Here’s why: Rick Pitino.
As a coach, he is in a class by himself.
No one else can get a team as prepared as Pitino does. Especially when his players zero in on an opponent as they did in winning last week’s final in the Big East Tournament.
And because of how close Pitino was to the late Dave Gavitt, the founder of the Big East, and because Pitino is a native New Yorker.
There may be a few other coaches who can come up with a strategy to completely outplay an opponent, but Pitino does it game after game.
Wouldn’t you have liked to have been in the locker room and heard his halftime speech in the Big East championship game? He admitted to a lot of bad words, but added (with tongue firmly in cheek) it was a good thing that he does not swear.
Veteran Cardinal fans thought that jumping jack Darrell Griffith had suited up once more when freshman Montrezl Harrell dazzled the crowd as he dunked over a trio of Syracuse players.
Peyton Siva was so good that you had to see him to believe him.
I got a chance to see how strong his hands are. That must be why he can fire those long passes and shoot so well.
Hoops Lead Football, But Just Wait!
College football always has been ahead of basketball. When Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp and three other college basketball coaches met in the late 1930s at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., they agreed to start what has become the NCAA college basketball tournament. They were far behind major football schools in raking in money from big bowls.
The Rose Bowl, especially, annually turned over big bucks to participating colleges. Soon the Orange, Cotton and Sugar bowls joined in counting their money from post-season play.
A short time later the giants of college football coaches, Alabama’s Bear Bryant, Georgia’s Wallace Butts and Oklahoma’s Bud Wilkinson, would get together via phone and decide which bowls would get their teams.
You can be sure that there were no Gonzagas, no New Mexicos, no St. Louises, no Memphises, no Georgetowns, no Creightons, no Marquettes, no Virginia Commonwealths, no Saint Marys and on and on.
For goodness sakes, some of those schools don’t even play football, but they get to keep some of the basketball-only schools from raking in a lot of money from the NCAA basketball tournament.
Much of college basketball and football money comes from television, especially from ESPN and CBS.
The stakes are about to become even higher next season because FOX will battle ESPN and CBS for the college football and basketball money tree.
Where will the bucks come from? One guess. Yes, it will be from you and other viewers.
TV money is what makes the sports world thrive.
Sagarin is hot
For the second week in a row, Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals head the Jeff Sagarin ratings in USA Today.
The Sagarin computer apparently works the same way as the Litkenhous Ratings I bought for The Courier-Journal when Frank Litkenhous retired.
Sagarin’s top 25
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- Miami, Fla.
- Saint Louis
- New Mexico
- Oklahoma State
- North Carolina
- Kansas State
- Notre Dame
- N.C. State