Today, ESPN announced that Rick Pitino will be working as an in-studio analyst for its coverage of the NCAA Tournament games on Thursday and Friday. Following U of L's first round loss to Morehead State last Thursday, Pitino joined CBS as a guest analyst for its coverage for the rest of the tournament's opening weekend.
The topic of Pitino's TV presence was discussed on today's episode of Around the Horn (it's like the pre-movie Warner Bros. cartoon for Pardon the Interruption), and the four panelists were universal in their disapproval.
Woody Paige said Pitino should have been consoling his team on the day after his loss, not appearing on television. Kevin Blackistone questioned the network's decision to put Pitino on air given his controversial offseason. JA Adande claimed Pitino threw his team under the bus when he said they should have guarded the three-point shot at the the end of the Morehead game. And then Bill Plaschke (PLASCHKE) criticized Pitino for going on television right after the loss and making light of it.
Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I didn't think twice about Pitino's decision when I first heard about it. I'm pretty sure CBS has used coaches whose seasons have ended as analysts in each of the past few seasons and there hasn't been an issue. Also, the consolation duties of a head coach generally end the day the season ends; there's only so much they can do. And if we're talking about off-the-court issues, Charles Barkley would seem to be a more controversial choice than Pitino.
Anyway, I'll pose the question to you without giving any more of my stance away.