3 years after career low point, Pitino back on top

NANCY ARMOUR AP National Writer Published:

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Rick Pitino will dance like a fool to get a smile out of his granddaughter. Freshmen who were scared to utter a word around him are practically his BFFs now.

A changed man? At this Final Four, no doubt.

But not for the reasons most people assume.

Almost three years after an extortion scandal exposed the messy details of his private life and left his buttoned-down reputation in tatters, Pitino is on top of the coaching world again. Fourth-seeded Louisville (30-9) is back in the Final Four for the first time since 2005, facing Kentucky on Saturday night, after what is undoubtedly one of the finest coaching jobs of Pitino's career.