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Rick Pitino Should Have Been National Coach Of The Year

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At least according to ESPN.com college basketball writer Myron Medcalf.

I think we hand out awards too early.

By the time we reach the Final Four, the meaningful ones have already been distributed. Just doesn't make sense to me.

Wouldn't a player or coach sway voters if he led his team to the final stages of the NCAA tournament? What if a candidate for a major accolade goes clutch in March/April? Yes, the regular season matters, but maintaining that success when it matters -- in March and April -- is significant, too.

That said, I'd like to offer my thoughts on the national coach of the year race, post-Final Four.

National Coach of the Year (in order)

Rick Pitino, Louisville. Yes, that glorious run to the Big East tourney title and Final Four represented only a slice of the entire 2011-12 campaign for Pitino's squad. But when it counted, he led an undersized, oft-injured squad to New Orleans. Finally, the Cardinals showcased their potential. The program endured multiple injuries throughout the season and, based on Selection Sunday projections, weren't supposed to make it to the Superdome. But Pitino pulled off one of his greatest coaching performances in the final weeks of the season and deserved national coach of the year honors.

For what it's worth, Medcalf had John Calipari at No. 2, followed by Bill Self, Frank Haith and Tom Crean.

I don't know, man, I still think he needs to bench Siva.