BOZICH | Monday Muse: Will Pitino, U of L fans watch? Missing Ho - WDRB 41 Louisville News

  • How will University of Louisville basketball fans follow the 2016 NCAA Tournament?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Ignore it
    19%
    177 votes
    Enjoy some stress-free basketball
    23%
    212 votes
    Root for Kentucky
    10%
    90 votes
    Root against Kentucky
    38%
    347 votes
    Root for Indiana
    10%
    92 votes
    Root against Indiana
    0%
    4 votes

BOZICH | Monday Muse: Will Pitino, U of L fans watch? Missing Horn; Saluting Kelan, Tubby

Posted: Updated:
Will Louisville fans follow Rick Pitino's lead and not watch the NCAA Tournament? Will Louisville fans follow Rick Pitino's lead and not watch the NCAA Tournament?

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – I’ve heard what Rick Pitino has said.

Not only about his future. Or the future of his team. Or other issues swirling around the University of Louisville basketball program.

But there is one thing that Pitino has said several times that screams for discussion as the leadoff item in the Monday Muse.

I’ll answer the scream. And ask you to scream along.

Let’s go.

1. HOW TO WATCH THE TOURNAMENT

If I have this correct, Pitino is going to pick his NCAA Tournament bracket on the Mike and Mike Show on ESPN Radio next Monday and then decline to watch another dribble of the final 67 games.

Even if, as ESPN’s Joe Lunardi projects, Seton Hall, coached by Kevin Willard, one of Pitino’s favorite former assistants, is playing a second-round game against Miami in Brooklyn.

Even if North Carolina-Wilmington, coached by Kevin Keatts, the guy who worked with the 2013 U of L NCAA champs and helped get Luke Hancock to town, plays his way into the field with a victory Monday night.

Even if Tubby Smith, his friend and the guy who succeeded him at Kentucky, ties a record by making Texas Tech the fifth program he has coached into the tournament.

I don’t believe him.

I don’t believe most Louisville fans who say they will not watch the tournaments (ACC or NCAA) because of U of L’s self-imposed post-season bans.

You’ll watch.

What I wonder is whether you’ll watch to cheer for somebody or against somebody (I’m not naming names)? Take the time to answer the poll at the top of the Muse.

Then we’ll know.

2. CONFERENCE RECOGNITION

As a voter in the AP college basketball poll, I have six days to file my picks for the top three all-American teams as well as the coach and player of the year. I’ll probably take every minute before settling on my answers.

I’d love to hear your picks. Send them to me at rbozich@wdrb.com.

Here my picks for player and coach of the year in the three local power conferences:

Atlantic Coast – Player of the Year: Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia; solid offensive player, superior defensive player; Coach of the Year: Jim Larranaga, Miami: Buzz Williams has done remarkable work at Virginia Tech, but Larranaga has made the Hurricanes a consistent force in the ACC.

SEC – Player of the Year: Tyler Ulis, Kentucky; don’t even think about bringing that Ben Simmons junk in here; Coach of the Year: Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M: Frank Martin of South Carolina led until the final lap.

Big Ten – Player of the Year: Denzel Valentine, Michigan State: By a whisker over Yogi Ferrell of Indiana, but Ferrell gets a nice consolation prize, a ring; Coach of the Year: Tom Crean, IU: Don’t even think about bringing that Greg Gard junk in here.

3. WHAT’S UP AT WESTERN KENTUCKY?

Remember when Western Kentucky fans used to grouse and howl and moan and spit about former WKU coach Darrin Horn?

I do. Horn’s friends do, too. Trust me.

Won 22 games in 2005. Couldn’t get to the NCAA Tournament. Won 23 games in 2006. Went to the NIT. Won 22 games in 2007. Got beat in the Sun Belt Tournament.

Is he ever going to win a big game????

So silly. Life in a one-bid league is tough.

Horn won 29 games in 2008, guided WKU to the Sweet Sixteen with two guys who’ve had nice careers in the NBA and took the job at South Carolina as soon as it was offered.

Ken McDonald lived off Horn’s players for several years before driving the WKU program off the rails. Horn is finishing his first season as an assistant coach for Shaka Smart at Texas. One day a savvy athletic director will give him a call and the keys to another program.

Now Western (16-15) needs to win the Conference USA Tournament to avoid its third consecutive season outside the NCAA field. Average attendance at Diddle Arena this season was listed at 3,672 per game. There isn't much buzz about WKU hoops.

I’m guessing there aren’t many people moaning or howling at the mention of Darrin Horn’s name at WKU anymore.

4. KELAN KILLS IT

Former Ballard star Kelan Martin has become a force in the Big East Conference. The news was confirmed Sunday when Martin, a sophomore, was named to the league’s second team.

