BOZICH | Monday Muse: Louisville hurt more than Kentucky by NBA - WDRB 41 Louisville News

  • Which college basketball program has been hurt more by losing NBA early entries for next season?

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

    93 votes
    277 votes

BOZICH | Monday Muse: Louisville hurt more than Kentucky by NBA early entries?

Posted: Updated:
Rick Bozich presents his weekly Monday Muse. Rick Bozich presents his weekly Monday Muse.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Goodbye, Todd Pletcher. Best of luck in Baltimore. Farewell, Donovan Mitchell. I hope you don’t land in Sacramento or Brooklyn.

Hello, Zack Burdi and Adam Engel. The Louisville Bats’ schedule shows that the two former University of Louisville stars are booked for Slugger Field Thursday-through-Sunday as they continue their grind toward the major leagues.

There is your tease. Now it’s time for the Show – or as I call it around here The Monday Muse (where reader participation is highly encouraged and will be spotlighted this week. Read on.)

1. Hurt More by NBA Early Entries – UK or U of L?

In case you have forgotten, in the old days, this is the starting lineup the University of Kentucky basketball team could have utilized next season:

Karl Anthony-Towns, Trey Lyles, Skal Labissiere, Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis. Go ahead and plug in 5-star commitment Kevin Knox for Labissiere if you prefer.

I realize none of my first five played for John Calipari last season. Three have been gone for two years. Nobody is drained by NBA early entries more than Kentucky.

But it happens in Lexington every year. It’s part of John Calipari’s strategy. He plans for it. Expects it. Encourages it. Moans about it. (“We’re young,” he’ll say. “This is hard.”) But ultimately, he deals with it and generally overcomes it.

That is not the situation at many other programs. Programs like Louisville.

The weekend announcement by U of L guard Donovan Mitchell that he would not return for his junior season made it three consecutive seasons that Rick Pitino has lost at least one player to The League with remaining eligibility.

Mitchell follows Chinanu Onuaku in 2016 who followed Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier in 2015.

Pitino seemed to endorse the moves by Harrell and Rozier. Onuaku was not ready for the NBA but he was ready to leave. Let the record show he earned 52 minutes of playing time in five games for Houston this season, working more in the Developmental League.

Other than missing the $543,471 he earned, Onuaku would have benefited from another season at U of L – and the Cards would have benefited from having him defending the rim.

Losing Mitchell is a bigger blow. Much bigger. Replacing everybody is part of Calipari's DNA. Losing Mitchell was not part of Pitino's plan.

With Mitchell (and the puzzling Jaylen Johnson), the Cards looked like a consensus pre-season Top Five team, top two to some.

Without Mitchell (and Johnson), it’s a stretch to include Louisville in my top 15.

Pitino had Mangok Mathiang, Anas Mahmoud and others to take Onuaku’s minutes. There’s nobody to plug and play at Mitchell’s spot – unless you’re convinced that V.J. King’s future is at off guard instead of small forward.

His departure started to look like a possibility in January when Mitchell emerged as one of the most dynamic backcourt players in the ACC. It did not look like a possibility last fall when Pitino and his assistants put together their 2017 recruiting class, which does not include a replacement for Mitchell.

The NBA Draft early entries have hit Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and others. But the loss of Donovan Mitchell hits Louisville harder than the other guys Rick Pitino has lost the previous two seasons.

2. Updated College Basketball Top 25

It’s still early to fret about college basketball pre-season Top 25 polls. Recruiting is not finished. NBA early entry decisions are still in play. A couple hundred more guys are likely to transfer.

Doesn’t matter. The pre-season Top 25 as an Internet magnet is tougher than crabgrass. It cannot be killed.

Rob Dauster of NBC SportsTalk is the latest to offer a look at the 2017-18 college basketball season. What does Dauster see?

No great teams.  “Awful uninspiring,” is the way Dauster describes it.

He’s got Michigan State on top – and I agree with that call because Miles Bridges did not leave early for the NBA. The Spartans are followed by Arizona, North Carolina and Kansas.

Kentucky checks in at 5, Louisville at 9 and Indiana failed to register. (The link.)

Stay tuned. The shuffling will continue into the summer.

