Is the college basketball season too long? Some argue the game needs to become a one-semester sport?
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- These are serious questions for Monday Rewind regulars. I believe I know how the local readership will respond. But I need reassurance.
So remember these are legitimate questions that have been asked nationally by several media members, including a writer from the Wall Street Journal last week:
1. Is the college basketball season too long?
2. Should the beginning of the season be bumped back to mid-December or even January to make the game a one-semester sport?
Let me think about that. I can remember when no games were played until Dec. 1. OK. My answers:
No and no.
This sounds like another plot by the Southeastern Conference and NFL. If those two groups called all the shots, this is the way the sports calendar would look:
The baseball season would start after the NFL Draft and end before Labor Day. (Tune in to Colin Cowherd on ESPN radio for details.)
The NHL season would start after Groundhog's Day and end by March 1 – and all teams would relocate to Canada.
The NBA season would tip off on April 1 and end Memorial Day – and games would last two minutes because that's the only time guys play hard.
College basketball season would start after the Super Bowl and vacate the calendar April 1.
The latest writer to pop this question is Ben Cohen of the Wall Street Journal in this story.He gathered some data about television ratings, quotes from former Kentucky athletic director C.M. Newton and others, shook up the information and shared the argument for shortening the season.
Here is the argument: Football is more popular than basketball. Basketball needs to stay out of football's way for as long as possible.
The argument is to make college basketball a one-semester sport and push the NCAA Tournament into April.
Here is my response: If football people had their way, basketball would disappear from the calendar. So would baseball. Every day would be a day to buckle up your chinstrap.
Delaying the start of the college basketball season won't do much, if anything, to increase interest in college basketball in some parts of the country, especially the SEC.
Attend the SEC Tournament some time. If Kentucky's not playing, you could call off the party and nobody outside Big Blue Nation would squeal. I went to the 2012 SEC Tournament in New Orleans and UK fans outnumbered LSU fans at least 75-to-1 on their turf. At most schools, interest in SEC basketball isn't much greater in February than it is in December. Frankly, they don't give a damn.
That's not a college basketball problem. That's an SEC problem.
There's plenty of interest in college basketball at Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina, Duke, Syracuse, Kansas, Arizona, Connecticut and many other spots. Everybody doesn't have to bend to King Football.
REPLACEMENT PARTS AT U OF L AND BEYOND
Here's another topic sure to stir conversation:
Who's the favorite to become the next basketball coach at Louisville? Rick Pitino celebrated his 61st birthday in September. He's not going to go and go and go forever. Pitino told Eric Crawford and me that his closest friends encouraged him to exit on top after the Cardinals won the NCAA title last April in Atlanta.
But let's not stop here. Christopher Kehoe from the website RushTheCourt.com raised the question about the line of succession for Pitino and three other titans – Jim Boeheim (69) of Syracuse, Roy Williams (63) of North Carolina and Mike Krzyzewski (66) of Duke.
The usual suspects lead the story – Brad Stevens, formerly of Butler, now with the Boston Celtics, and Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart.
This is what Kehoe says about the Louisville situation:
"At Louisville under Rick Pitino, the replacement candidates somewhat overlap with Duke's whispered choices, with Stevens and Smart the ‘hot' candidates in the college basketball landscape. However, the possible favorite to replace the man with the Louisville tattoo starts and ends within the family. Rick Pitino's son, Richard Pitino, is the new head coach at Minnesota and is believed to be the odds-on favorite to replace his father when he retires ..."
Seems like strong language to me. Richard is only 1 1/3 seasons into his head-coaching career. He did well at Florida International last season and his first Minnesota team is 10-2 with wins on the road against Richmond and at home against Florida State. He appears to be on the right path.
But it's premature to call Richard Pitino the odds-on favorite. He's never coached an NCAA Tournament game. In fact, I don't believe there is a favorite.
Mike Hopkins is the head-coach in waiting at Syracuse. I can envision Stevens or Smart taking over at Duke, although replacing Coach K will be as daunting as replacing John Wooden was at UCLA. North Carolina will not stray from the Dean Smith family tree.
But the U of L job?
What say you?
THE PRICIEST TICKETS IN COLLEGE HOOPS
Forbes magazine strays from employment trends and ranking the most productive U.S. corporations to have fun with sports topics sometimes. Forbes.com is always an interesting read because you will often find stories like this one, that rank the schools with the most expensive tickets in college basketball, as determined by Jesse Lawrence, who writes about the emotion and business of the ticket market in this piece.
Louisville did not make the Top 10. The Cards ranked 13th at $82 per game.
Here is your top 10
1. Duke, $460
2. Kansas, $340.
3. Kentucky, $274.
4. UCLA, $117.
5. Indiana, $112.
6. North Carolina, $101.
7. Minnesota, $97.
8. Maryland, $96.
9. Wake Forest, $91.
10. Villanova, $88.
For the record, Kentucky was the only SEC program to crack the Top 25.
Which team is most likely to be favored when Louisville plays Kentucky at Rupp Arena Dec. 28?
1. Louisville by 3 or more, 32 percent.
2. Kentucky by less than 3, 28 percent.
3. Louisville by less than 3, 22 percent.
4. Kentucky by 3 or more, 18 percent.
Which team is most likely to win its bowl matchup?