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Jim Boeheim has never been a man that’s shied away from saying what he feels, even if that results in him going after a reporter during a press conference.
On Sunday night, Boeheim did just that, when he was clearly unhappy about being asked whether or not his team was ‘impatient’:
Boeheim had reason to be upset beyond that particular line of questioning: Not only did his team lose a tough road game thanks to a pretty bad call in the final 20 seconds, but that loss might be what costs them a spot in the NCAA tournament.
With Demarcus Cousins ending up on New Orleans – I hesitate to call that fleecing a “trade” – to join forces with another former Kentucky Wildcat, it only makes sense for the dots to get connected: John Calipari to the Pelicans!
Dan Patrick didn’t waste any time diving right in on Monday morning, opening his interview with Coach Cal with: “Can I have permission to start a rumor about you?”
Before Patrick even had a chance to define said rumor, Cal hit him with a, “Not. Happening.” He doubled down on his denials later on that morning by telling a teleconference of reporters, “that’s not going to happen.”
This is what Cal has to say. When you’re the head coach at Kentucky, an incredibly high-paying job and arguably the best in the college basketball business, you cannot be publicly campaigning for another position, even if it is an NBA gig with two of the league’s top 12 players. And while Cal isn’t exactly forthcoming when it comes to what he reveals in the media – his name gets mentioned with an NBA job roughly every six months, and he has the same answer every time – I think I believe him here.
Because I don’t think he gives up his lucrative seat as the celebrity overlord of college basketball for anything less than the perfect job: One where he can win immediately, avoiding the indignity of another NBA flameout like the one he had with the Nets 17 years ago, and one where he is given total and complete roster control. He wants to be the coach and the GM, and I’m not sure New Orleans is in a position where they would get rid of GM Dell Demps, who orchestrated The Fleecing Of Sacramento, or head coach Alvin Gentry, who was hired prior to the start of last season and could feasibly get this group back to the Playoffs this year, for a guy that last coached in the NBA in 1999 after getting fired 20 games into a season.
And all of that is before you consider that Cousins still needs to ink a long-term deal with New Orleans at some point for this theory to truly be viable, although finding a way to bring in Cal could certainly help Cousins make this decision.
I also get it.
Cal, better than anyone else since Cousins first touched a basketball, found a way to channel Cousins’ immense talents. If anyone can find a way to get Boogie to shed his baggage, it’s probably Cal. Then factor in the chance that he would find a way to be able to reel in, say, John Wall, and those are dots that are just screaming to be connected.
A Kentucky reunion in the Big Easy. Big Blue Nation would buy every ticket available at the Smoothie King Center. Who wouldn’t love that?
Maybe it happens. But at this point, I have a hard time seeing Coach Cal giving up his throne atop Lexington.
Once again, undefeated Gonzaga finds themselves sitting al alone atop the Coaches Poll. The Zags are also No. 1 in the NBC Sports top 25 and the AP Poll.
Villanova and Kansas are two and three again, while Arizona and UCLA round out the top five.
Here is the full poll:
8. North Carolina
13. West Virginia
18. Saint Mary’s
20. Florida State
25. Wichita State
The Zags remained alone atop the AP Poll on Monday morning, amassing 59 of a possible 65 first-place votes.
Villanova remained at No. 2 and Kansas stayed steadfast at No. 3. Baylor dropped from fourth to ninth after a pair of losses, while Virginia went from 14th to 18th after losing to Duke and North Carolina in the same week.
Here is the entire poll:
1. Gonzaga (59 first-place votes)
2. Villanva (5)
3. Kansas (1)
8. North Carolina
12. West Virginia
19. Florida State
20. Saint Mary’s
21. Notre Dame
25. Wichita State
If today were Selection Sunday, and North Carolina was the ACC champion, the Selection Committee would likely be inclined to reward the Tar Heels with a No. 1 seed over a very strong Baylor team whose profile is equally impressive but lacks a conference title. In the world of splitting hairs, we just did. On that note, two interesting twists await. First, UNC hosts Louisville on Wednesday, and the Cardinals are No. 6 on the Seed List. If Louisville wins in Chapel Hill, the Cards could make a strong case for the top line on Thursday. Second, the Tar Heels close with an incredibly tough slate, going to Pittsburgh and Virginia before finishing at home with Duke. Baylor can easily play its way back up.