3. Artificial Intelligence Suffers Brain Cramp

Dual qualifiers used to be the rage in predicting the Kentucky Derby. Then I believe we advanced to Dosage. Delivering multiple three-digit Beyer Speed figures became a handy tool, too.

Last week I read stories touting artificial intelligence.

A company titled Unanimous A.I., secured a handicapping partnership with Churchill Downs off the strength of its ability to pick the 1-2-3-4 finishers in the 2016 Derby. The company claimed it used collective intelligence to make its selections.

Maybe Unanimous Intelligence will perform better at the Preakness in 12 days because it whiffed at the Derby, forecasting that Classic Empire, McCraken, Irish War Cry would finish 1-2-3-4.

Actually they finished 4-8-10-1. (The complete story.)

Forget the one-year wonder. Dosage, anybody?

4. More Love for Adam Duvall

Adam Duvall remains a fan favorite at Butler High School, the University of Louisville and with the Cincinnati Reds.

There is one fan base that is not gaga about the power hitting that Duvall continues to show in the National League. That would be the fan base of the San Francisco Giants, the team that ranks last in the NL in runs scored.

Duvall is tied for sixth in the NL with nine home runs. No Giant has more than four. Duvall has driven in 24 runs. Belt leads the Giants with 14.

Think the Giants regret including Duvall in the trade they made for pitcher Mike Leake in 2015? (Read about it here.)

5. What Were the Bengals Thinking?

The Cincinnati Bengals had a long list of needs to fix in the 2017 NFL Draft, but I don’t remember seeing Halfback Who Punched a Woman on the List.

But that’s what the Bengals did, taking former Oklahoma halfback Joe Mixon in the second round. Mixon sat out the 2014 season after an off-campus incident that ended with Mixon punching a woman in the face. He returned to coach Bob Stoops' program in 2015, running for more than 700 yards.

In 2016, Mixon rushed for nearly 1,300 yards, finishing his college career with a per carry average of 6.8 yards.

Mixon was not invited to the NBA Draft Combine in Indianapolis last winter and many wondered if he would be selected in the Draft. Character issues.

No reason to wonder. The Bengals, home of Pacman Jones and other serial knuckleheads, were eager to give Mixon another opportunity.


Team president Mike Brown explained in another blah, blah, blah column at

6. Does Tracy Smith Miss Indiana?

Tracy Smith is the coach who recruited Kyle Schwarber and Sam Travis to Indiana University, took the Hoosiers to the 2013 College World Series, won a Big Ten regular season title as well as the league’s tournament and then bolted for the first available Bigger Shot Program in 2014.

That program was Arizona State – home of Reggie Jackson, Barry Bonds, Dustin Pedroia and a million former major leaguers.

Who could blame him?

More money. Better weather. Better recruiting base.

Check the latest college baseball Ratings Percentage Index (RPI).

Indiana, coached by former University of Louisville assistant Chris Lemonis, is ranked 21st in the RPI. Arizona State is ranked 89th, losers in 24 of 44 games.

The Hoosiers (27-17-2) are projected to make the 64-team NCAA field. The Sun Devils are in turmoil. Multiple players have transferred and ASU must finish 8-3 to avoid the program’s first losing season in 32 years – as outlined in the story in the Arizona Republic.

Baseball is a funny game.

7. Chris Berman’s Mic Isn’t Silent Yet

Nearly forgotten in all the words written and spoken in the aftermath of ESPN’s down-sizing two weeks ago were the departures of other ESPN headliners over the last year.

Guys like Tom Jackson, John Kruk, Mike Tirico (his choice) and others are no longer employed in Bristol, Conn. One other was Chris Berman, whose time with the network dated to the days when ESPN televised professional slo-pitch softball from venues like Bishop David High School in Louisville.

If you thought Berman would fade back, back, back into silence you have not been paying attention. If you wonder what the future will bring for Berman you can read this story by George Willis of the New York Post.

At least the MLB Home Run Derby will be watchable again.

8. The Customers Always Write

Last week I asked this question: Where does the Kentucky Derby rank among top sports events in America?

I encouraged you to respond. Several readers did. I promised to share your comments. Here you go.

