePaul 62: Mikal Bridges scored 27 points and Phil Booth added 14 in his return to the lineup from a broken right hand that sidelined him seven games. Eric Paschall had 16 points, and Jalen Brunson added 11 points and seven assists to help the Wildcats (25-3, 12-3 Big East). Max Strus scored 21 points for the Blue Demons (10-17, 3-12).

No. 4 Xavier 89, (at) Georgetown 77: Naji Marshall scored a career-high 21 points and Xavier beat Georgetown, bouncing back from its loss to No. 3 Villanova. J.P. Macura added 20 points and Quentin Goodin had 19 points to help the Musketeers (25-4, 13-3 Big East). Jamorko Pickett tied a career high with 21 points for Georgetown (15-11, 5-10).

(At) No. 5 Duke 82, Louisville 56: Grayson Allen scored 28, freshman Wendell Carter Jr. finished with 18 and and Gary Trent Jr. had 11 to help the Blue Devils (23-5, 11-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) win their fourth straight game. Ray Spalding scored 17 points for Louisville (18-10, 8-7), playing for the first time since an NCAA panel upheld sanctions against the program in the wake of its sex scandal – which cost the school about $600,000 in tournament revenue, 123 victories and its most recent national championship.

(At) Oklahoma State 79, No. 6 Texas Tech 71: Kendall Smith scored 21 to help Oklahoma State (16-12, 6-9 Big 12) stun Texas Tech (22-6, 10-5). The Cowboys now have five wins against teams ranked in the Top 20 at the time they played — including Florida State, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kansas. Oklahoma State shot 52.2 percent overall and 50 percent on 3s.

No. 10 North Carolina 78, (at) Syracuse 74: Theo Pinson scored a career-high 23 points, Joel Berry II added 18, including the tiebreaking layup with 1:36 left, as North Carolina (22-7, 11-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won six straight. Tyus Battle scored 26 points, and Frank Howard had 23 for Syracuse (18-10, 7-8).

(At) No. 12 Auburn 90, Alabama 71: Jared Harper scored 21 points, Chuma Okeke had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Auburn (24-4, 12-3 Southeastern Conference) beat rival Alabama even without ailing star Mustapha Heron. Collin Sexton scored 25 points for the Crimson Tide (17-11, 8-7).

(At) No. 13 Wichita State 93, Tulane 86: Shaquille Morris had 25 points to help No. 13 Wichita State (22-5, 12-3 American Athletic Conference) outlast Tulane. Melvin Frazier scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half for Tulane (13-14, 4-11). He also had 11 rebounds.

(At) Virginia Tech 65, No. 15 Clemson 58: Justin Robinson and Kerry Blackshear Jr. had 14 points each for Virginia Tech(20-8, 9-6 Atlantic Coast Conference), which has won six of its last eight games. Marcquise Reed led Clemson (20-7, 9-6) with 23 points.

(At) No. 19 Tennessee 62, Florida 57: Grant Williams bounced back from one of his worst performances of the season to score 23 points for Tennessee (20-7, 10-5 Southeastern Conference). Williams had a season-low five points Saturday in a 73-62 loss at Georgia. Jalen Hudson had 13 points for Florida (17-11, 8-7).

(At) No. 20 Nevada 80, San Jose State 67: Kendall Stephens scored a career-high 30 points and Nevada (24-5, 13-2 Mountain West) hit 14 3-pointers. Ryan Wellage had 22 points and nine rebounds for San Jose State (3-23, 0-15).

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