The Big Ten Conference Tournament is just over a week from happening. Insane, but true. Like Scrooge McDuck jumping into his vault of coins, somehow not hurting his noggin in the process, Jim Delany is out here to lavish in the money that comes from not playing basketball games in an area that cares about Big Ten hoops.
Important note laced with caveats: Remember that this isn’t about something being “good” or “bad.” It is about value. Value of a team — or person, for that matter — set off expectations currently placed on that entity.
Buying: Louisville hiring David Padgett full-time
In case you were living under a rock drinking whiskey for some reason, the Louisville Cardinals are currently operating in a world with an interim head coach manning the helm of the basketball program. This is largely due to the antics of legendary shenanigans lover Rick Pitino, who finally got the lifetime achievement award he deserved.
You know, he was fired.
Not for one instance. The latest of his discretions being the FBI probing the program’s recruitment process like Commander Sheppard does planets.
Pitino, possibly a vampire, wasn’t only canned for that reason. He also has one of the most infamous 15 recorded seconds of chain restaurant history, as well as the entire escort scandal that was only not statutory rape because of a weird state law.
Eh, I digress.
With Pitino forced out, as Louisville entered damage control, the program turned to David Padgett to look over the program “for the time being.” Basically, he was meant as a placeholder for the school until it lured some bigger name to campus.
A reality needs to set in, though. Louisville, a fine and prestigious job, won’t be able to convince anyone of clout to join the program for some time. That’s right, Louisville-maniacs. Brad Stevens is not leaving one of the best jobs in all of basketball to join a program with the ire of the feds attached to it.
I’d argue the university should avoid looking elsewhere, anyway. Padgett has done a solid, if not remarkable job during these tough times. Not to mention the FBI still residing in the dark recesses of the sport, lurking like a Hungry Hungry Hippo, simply biding its time until it can eat a college whole.
Semantics out of the way first: Despite being left to hold the bag, presumed to be the guy eating Ls while his employer searched for anyone but him to coach the team, Padgett has done a tremendous job this season. With only two weeks until March hits, the Cardinals are 18-9. Moreover, Padgett, who has his fair share of backers within the Louisville bubble, has proved to be at least a solid in-game coach.
Obviously, we have zero idea in regards to his recruiting acumen. That being said, given the NCAA is likely waiting to see what the FBI does first before wielding its own hammer of misguided justice, it might not matter. If the governing body of college sport deems it, Louisville as we know it might operate under heavy sanctions for a few years.
Worst case scenario, really, can see multiple programs get whacked in such a way, as a Pete Thamel report recently suggested.
The best case scenario still likely sees Louisville trotting about college hardwoods with an aura of evil attached to it. It is the same school, after all, that largely turned a blind-eye to Pitino’s issues and hired the maligned Bobby Petrino because he is good at coaching sportsball.
Bluntly put: Louisville needs to do what is best for its image while balancing that alongside the possibility that it won’t be an attractive place to coach — or to be recruited to, for that matter — until the FBI is done poking around.
There’s an ethical responsibility here too, but let’s not pretend money schools in the land of money sports are worried about that.
I don’t know if Padgett is inherently the answer. He was on staff when Pitino was Pitino’ing around. And yet, the national media seems to adore him, he’s already appeared to be given a free pass from judgement, and there’s reason to believe he’s earned the job.
Louisville, by removing the interim tag from Padgett, you’re not marrying the man. This isn’t an ‘until death do you fickle folk part’ type of deal. It is a step in a direction that is away from Pitino and your university’s recent history of being on the wrong side of what is ethically right.
Can you find that outside of Padgett? Of course. But is seeing if you can find it, with the feds just waiting for another slip up and the NCAA watching you like a hawk, worth the hassle?
Sometimes you shoot for the stars and hope Christina Ricci digs you. More often than not, you ask whoever is sitting closest to you at the bar if s/he’s willing to talk.
Twitter Q&A: Is Sean Miller hurting Arizona?
Arizona was on a seven-game winning streak — having actually won 16-of-17 — before losing two out of its last four. Otherwise, still sitting with an overall record of 21-6, I don’t think this question would be asked.
I get the idea here. Ayton and Ristic, both 7-foot-monsters, aren’t helping Arizona when it comes to spreading the floor. Neither are unicorn-ish in nature.
Of players who average over 15 minutes per contest and attempt over two threes, only Parker Jackson-Cartwright (44 percent) and Allonzo Trier (43 percent) shoot over 38 percent from the arc — with Rawle Atkins shooting 37.
All of those guys already get minutes. In turn, the question is essentially asking who should be taking either of the 7-footer’s minutes when the other is on the floor.
Every other member of the Arizona roster, who isn’t already regularly in the rotation, but does already get over 10 minutes per game is not capable of playing near the rim, maxing out in (listed) height at 6-foot-7 — and that largest forward is Ira Lee, who couldn’t hit a three if his life depended on it (he’s made zero this season).
A relevant aside: Miller only has five guys he trusts enough to play over 20 minutes per contest. There’s likely a reason for it. After those guys, four of the next five are all guards, with only Lee listed as a forward and he’s nowhere near being a stretch-four.
Basically, the question is sound, but the issue is about there being no good answers. There’s maybe the idea of going small-ball here, but there’d be a massive dip on overall talent on the floor. Miller plays Ristic next to Ayton both out of need and because the former is one of his seven best players.
Miller is simply hoping his talent forces opposing teams to change how they operate against Arizona rather than letting other teams’ lineups dictate his rotations.
Nevertheless, of course it hurts Miller’s guys that he has two giant humanoids who don’t help spread the floor, but there isn’t an available answer on the roster as it is currently constructed.
Final point on this. The regular season is almost over. At this point, rotations are what they are and coaches aren’t going to tinker down the stretch.