Paul Pottgen

1. March Madness, continuous, high drama, non-stop, simultaneous games, multi TV stations. What more can you ask?

2. The Masters granted, you have to like golf or better yet, play. Garcia v Rose was magical.

3. The Open (British Open to the uninformed) golf vs. the elements, Last year’s shootout between Phil Michelson and Henrik Stenson was one for the ages; incredible drama.

4. Kentucky Derby; you have to see in person just once to fully appreciate these magnificent athletes. Belmont Stakes goes to the top when there is a Triple Crown winner possibility, See American Pharoah. Greatest 2 minutes in sport.

5.Super Bowl; sometimes it is super; see New England Patriots unbelievable comeback. Sometimes unbelievably boring.

6. US Open; golf again, but great excitement

7. Tour de France; I know, drugs, drugs, etc. But the TV coverage is magnifique. And some history thrown in.

8. Stanley Cup; magic on ice, mostly.

As a kid, baseball was my favorite sport. It was mostly a day game. Now, I barely follow. Ditto pro basketball. Rim needs to be elevated-12 feet; dunk at that level is 4 points. Or better yet, have the rim move to different heights during the game.

David Morris

10. World Series. No insult intended. I agree it is better when the Red Sox are in there. But Bo, since you can't tell whether a homer is generated by a person or by a drugged up robot, this can't be any higher than last. Baseball died years ago.

9. Indianapolis 500. Only beats Daytona because it's closer to Louisville. If not for baseball, would be last and not close. OK, I'd put it off the list altogether except that even a noisy revved up engine is better than baseball.

8. Dick Vitale. Anytime, anyplace = a major sports event. Keeping him off Final Four TV is the biggest yearly sports blunder

7. Kentucky Oaks & Derby. A teary-eyed Old Kentucky Home played every year, by itself, keeps this sports weekend on the list.

6. The Masters. Good golf naps amid hushed TV plus pretty flowers can't be beat. Even the music is somewhat addictive.

5. NBA Finals. These guys are good, even if they are really spoiled. Note All-Star weekend don't make my list or yours.

4. Super Bowl. It'd be higher without the incessant TV hype, but because of that it is barely a sporting event anymore.

3. College Football Championship game. Auburn - Alabama last play anyone? The result ain't fixed, so is worthwhile.

2. NCAA Final Four. Would be first without the incessant TV hyperbole.

1. NCAA Championship week. Love watching the excited kids punch dance tickets, plus it's all about the basketball.

Lew Blaze

Super Bowl is a no-brainer. Isn’t it almost a national holiday now?

To me, the NCAA semifinals are almost as good (sometimes better) as the championship game. Surprised to hear it is your favorite day in sports.

I would put the Derby at #3. Still put a lot of credence in “the most exciting 2 minutes in sports.” Doesn’t everybody pick a horse, have some sort of jackpot?

At my best count, I’ve been to about 42 of them, so I may be a bit prejudiced…

Of course, you’re a baseball guy, but I don’t see the World Series at #3.

As you say, maybe more so if the Yankees, so you can either pull for them, or against them. Still the most loved/hated team in all of sports? And would anybody really care to watch if it was Milwaukee vs. Toronto?

The NBA finals? Again, don’t see it. Maybe last year because of the Cavs, the Cleveland always loses thing. Or maybe the hate-factor for LeBron,

to pull against him.  The golden days of Magic, Jordan, and Bird are gone forever, don’t ever see the NBA repeating that success/popularity.

The Daytona 500. NASCAR at an all-time low in attendance. Has been on the decline for several years now. Will be tough to recover, with no Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart.  And next year, with no Junior, could really bottom-out.

Jay Pierce

MY top 10, with the emphasis on My. Not trying to speak for the rest of America.

1. The Masters

2. Super Bowl

3. Semifinals of NCAA basketball

4.  Daytona 500

5. The Derby

6. World Series

7. College football bowl game that UL is in

8. College football championship game

9. College World Series (if UL involved)

10. PGA championship

9. Poll Results I

Where does the Kentucky Derby rank among top sports events in America?

Top Five – 38 percent

Top 10 – 33.5 percent

Top 25 – 16.7 percent

Number One – 11.8 percent

10. Poll Results II

10. Will Jeff Brohm succeed as the football coach at Purdue?

Yes – 92 percent.

No – 8 percent.

Copyright 2017 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 - 2018 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.