Five questions -- and answers -- as we transition from the 2013 college basketball season to 2014.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Five compelling questions and five equally stirring answers on Day One of college basketball withdrawal.
1. What's the early line for next April in Arlington, Texas, where the Final Four will be played in Cowboys' Stadium, the Dallas Cowboys' football fantasy park?
I'm working on my pre-season Top 25 for the weekend because it seems reasonable to wait until we get a more complete list of players who are off to the NBA and final recruiting news from prospects like Andrew Wiggins.
But I've found pre-season Top 25s from CBSSports.com, The Sporting News, USA Today and ESPN.com.
Here is the consensus Top 10: 1. Kentucky; 2. Michigan State; 3. Louisville; 4. Arizona; 5. Duke; 6. North Carolina; 7. Florida; 8. Syracuse; 9. Ohio State; 10, Marquette.
2. It's easy to look ahead. But shouldn't we practice accountability and look back to determine who did the best job of picking the most successful teams this season?
You bet? And I give credit to Lindy's College Basketball Magazine. Not only did they rank Louisville first, they also had Michigan third. Not bad. Not bad at all.
3. Russ Smith gone. Victor Oladipo gone. Cody Zeller gone. Ben McLemore gone.
Are all of these guys making the right call?
As basketball players, no. They've all got things to work on, ways to improve. For Smith, decision making. For Oladipo, ball-handling. For Zeller, strength to finish in traffic.
But as career decisions, yes. There's not much incentive to stay another year if you're projected to be a first-round pick. You lose a year of earnings, you risk having your game picked apart by NBA scouts and the 2014 NBA Draft will be tougher to crack than the draft scheduled for this June.
4. Looking ahead to 2014, where are the desired regional spots for the first two weekends of the tournament?
Excellent question. There is nothing as close as Louisville, Lexington or even Dayton for next March. The closest second- and third-round sites are Milwaukee, Wis., St. Louis and Raleigh, N.C.
It gets better on regional weekend because there is another regional booked for Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The other three regionals are scheduled for Memphis, New York City and Anaheim, Calif.
5. Any final hat tips that need to be delivered for the 2013 Final Four?
Absolutely. A major salute to my sidekicks Eric Crawford and Steve Andress at WDRB. They stand as the ultimate road warriors.
In case you haven't been tracking their travels, consider this. Last Wednesday, April 3, they drove (separately) from Louisville to Atlanta, where they were parked until Sunday morning to cover the men's Final Four at the Georgia Dome.
On Sunday, they drove to New Orleans to cover Jeff Walz, Shoni Schimmel and the U of L women in their Final Four. On Monday, it was back to Atlanta. Tuesday, over to New Orleans. Wednesday, back home (I hope).
According to my odometer, that's 2,536 miles, several sacks of fast-food burgers and an energy drink or two.
They're first-team All Stamina. Nice work, fellas.