By season’s end, you could argue that Martin had become the Bulldogs’ best all-around player. He averaged 16.2 points per game, tied with Kellen Dunham for team high. He also averaged 6.7 rebounds per game, tied with Roosevelt Jones for team high.

Jones takes his game to the big stage – Madison Square Garden – Thursday. Butler plays Providence in the Bulldogs’ first game in the Big East Tournament.

Jones and Dunham are seniors. It will be The Kelan Martin Show at Hinkle Fieldhouse next season.

5. FIXING INDIANA

The most interesting post-game comments from Senior Day at Indiana Sunday were spoken by Nick Zeisloft, the guard who played his final two seasons at IU after transferring from Illinois State.

In November, Indiana finished sixth in the Maui Invitational, losing to Wake Forest and UNLV, a pair of teams the Hoosiers should have beaten by double figures.

IU coach Tom Crean was not pleased. And Zeisloft shared what the coach said to his guys to start to fix the problem before IU left the island.

He said, ‘Do you guys play at Indiana or for Indiana?’” Zeisloft said. “He goes, ‘We got a bunch of guys in here that play at Indiana, not for Indiana.’”

On Friday Indiana will play either Michigan or Northwestern as the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament. IU won all 19 games in Assembly Hall, finishing two games ahead of Michigan State in the Big Ten standings. Joe Lunardi has currently upgraded IU to a three-seed on his NCAA bracket.

“Now, after all these months since Maui, I can honestly say that all my teammates, coaches, staff, everybody, plays for Indiana,” Zeisloft said.

6. TUBBY TIME

Speaking of another coach who sometimes has not felt appreciated, The Muse and the folks at Minnesota need to recognize the solid work Tubby Smith has delivered at Texas Tech.

In only his third season after inheriting the slag heap that he was left in Lubbock by Billy Gillispie, Smith can win his 20th game and likely secure a spot in the NCAA field by defeating TCU Wednesday in the Big 12 Tournament.

Heck, that’s not true. Lunardi has the Red Raiders solidly in the NCAA field as an eight seed, according to Lunardi.

That would elevate Smith to the same spot as Lon Kruger of Oklahoma, the only coaches to direct five programs to the NCAA Tournament. If you’ve lost count for Smith, that would be Tulsa, Georgia, UK, Minnesota and Texas Tech.

Factor in the 1998 NCAA title Smith won at UK and I think he deserves a call from the Naismith Hall of Fame one day.

Agree?

7. DYNAMIC D’ANGELO

Louisville guard Quentin Snider, Butler’s Martin and one other guy were the headliners in the local high school basketball class of 2014.

The other guy was D’Angelo Russell, who played one season at Central High before departing for three seasons of prep school in Florida, a one-season stopover at Ohio State and recognition as the second pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

After the typical rugged rookie start in the pros, Russell’s career is beginning to take flight, as outlined in this column by Bill Plaschke (graduate of Ballard High School) in the Los Angeles Times.

In his last four games, Russell has averaged 22.5 points, hanging 39 on Brooklyn. You can also credit him with nearly 5 assists and 1.5 steals during that period. He’s a lock to join former UK star Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota) and Duke’s Jahlil Okafor (Philadelphia) on the all-rookie team.

8. ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL

The sports culture around the game of football continues to change. More recognition that players are suffering traumatic head injuries that sometimes diminish the quality of their lives.

The latest flashing light comes from the Ivy League, which has voted to eliminate full contact practice during the regular season. Many schools have integrated more work with robotic tackling dummies, reducing the head and soft tissue injuries.

In this story by Ralph Russo, Ivy League coaches say that a reduction in full-contact practices is absolutely the wave of the future.

9. THE WINDUP AND THE PITCH

Spring training games are underway in the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues. I’m off to a slow start. I’ve only listened to parts of two White Sox games. I’ll work on that.

Here is a perfect baseball question I was asked by Harry Beam, our programming director at WDRB, which carries the Fox MLB games of the week:

What are the three big-league teams that local viewers will have the most interest in during the 2016 season?

This is what I told him:

1. Cubs -- They have a good number of fans and are the hot story in baseball this season. They are the pick in the NL.

2. Reds -- They have the most local fans but they are going to be out of the pennant race by June. Not sure how much their fans will watch by summer.

3. Cardinals -- Probably have the second largest group of local fans and will be in top 3 in NL Central.

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts via email (rbozich@wdrb.com) and I’ll share them with Harry.

10. POLL RESULTS

Was the 5 for 20 shooting performance by Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis at Vanderbilt the result of fatigue?

Yes – 44.3 percent.

No – 55.7 percent.

Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

  • Sign Up for the WDRB Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Sign Up for WDRB's Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.