Just when you thought the biggest news in June would be Ohio State hiring Chris Holtmann, the NCAA decided to rear its inept head just in time to punish the Louisville Cardinals.
Well, kind of and only sort of. The entire appeal process needs to play out and the punishments aren’t exactly the worst thing in the history of mankind — yes, even the vacated wins.
Stock is going down but don’t panic!
Why is the stock plummeting?
Have you lived under a rock for the last week? If so, I will explain what is happening in a second, but also — why did you choose to live under a rock?
The NCAA suspended Rick Pitino for the first five ACC games next season, put UL on probation for four years, and will try to vacate a ton of victories that spanned four seasons, including the 2013 NCAA Tournament title.
Wait… Why Aren’t We Panicking?
For two reasons.
One: Rick Pitino is Teflon. Nothing negative can hurt him. It can literally be raining cats and lawnmowers and he would walk away not only unscathed, but with a high quality haircut and a nice pet to boot.
Two: These penalties mostly alter the past. I recently argued that the NCAA’s use of power was typically useless.
As for how it changes the future, it really doesn’t. Four years probation is nothing. “Hey, UL, please don’t do any more bad things that you weren’t meant to be doing in the first place,” said the NCAA.
With the five-game ACC suspension, that is a straight-up giggle fest. Louisville doesn’t live or die on the March Madness bubble. It is mother bleeping Louisville.
Only thing that can potentially hurt the Cardinals: Pitino decides to become even more defiant than normal, hanging up the slicked back hair and luxury suits in an effort to kick the governing body of college sports on his way out and into the halls of basketball immortality.
Time To Get Out Of Dodge
Things Do Look Good!
The Gators recently extended the contract of head coach Mike White. For good reason too, as he has done a marvelous job in a post-Billy Donovan world.
There is reason for legitimate optimism if you operate within a Florida Gators bubble.
All of that can be true, especially since Florida is quickly becoming (again?) one of the best non-Kentucky programs in the SEC.
Why Are We Selling?
Expectations are changing. Gone is the hope that White can make the transition from the Donovan era go smoothly. In place of those mild yet difficult-to-navigate expectations, people will likely project Florida to be consistently successful as it was during Donovan’s tenure.
That means trips to the NCAA Tournament are more entitlements to the fan base and less a goal. If earning a pair of dancing slippers is a presumed given right (as opposed to something earned), that makes deep runs in the Big Dance the gauge for measuring White’s success with the program.
Basically, and this is 100 percent not fair, Florida is now expected to be the second-best team (annually) in the SEC and the type that forever reaches Sweet 16s (at least).
Conference Entity Giddiness!
Big Ten Conference
What Is Happening Now?
The Big Ten recently provided words to ESPN. Some of those words described Jim Delany’s burning desire to regularly put the conference tournament in Madison Square Garden.
Some coaches are worried about the potential two-week layoff that can happen if their team loses early in the conference tournament. It might result in some Big Ten teams not playing a game for roughly 14 days before the NCAA Tournament begins.
At the same time, other coaches said they trusted Delany and believe this could help (in theory) grow the league since it supposedly needs a Northeast reach now that Rutgers is a member of the conference.
This All Seems Bad, But…
A few things here.
The two-week layoff? It is a double-edged sword of positive vibes. On one hand, it gives good teams plenty of time to rest and get healthy. On the other hand, it provides Big Ten coaches a built-in excuse as to why their team(s) flamed out early in the Big Dance.
“Of course we lost. We were rusty because we had to play in The Mecca,” a disgruntled coach will almost certainly exclaim after losing in the first round to the University of Broken Dreams.
This does provide a new reach for the Big Ten, too. When playing in MSG, the conference tournament will start a week before any other power leagues start theirs. The big boy conference tournament platform will be the league’s alone. That is a hell of a lot of eyeballs on the Big Ten product.
As for extending the league’s reach to the Northeast … um … it is 2017, Delany. Everyone has some form of picture-box programming that allows them to consume your product. They don’t have to literally go to an arena to watch Big Ten shooty hoops.
Nevertheless, we should buy.