—Spread check: Virginia by 7.5.
—Wednesday bubble results pertinent to our interests:
OKLAHOMA STATE beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 tournament first round
NOTRE DAME beat Virginia Tech in the ACC tournament second round
ARIZONA STATE lost to Colorado in the Pac-12 tournament first round
WASHINGTON lost to Oregon State in the Pac-12 tournament first round
MARQUETTE beat DePaul in the Big East tournament first round
SYRACUSE lost to North Carolina in the ACC tournament second round
TEXAS beat Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament first round
—Tomahawk Nation recaps FSU’s loss to Louisville.
—After five years as head coach, former Louisville assistant Reggie Theus was fired by Cal State Northridge on Tuesday.
—A Harvard study says Kentucky has one of the most corrupt state governments in the country. I’m stunned.
—Bill Raftery is an American treasure.
I asked the legendary Bill Raftery today if he's ever thought about joining Twitter. His outstanding response: “No, and I’ll tell you why -- because at 11:30 at night when I’ve had my 10th drink, I’m liable to say something that will cost me my job.”— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) March 6, 2018
—Former U of L commit Anfernee Simons is writing an ongoing series for Rivals. His latest entry is interesting.
These past few weeks in college basketball have been wild! With the whole FBI investigation, it is just a crazy situation, but I am not really too focused on all of that.
It was sad to see someone like Shareef O’Neal, who was in a similar situation as me, have to decommit from Arizona following some of the news that came down last week. It is a really sad and depressing decision that you have to make because you had everything planned to go to that school and having to decommit makes you have to basically start all over again. There is a blessing behind everything like that with where you just have to trust in God that He will find you a new school and opportunity.
There has been a lot of talk about the recent reform issues surrounding the college game. Do I think we, as college athletes, should be paid? I do. The schools and NCAA are making a lot of money off of the student-athletes. Some of them will not get the opportunity to leave college and then play professionally but they have contributed to the success of their team and college, so they should profit, as well. How much, I am not sure, but the NCAA should be able to see how college basketball has changed lately and from it, come up with something to benefit the student-athlete.
I also think the rule needs to be fixed that if you are good enough to go from high school to the NBA, you should be able to. We should have the freedom to choose our own destiny and go that route, if we feel it is best for us.
—The latest mock NFL Draft from Pro Football Focus has Lamar Jackson going to the Jets with the 6th overall pick.
—Becky Hammon is reportedly a top candidate to become the next men’s basketball coach at Colorado State.
—Very excited about TuTu, guys.
—Wallet Hub says Louisville is only the seventh-best big city in America for March Madness. I disagree.
—I already miss DePaul basketball season.
That doesn't even make sense, DePaul. pic.twitter.com/OcFZeoili4— Sean Keeley (@SeanKeeleyIsMe) March 7, 2018
It always goes too fast.
—Congrats to Doss High School product Jaylon Hall on punching an NCAA tournament ticket with Wright State on Tuesday.
—I’ve got some issues with these best basketball movie survey results from Rotten Tomatoes.
Favorite Basketball Movie: Hoosiers and Space Jam tied for the top spot, with 23% of respondents voting for each. The third most popular film was White Men Can’t Jump, with 19% of the vote. On average, movie fans have watched their favorite basketball movie 5 times.
Most Inspiring Movie: Hoosiers once again took the top spot with a whopping 31% of the vote—Coach Carter came in second with 14% of the vote.
Favorite Basketball Player: The most favorite player, with 29% of the vote, is Michael Jordan in Space Jam. And 53% of survey participants would want him on their own team.
Favorite Basketball Coach: Michael Jordan in Space Jam, and Coach Norman Dale in Hoosiers took the top two spots, with 28% and 27% of the vote, respectively. However, folks in the Midwest leaned towards Coach Dale in Hoosiers, more so than Michael Jordan inSpace Jam, which was the top pick for all other regions.
Chance to Play For: 40% of all respondents would love the opportunity to play for and be coached by Michael Jordan in Space Jam.
Remakes: 24% of those surveyed would most like to see a remake of Space Jam, while 17% said they’d like to see a remake of White Men Can’t Jump.
March Madness Tournament Debut: Movie fans said the ideal Final Four bracket would be comprised of:
Tune Squad from Space Jam
Huskers from Hoosiers
Oilers from Coach Carter
Billy and Sidney from White Men Can’t Jump
Hoop Dreams is the best basketball movie.
—Pat Forde lays out five pressing questions before the NCAA tournament and also breaks down the biggest conference tournaments.
—I enjoyed this tweet because of the fan base it upset the most.
There are eight programs which have been ranked in the KenPom Top 10 at least four different times since 2013. Those are your blue chip programs right now. They are:— Jeff (BPredict) (@BPredict) March 7, 2018
—Maybe Adam Silver can save college basketball from the one-and-done, after all.
