At 71 years old, Rick Pitino's college basketball coaching career may be winding down. But whenever the time comes the time comes that he finally retires, that will likely come after the St. John's basketball sideline boss coaches one more game against his former team, the Kentucky Wildcats.

On Monday morning, Pitino seemingly accepted new Kentucky basketball head coach Mark Pope's offer to play St. John's basketball in Lexington in the 2024-25 college hoops season and again in the 2025-26 campaign at Madison Square Garden.

“Wow, just saw clips from our Captain’s press conference. Not shocked, but pleasantly surprised,” Pitino said in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “Would expect nothing less from@CoachMarkPope. Also,@StJohnsBBall accepts, this year at UK, next year at the Mecca! Looking forward to saying goodbye to @KentuckyMBB,” Pitino added.

Here was what Pope said about St. John's basketball and Pitino during the former Kentucky basketball captain's introductory press conference on Sunday:

“Anybody here down with a game versus St. John's? You know, I neglected, I'm actually so embarrassed, somehow I missed my notes. I neglected to pay homage to Coach Rick Patino. Every coach that has coached here has done amazing things. Everybody's contributed to Big Blue Nation, but Coach Patino, he changed me. And I'm telling you, like he changed me to my soul. He changed my DNA as a human being. He allowed me now to be someone that feels like I can walk in any room and take on any, any, you know, impossible task. And I will love him forever. And so I say St. John's just because I have so much admiration for him. He's probably the best that ever did it. And I love him so much.”

Pope clearly holds Pitino in high esteem. After all, he played for Pitino for two seasons in Lexington after transferring from the Washington Huskies. After redshirting for Kentucky in the 1993-94 season, Pope appeared in 69 games for the Wildcats and averaged 7.9 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 49.7 percent from the field. Pope was also part of the 1996-5-96 Kentucky squad that Pitino steered to a title win in the 1996 NCAA Tournament.

Although nothing is officially set in stone concerning the potential home-and-home series between St. John's basketball and the Wildcats, it's hard to discount it from happening since the head coaches of both programs have already virtually shook hands.

The Red Storm finished the 2023-24 season with a 20-13 overall record and ranked No. 21 by KenPom but somehow failed to get an at-large berth for March Madness. Kentucky, on the other hand, was part of the field in the Big Dance as a No. 3 seed but got embarrassed in the first round by the No. 14 Oakland Golden Grizzlies.

Social media reacts to potential St. John's basketball vs. Kentucky matchups

St. John’s men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino looks on from the crowd in support of his son, New Mexico Lobos head coach Richard Pitino, during the first half against the Clemson Tigers in the NCAA Tournament First Round at FedExForum.
Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

“Greatest coach in history of this program Vs. Rick Pitino we need it,” said @KentuckyNet.

“Would love an old school mid January or mid February type game so both teams in mid season form, not a pre conference game. Home and home. Doesn’t matter where the first game would be, Rupp or MSG.” posted X user @rot11002.

“Rupp Arens is gonna explode…this is the finale we all needed Well done Rick,” commented @thebdub77.

From @brucesimpsonky: “Coach P, you can NEVER say “Good Bye” to UK BB. You may be coaching another team but you will always be a Kentucky Wildcat man. Your banner is hanging in the hallowed Rafters of Rupp. You rescued our program when it was teetering on the abyss. #BBN Will always be grateful.”