Few are the hoopaholics who were sad to see the demise of the NCAA tournament selection benchmark known as the RPI.
It was flawed. To say the least.
It has been replaced by a super secret formula -- locked in the same safe with Colonel Sanders’ fried chicken recipe I am told -- known as the NET.
I’d explain it, if I could. But, I dunno. So I shan’t.
What’s observable is the high regard the algorithm holds for such outliers as #7 Houston or #8 North Carolina State. As well as the disregard for such “better” teams like #24 Auburn.
Or, #28 Kentucky.
Among the surprisingly regarded are the University of Louisville Cardinals, sitting at #17, eleven spots ahead of arch rival. That is also a loftier ranking than #19 Marquette or #20 Indiana, both of whom defeated the Cards, and a lower spot than #10 Michigan State, which fell to the Cardinals.
Mine’s not to reason why, etc, etc. It’s a good thing for Louisville and its legion of fans, many of whom are scurrying to jump back on board.
It probably has to do with strength of schedule, I suppose, that W over Sparty and close encounters with other Top 20 squads.
The Cards have vaulted to #37 in Ken Pomeroy’s highly respected computer rankings.
All of which is to say that, if U of L holds serve -- far from a given with the Cats and ACC grind coming up -- the Cards should be dancin’ come March.
Who was it that said it would never happen?
Oh yeah, me.
* * * * *
The following vent is about Rick Pitino. If you’re tired of hearing me carry on about the former U of L coach, or upset that I didn’t keep my vow never to broach the subject here again, save yourself the heartache, don’t read this.
So there I was, grabbing a quick bite to eat while holiday grocery shopping at the Whole Foods.
Frankly though, I didn’t have much of an appetite, so worried have I been about the long term unemployment of U of L’s most recent non-interim basketball coach.
Then, as I shall make clear in a bit, Rick Pitino’s best scenario came clear.
Perspective: I mean the guy’s totally, absolutely, 100% innocent of any of the series of wrongdoings that happened on his watch at the Belknap Campus. Yet, he’s a coaching pariah in his own land. Neither of two hot shot agents could land him a job in college, in the NBA, in the G League or the Tuesday Night Over 35 League at the JCC.
So it’s been reported that Rick Pitino is headed to Greece to coach Panathinaikos -- yes, I had to look it up -- in whatever league or European competition they play in.
Well, actually, there’s conflicting reports about The Rick’s status.
One of his agents, Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN that Pitino had agreed to take the job.
But, Pitino, who long ago mastered the ability to talk from both sides of his mouth, said only that he’s considering the job and will make a final decision after a family conference on this Friday.
Ahh, Ricky, you love to keep us danglin’ danglin’ slowly slowly in the wind.
By the by, didn’t you say you were through with coaching?
All of which conjecture and pub I cherish. For it provides me a legit opportunity to share something I learned recently about the Grande Prevaricator, whom I obviously hold in not very high personal regard. (As if he could care.)
Remember back when Pitino was coronated as the coach to replace Denny Crum? During his acceptance soliloquy, he mentioned how he’d awakened that morning thinking he’d take the job at Michigan, which he’d been offered, which was filled later by John Beilein.
Which was a nice story, a cute anecdote. But for one thing.
According to Bill Martin, the Wolverine AD at the time, quoted in theathletic.com, Pitino was never offered the position at Michigan.
Imagine our surprise that Rick might have made something up.
Anyway, I realize that this little diatribe of mine is pretty pissy. Not a nice look, especially this time of year, but I own it. I can’t help myself. I’m not proud of it, but, hey, we all got bones to pick.
That Pitino is obsessed with getting back in the gym surprises nobody. He’s a junkie. I know it’s been driving him crazy that he’s not on a bench, yanking some guy somewhere who just double dribbled.
As much as I dislike Pitino, I’ll give him this: He works his butt off during the season. Which is why his withdrawal symptoms don’t surprise.
So, as I was munching on my salad bar medley, I saw my pal Bim, the biggest UCLA fan I know of in this burg.
At which moment, Pitino’s future became obvious. My pal agreed.
Steve Alford’s woefully underachieving Bruins get battered again tomorrow against Ohio State just days after the beatdown by Cincy’s Bearcats. The former Hoosier is fired.
And, saving himself from having to rifle through his desk drawer for his passport, Rick Pitino is tabbed as the next guy to fill John Wooden’s seat in Westwood.
-- Seedy K