BOZICH | Monday Muse: Your Final Four locks; UNLV job update; Mo - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Monday Muse: Your Final Four locks; UNLV job update; More heat for Charlie

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Final Four picks, the UNLV job, Charlie Strong chatter and other items top the Monday Muse. Final Four picks, the UNLV job, Charlie Strong chatter and other items top the Monday Muse.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – If I asked you for the name of one team you’re convinced will win the four games necessary to make the trip to Houston for the 2016 NCAA Final Four, which team would it be?

You’re a more confident forecaster than me because I don’t have a team.

There’s got to be somebody?

Nobody. I don’t like anybody.

I went to the computer rankings for the start of the Monday Muse. Maybe they can help. Or maybe you can help. If you’ve got one team that you’re convinced will make the Final Four, send me the name at rbozich@wdrb.com.

I’ll save the answers and publicly applaud the winners in this column when we get to the final weekend of the season.

Until then, on to The Muse.

1. The Numbers Favor These Five Teams

I’m going to help you get this right.

Everybody has a different Go-To Formula in college basketball. The NCAA likes the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), which gives heavy credit to your opponents’ winning percentage, but ignores margin of victory.

The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee has looked at Jeff Sagarin’s numbers for decades. Ken Pomeroy has solid numbers as well as a spectacular website that makes it easy to check every team’s game-by-game performance. Kevin Pauga of Michigan State has been an excellent recent addition to the analytics world.

This is what I did: I looked at the numbers from those sites for an answer to this question:

How many teams are considered Top 10 teams by all four formulas:

The answer? Five.

Here they are, with their highest and lowest rankings

Villanova – first in Pomeroy and Pauga, third in Sagarin Predictor and RPI.

Kansas – first in RPI, fifth in Pomeroy and Sagarin.

Virginia – second in Pomeroy, eighth in Sagarin.

Oklahoma – second in RPI, sixth in Pomeroy and Sagarin.

Iowa – third in Pomeroy, ninth in Pauga.

North Carolina was the only other team to make three Top 10 rankings. The Tar Heels are seventh in Pomeroy and Sagarin, eighth in RPI and 16th in Pauga. Michigan State made two Top 10s, earning the top spot in Sagarin Predictor.

If you pick a team outside those seven, you’re on your own.

2. The Latest From UNLV

Add another name to the UNLV coaching search, the one that allegedly started with Rick Pitino at the top of the list to replace the fired Dave Rice a month ago.

This one makes sense – former Rebel Stacey Augmon says he’d like the job.

Augmon was the second-best player on the Rebels’ last powerful team, the one that delivered the 1990 NCAA title and was later upset in the Final Four by Duke the following season.

Augmon knows the program as well as anybody. He’s currently an assistant coach. After several weeks of saying little, Augmon made his pitch for the position to Las Vegas columnist Ed Graney in this story.

UNLV will not make the NCAA Tournament this season, unless the Rebels win the Mountain West Tournament. They’re 15-11 overall and parked in seventh place in the league.

3. How You Can Help Trey Schwab?   

I met Trey Schwab when he was a member of Tom Crean’s coaching staff at Marquette. He was part of the team that helped develop Dwayne Wade, Steve Novak, and Travis Diener on that 2003 Final Four squad.

But life has thrown Schwab its share of curveballs. He had to step away from basketball more than a decade ago and undergo a double lung transplant. Schwab recovered strongly and later worked for the Minnesota Timberwolves before accepting a job working with organ transplant patients at the University of Wisconsin.

Now Schwab is back on the transplant list, but as usual he’s more concerned with others than himself. Schwab’s body started to reject his lungs last fall because of complications created by an abdominal infection. He’s on oxygen and has difficulty walking more than a dozen steps.

Many programs will not consider patients seeking a second transplant, but the University of Maryland has told Schwab it will consider his case.

“But this isn’t about me,” Schwab said. “It’s about creating awareness for people to donate their organs. We have a supply problem. There are 122,000 people on the transplant lists across the country. We need more people to donate. Any opportunity to spread the word is great.”

Schwab asked that everybody visit donatelifeky.org or donatelifeindiana.org and sign up.

Consider it done.

