BOZICH | Monday Muse: The broken system; What's wrong with Duke?
Is the NCAA system broken? What's wrong with Duke? Is Roger Goodell serious? More NBA Draft talk. Time for the Monday Muse.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The confetti was still flying over the Super Bowl celebration when somebody at NCAA Headquarters typed out this Tweet:
We. Got. Next.
Only five weeks until NCAA Tournament brackets will be flying like confetti. It will remain a sensitive and debatable topic in the aftermath of Friday’s announcement that the University of Louisville has imposed a post-season ban on its men’s basketball team.
I’ve heard from both sides – fans who are outraged that the school isn’t fighting harder, fans who are convinced the right thing to do was take any post-season punishment next season and fans (and former U of L players) who are clearly perturbed the program is in a situation where any punishment is necessary.
For at least another week, there’s no other way to tip off the Monday Muse.
1. The Broken NCAA System
Rick Pitino asked University of Louisville fans not to direct their anger toward U of L President Dr. James Ramsey for the school’s decision to self-impose a ban from the ACC and NCAA Tournaments.
Blame the NCAA.
“The system is broken,” Pitino said.
I can’t disagree. That’s what everybody keeps saying.
About post-season bans. About NCAA investigations. About recruiting hijinks. About shoe companies. About AAU basketball. About agents. About one-and-dones. About 9 p.m. mid-week tip times.
About coaches changing jobs and leaving players behind. About graduate transfers changing schools and leaving programs and teammates behind. About players being run off to other programs.
About non-conference soft-serve scheduling. About coaches’ salaries in relation to other university personnel. About travel budgets. About the facilities' arms race. About officiating. About (your favorite complaint).
College basketball is a remarkable game to survive all this noise.
2. What’s Wrong With … Duke?
This Duke team that Louisville plays tonight at 7 at Cameron Indoor Stadium is sitting in seventh place in the ACC, behind Clemson. Ken Pomeroy projects that the Blue Devils will finish 10-8 in league play. They face trips to North Carolina, Louisville and Pittsburgh – along with home games against the Cards, Virginia and Tar Heels.
What’s wrong with Duke?
No Amile Jefferson. No bench. No defense.
That’s the list. The Blue Devils are 8-1 with Jefferson and 9-5 without him.
But we’re talking about Amile Jefferson, not Jahlil Okafor or Grant Hill. The reason the loss of Jefferson (who averages 10.3 points and 9.3 rebounds) is such a big deal is that Mike Krzyzewski does not trust his bench.
Duke has six guys averaging at least 25 minutes per game. Nobody else, not even McDonald’s all-American Chase Jeter, averages 8.
You can score on the Blue Devils. They rank 136th in the nation in defensive efficiency in Pomeroy’s numbers, 12th in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
3. One More Word From My NBA Guy
I wrote a column last week with some of my friends who scout for NBA teams. They shared their thoughts on Louisville’s victory over North Carolina, including considerable praise for Damion Lee.
We talked again over the last week. I asked one scout how many Kentucky players he expected to be taken in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft.
“Maybe two,” he said.
Jamal Murray and …
“Maybe Tyler Ulis,” he said. “Some teams really like him because he’s so smart and tough. Some teams can’t get past his size.”
Not Skal Labissiere, who somehow continues to be ranked 10th overall at DraftExpress.com, normally my Go-To site for draft projections?
“No,” the scout said. “No way I’d take him in the first round.”
4. Roger Goodell is Silly
Usually the stupidest thing that happens at the Super Bowl occurs on Media Day or during the halftime show.
Not this year. This year NFL commissioner Roger Goodell claimed the prize during his annual state of the league press conference.
The NFL has a concussion problem. Two guys left the Super Bowl to be examined for head injuries. The late Ken Stabler was added to the list of notable players found to have CTE.
But Goodell is not concerned. During his press conference he somehow compared the risks of playing football to the risks of sitting on a couch,
That was not well received by the family of former Bears’ defensive back Dave Duerson, who committed suicide and was determined to be suffering from CTE.
And if Goodell has any spare time for reading now that the big game is over, I recommend this piece on former Packers defensive back Willie Wood, who does not remember playing in Super Bowl I, or quarterback Joe Montana, who outlines all the ways pro football has broken down his body.
I recommend both stories.
5. Cam Chronicles
I don’t have a comment on Cam Newton’s eloquent post-game press conference behavior after the Super Bowl.
But Deion Sanders did.
It’s worth a click – and a listen.
6. NFL Firing Line
Here are the names of the last three coaches to win the Super Bowl:
Gary Kubiak, Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll.
There are likely several qualities that tie them together, but this is one that I consider interesting: All three have been fired in the NFL before winning their rings.
Kubiak had an overall losing record over eight seasons in Houston. Belichick famously bombed in Cleveland. Carroll whiffed with the Jets and Patriots.
So cheer up Chip Kelly, Lovie Smith and Jim Tomsula.
7. This List Makes No Sense
They say that football is the only thing that matters with the millennials. They play fantasy football, subscribe to the Red Zone and can’t get enough of NFL Draft talk.
Then somebody help me understand this poll from 120 Sports and Ranker about the athletes that matter most to fans from the ages to 18 to 34.
I’ll let them explain how they the came up with their list of athletes that matter most to millennials:
“120 Sports uses up-to-the-moment insight from consumer trends to shape the way it produces its daily live and on-demand programming, providing real-time data on what is resonating most with the Millennial audience on a daily basis. Leveraging this information along with social analytics, 120 Sports and Ranker surveyed over 1,400 Millennials (defined as 18 to 34-year-olds) to determine the list of athletes most relevant to them.”
The winner was Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors.
Second was J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans. A bit surprising
Third is Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout. Here is what is surprising: Trout was joined in the top 10 by Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, Kris Bryant of the Cubs and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers.
Four baseball players, three NFL players, two soccer players and one NBA player in the Top 10.
I thought baseball was dead?
8. Hey, Pete, Who Do You Like Tonight?
Pete Rose is no dummy. He has a fixation on gambling, but he’s no dummy.
Rose certainly realizes that he’s never going to make the Baseball Hall of Fame. So why not capitalize on his love of action, action, action? So Pete is now appearing in an advertisement for a sports betting app.
He’s a good actor. Think back at all those days he said he didn’t bet on the games.
9. Fixing Your Favorite Baseball Team
Ten days until pitchers and catchers report for the Cincinnati Reds (Arizona) and St. Louis Cardinals (Florida).
What do those two NL Central division rivals need to contend? The Cardinals could use health (from Yadier Molina and the pitching staff) as well as one more outfield bat.
The Reds could use Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Johnny Bench and Dave Concepcion. Fourth place is the ceiling.
But if you’re ready to get ready for baseball, few can discuss every team in both leagues better than Richard Justice. Here is his take on what every general manager has on a Wish List.
10. Poll Results
Who is the Player of the Year in college basketball?
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma 81.7 percent
Ben Simmons, LSU, 12 percent
Kris Dunn, Providence, 3.9 percent
Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa, 2.3 percent.
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