—The Selection Show should be the easiest win in the world for CBS/Turner, but they seem hellbent on screwing it up.
—Coach crush on John Beilein remains as strong as ever.
“They might be trying to get me. I’m going to act first. I’m an actor not a reactor.”— Simon Kaufman (@sjkauf) March 5, 2018
John Beilein plotting a detailed surprise water fight ambush on his team is the most Beilein thing ever. pic.twitter.com/fTYRVRmjoQ
—RIP to legendary North Carolina play by play man Woody Durham.
—Paul Myerberg of USA Today says Louisville’s no great wins/no terrible losses resume should be enough for an NCAA bid.
But there’s a difference between competing and winning: Louisville might have shown an ability to hang with elite teams — Virginia, most notably — but the Cardinals own just four wins against opponents clearly destined for the tournament. Two have come against the Seminoles; the third and fourth were against Virginia Tech.
The Cardinals own just one non-conference win, over Indiana, against a power-conference opponent with a winning record. Their best win out of ACC play is against Southern Illinois, which finished four games out of first in the Missouri Valley Conference. Louisville is winless in eight games against opponents currently ranked in the top 25 in the Ratings Performance Index, and hold just seven wins against teams in the top 100 in RPI.
On the other hand, Louisville touts just one loss to a team outside the top 50 in RPI — that would be North Carolina State, 52nd in the metric entering its own second-round tournament matchup with Boston College. Each team to defeat the Cardinals during the regular season is destined for the tournament, from Virginia, Duke and North Carolina through Purdue, Kentucky, Seton Hall and Clemson.
“It’s not like we’ve had any quote-unquote bad losses this year,” Padgett said. “The only team, if you had to pick one, I guess, our worst loss was to Syracuse. They’re on the verge of making the tournament, too. You’ve got to give the other teams a lot of credit in situations like that.”
—Jeff Greer gives us three things to watch in Louisville vs. Virginia Part III.
Donovan Mitchell receives a nice ovation ahead of the Utah Jazz-Indiana Pacers game. Louisville is just 2 hours away from Indianapolis so he has a lot of support in the stands. pic.twitter.com/N5RRVXSPby— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) March 8, 2018
—Congrats to the AJC’s Jeff Schultz on the hottest take of the week in Brooklyn.
Then there’s Louisville, the most organized of crime.
Even before it was named in the federal investigation for reportedly offering $100,000 (via Adidas) to prospective recruit Brian Bowen, Louisville two weeks ago officially was stripped of 123 victories, two Final Four appearances and a national championship won at the Georgia Dome in 2013.
“Stripped” seemed like the appropriate verb. One of Pitino’s former assistants, Andre McGee, was found to have organized dancers to peel off their clothes and provide other benefits for 15 prospective recruits that extend well beyond a meal plan.
Welcome to March Mudness.
Here’s a question: Why is Louisville even here this week?
The Cardinals have trudged through this season. They entered the ACC tournament as a ninth seed with a 9-9 conference record. They remain on the NCAA tournament bubble after hanging on to defeat Florida State 82-74 at the Barclays Center.
But the mere sight of Louisville is a reminder of everything that is wrong with college athletics in general and basketball in particular.
So, yeah, we’re finding out that pretty much everyone in college basketball is dirty, but Louisville shouldn’t even be allowed to play while everyone else does because ... sex? I guess?
Never mind that U of L didn’t participate in the ACC or NCAA tournaments just two years ago with players who, like the current ones, weren’t involved in any of the wrongdoing that occurred. That doesn’t matter because, I don’t know, some sort of stink that apparently doesn’t stick to things like two decades of systematic academic fraud.
Also a big fan of using a Josh Pastner quote for moral juxtaposition. Pastner, of course, began the season by suspending his two best players for taking impermissible benefits from an estranged friend who he’s now involved in multiple lawsuits with.
“March Mudness” though. That’s a zinger. That’s one of those that’s going to have the awards wine flowing next January.
—The Daily Progress previews Louisville.
—Loving these videos from the new U of L basketball account.
—Here’s Eric Crawford’s recap of Wednesday’s win.
—The latest installment of Buckethatology over at The Crunch Zone is here.
—Pitt’s stay in the ACC tournament may have been short, but Kevin Stallings gave us a lifetime of memories.
Kevin Stallings tries to break his clipboard and when he's unsuccessful he realizes he actually needs to draw something up pic.twitter.com/syCxvDKCWK— Eric Fawcett (@Efawcett7) March 6, 2018
Kevin Stallings' face next to this graphic is perfect. pic.twitter.com/KGGKbqq9Kr— Eric Fawcett (@Efawcett7) March 6, 2018
He’s also probably going to get fired on Thursday and it’s going to be ugly.
—Vote here for Myisha Hines-Allen to win the 2018 Katrina McClain Award for being the nation’s best power forward.
—And finally, beat Virginia.