In the race for No. 1 seeds, Villanova and Kansas are sitting in strong positions as the regular season comes to a close. Should Gonzaga finish unbeaten, it would hard to drop the Zags from their No. 1 perch in the West. Which leaves, at least for now, one top seed up for grabs, and it could go any number of ways.
Another meh and blah weekend along the cutline. Should we lose solid mid-major programs like Middle Tennessee State, UNC Wilmington, and say, Monmouth or Illinois State during their conference championships, the Committee will have to heavily weigh a bunch of mediocre power teams versus some solid programs who have fewer chances for marquee wins.
UPDATED: February 20, 2017
Regarding bracketing principles, can read them for yourself at http://www.ncaa.com. For example: teams from the same conference may now meet before a Regional final, even if fewer than eight teams are selected. The goal is to keep as many teams as possible on their actual seed line.
FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)
- Georgia Tech vs. Marquette | South Region
- Seton Hall vs. TCU | East Region
- NORTH DAKOTA vs. UC-IRVINE | Midwest Region
- MT. ST. MARY’S vs. NEW ORLEANSE | East Region
BRACKET PROJECTION …
|EAST – New York||MIDWEST – Kansas City|
|1) VILLANOVA||1) KANSAS|
|16) NEW ORLEANS / M.S. MARY’S||16) NO. DAKOTA / UC-IRVINE|
|8) Dayton||8) Minnesota|
|9) Miami-FL||9) Arkansas|
|5) Virginia||5) Notre Dame|
|12) UNC-WILMINGTON||12) ILLINOIS STATE|
|4) PURDUE||4) Butler|
|13) AKRON||13) UT-ARLINGTON|
|6) Saint Mary’s||6) Wisconsin|
|11) Seton Hall / TCU||11) Kansas State|
|3) Kentucky||3) Florida State|
|14) PRINCETON||14) BELMONT|
|Indianapolis||Salt Lake City|
|7) Northwestern||7) Iowa State|
|10) Wichita State||10) Michigan|
|2) Louisville||2) ARIZONA|
|15) BUCKNELL||15) NO. DAKOTA ST|
|SOUTH – Memphis||WEST – San Jose|
|Greenville||Salt Lake City|
|1) NORTH CAROLINA||1) GONZAGA|
|16) NC-CENTRAL||16) TX-SOUTHERN|
|8) Xavier||8) Virginia Tech|
|9) VCU||9) USC|
|5) Creighton||5) CINCINNATI|
|12) VALPARAISO||12) MONMOUTH|
|4) UCLA||4) West Virginia|
|13) NEVADA||13) VERMONT|
|6) SMU||6) Maryland|
|11) Georgia Tech / Marquette||11) MID TENNESSEE ST|
|3) FLORIDA||3) Duke|
|14) UNC-ASHEVILLE||14) FLA GULF COAST|
|7) South Carolina||7) Oklahoma State|
|10) California||10) Michigan State|
|2) Baylor||2) Oregon|
|15) FURMAN||15) CSU-BAKERSFIELD|
NOTES on the BRACKET: Villanova is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Kansas, Gonzaga, and North Carolina.
Last Four Byes (at large): California, Michigan State, Wichita State, Kansas State
Last Four IN (at large): Seton Hall, TCU, Marquette, Georgia Tech
First Four OUT (at large): Providence, Syracuse, Clemson, Tennessee
Next four teams OUT (at large): Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Indiana, Texas Tech
Breakdown by Conference …
ACC (9): NORTH CAROLINA, Louisville, Duke, Florida State, Virginia, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Miami-FL, Georgia Tech
Big 10 (7): PURDUE, Wisconsin, Maryland, Northwestern, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State
Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, TCU
Big East (6): VILLANOVA, Butler, Creighton, Xavier, Seton Hall, Marquette
Pac 12 (5): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, USC, California
SEC (4): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas
Atlantic 10 (2): VCU, Dayton
American (2): CINCINNATI, SMU
West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s
Missouri Valley (1): ILLINOIS STATE, Wichita State
Mountain West (1): NEVADA
ONE BID LEAGUES: Monmouth (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), UT-Arlington (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), North Dakota (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), New Orleans (SLND), Furman (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), Winthrop (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), North Dakota State (SUM), CSU-Bakersfield (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Mt. St. Mary’s (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)