4. Charlie Strong’s Seat Is Always Hot

Some people will tell you that former University of Louisville football coach Charlie Strong had the best closing national signing day of any coach in the game, pushing Texas from a class ranked in the 40s into the Top 10 in several rankings.

The Longhorns want more. They want what any fan base wants. They want victories. They want bowl games. They want to be relevant in the national playoffs. They want to be relevant in the Big 12.

Heck, they’d like to beat Iowa State again.

Kirk Bohls, veteran columnist at the American-Statesman in Austin, outlined the challenges that Strong faces in a column he wrote last week after Strong experienced more uncertainty in his coaching staff.

Bohls described the string of changes to Strong’s coaching staff as “very unsettling,” and wrote that Strong is a good guy, good coach and great recruiter, but not a “very good CEO.”

5. Butch Beard’s All-Star & NBA Title Experience

Former Louisville start Butch Beard lives in Harlem these days within a five-block radius of two of his former teammates with the New York Knicks – Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe

But Beard has been in Louisville this winter, working with his friend Jerry Eaves, to establish basketball programs at Simmons College.

Beard also played for the Golden State Warriors. He started at guard for the Golden State team that won the 1975 NBA title. In 1972, Beard played in the NBA all-star game, representing the Cleveland Cavaliers.

I asked him how much he earned for those two achievements -- $1,500 for the all-star game and $17,500 for the NBA title. Locker room attendants made more than that in tips over all-star weekend in Toronto.

Beard said that he used the bulk of the money from the Golden State victory to help buy a home in Louisville.

6. Life With Kobe No Picnic For Russell

Former Louisville Central star D’Angelo Russell has the best view in America of Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour with the Los Angeles Lakers.

It’s been interesting. But it’s also been difficult, especially for a 19-year-old rookie placed in the same backcourt with one of the NBA’s leading alpha dogs.

Russell discussed the challenges in this story with Mark Media of the L.A. Daily News – and this is the takeaway quote:

“Honestly, it’s hard. It’s not easy. “He’s a guy that’s earned every shot he’s taken and earned every minute he’s given. So you feel like being a rookie, but you feel like you’ve worked to be in his position so early. But you’ve just got to be patient.”

Russell is averaging 12.2 points and 3.3 assists for the Lakers, who have the worst record (11-44) in the Western Conference as well as the second-worst record in the NBA.

7. Welcome Home Todd Howard

How much does Louisville native Todd Howard love coaching basketball?

Enough that after he was replaced as the head coach at IUPUI in downtown Indianapolis after the 2014 season, Howard decided he wanted to remain in the game even if he had to move to the high school level.

That’s what he has done. Howard is in his second season at Brebeuf Jesuit Prep on the North side of Indianapolis. He’s scheduled to bring his team home to his alma mater – Ballard High School – Saturday night. Howard played on the Bruins’ 1988 state championship team with Allan Houston and Mark Bell.

Brebeuf has won 11 of 18 games and is ranked the seventh best 3A team Indiana in the Sagarin Ratings.

8. The Long Run of Bobby Curtis

Bobby Curtis dominated the high school distance running scene in Kentucky 15 years ago, collecting medals in cross country and track for St. Xavier High School. He later starred at Villanova in the middle distances before turning professional.

After attempting to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team in the 10,000 meters in 2012, Curtis, 31, stretched himself to the marathon and trained to earn one of the three spots on the U.S. team that will compete in Brazil this year. He was considered one of the top 10 contenders.

It didn’t happen for Curtis.

Saturday in Los Angles at the U.S. Olympic Trials, Curtis finished 64th, running the 26.2 miles in 2:29.04. That was considerably slower than his personal best of 2:11.20, the time Curtis ran when he finished as the top American in the 2014 Chicago Marathon.

9. More Love For Cards

Add Athlon Sports to the lengthy list of publications that believe the University of Louisville has the second-best college baseball team in the nation, trailing only Florida.

Athlon ranks the Cards second, just ahead of Miami, Oregon State and Virginia.

Four Cardinals were also named first-team all-Americans – outfielder Corey Ray; starter Kyle Funkhouser; first baseman/pitcher Brendan McKay and relief pitcher Zach Burdi.

10. Poll Results

Do you agree with the University of Louisville’s decision to self-impose a post-season tournament ban for this season?

Yes – 27 percent.

No – 73 percent.

Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

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