Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2014

Will Reid and McConnell Road-Trip To Springfield?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants a piece of his Republican counterpart’s basketball action.

HOH already reported that Kentuckian Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader and the Senate’s No. 1 Louisville Cardinals fan, will be in Atlanta for tonight’s national championship game against the University of Michigan. But Reid had his own cause for basketball celebration with Monday’s confirmation that Jerry Tarkanian, the former coach of the University of Nevada Las Vegas Runnin’ Rebels, would be inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

“Nobody has brought more recognition to Nevada athletics and UNLV than Coach Tarkanian. Jerry is a legendary coach and he was a mentor to so many individuals over the years,” Reid said in a statement. “By bringing the best out of his players on and off the court, Jerry built a first-rate basketball program that Nevadans are fiercely proud of.”

When the coach’s son Danny Tarkanian ran for the House last year as a Republican, Reid took a swing at the younger Tarkanian’s financial woes but also highlighted his own role in helping the elder Tarkanian deal with repeated NCAA inquiries.

“You have to all understand, I’ve had a long-standing relationship with the Tarkanians. I’ve helped Jerry when he was having his troubles with the NCAA because he was treated so unfairly,” Reid told reporters at the time.

Oddly enough, current Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino will be in the same Hall of Fame class, which McConnell referenced in an interview on CBS Sports announcer Tim Brando’s SiriusXM radio show.

“It’s kind of an improbable story, isn’t it?” McConnell said of the possibility Pitino could win national titles at both the University of Kentucky and Louisville. “You know, Rick, if he pulls this off, will not only be the only coach to win championships at two different schools — two different schools in one state. Proving once again Kentucky is indeed the basketball capital of the nation.”

Could a Reid-McConnell road trip to Springfield, Mass., be in the making?

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