John Clay: Rick Pitino will move on to Final Four, but not Billy Donovan

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistMarch 26, 2013 

  • NCAA TOURNAMENT

    Louisville vs. Wichita State/Kentucky winner

    When: TBA
    Where: Indianapolis
    Radio: WMKJ-FM 105.5 Lexington
    TV: TBA
    Records: Louisville 31-5 (15-3 AAC)

Random Sweet 16 notes:

■ My Final Four is still alive, and no one is more surprised than yours truly.

Louisville did nothing in Rupp Arena last weekend to make me think I was off base in picking the Cards to win it all. They'll beat Michigan State in the Midwest finals.

I like Ohio State to beat Arizona and Wichita State easily in the West. I like Miami to send Indiana packing in the East. Let's stick with Michigan to upset Kansas, then win the South regional to hand Billy Donovan his third straight Elite Eight loss.

■ Florida might have the toughest Sweet 16 game just because of sentiment. The Gators must play fellow state school and tourney Cinderella Florida Gulf Coast. Not an enviable spot.

■ Oregon turns the ball over too much — last in the Pac-12 at 15.4 per game — to beat Louisville, a team that feasts on turnovers.

■ And Rick Pitino is 10-0 in Sweet 16 games.

■ Reportedly, Florida Gulf Coast Coach Andy Enfield jumped all over his team at halftime of its game with San Diego State on Sunday night.

The reason for Enfield's anger? He didn't think his team was having enough fun.

■ Enfield made a fortune on Wall Street, married a model, has three kids and now has coached a college basketball team no one has heard of to the Sweet 16.

Is this a great country or what?

■ I flat-out loved San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin seeking out Florida Gulf Coast's Sherwood Brown, urging him in no uncertain terms to keep winning in the tournament. Now that's a class act.

■ Tubby Smith is a great person and a good coach. One NCAA Tournament win and a losing conference record at a Big 10 school after six seasons, however, is not a recipe for continued employment.

■ Here's some bad news for UCLA: More people care about Minnesota basketball than UCLA basketball right now.

■ The man Minnesota reportedly wants to replace Smith, VCU Coach Shaka Smart, went from a 46-point win to a 25-point loss in the NCAA Tournament.

■ Did you see that towel fight during a timeout huddle between Michigan State teammates Derrick Nix and Keith Appling? As Nix said later, "Brothers fight sometimes."

■ This is Michigan State's fifth Sweet 16 in the last six years, by the way.

■ John Calipari had made seven straight Sweet 16 appearances before this season.

■ That claim that teams usually suffer a letdown after beating Kentucky apparently even applies to the NIT. Robert Morris lost at Providence on Monday night.

■ Florida has now passed Kentucky in NCAA Tournament wins over the past decade. The Gators have 20. The Cats have 19.

■ The easiest way to lose in the NCAA Tournament? Miss your three-point shots.

Pittsburgh missed 16 of 17 in its loss to Wichita State. Saint Louis missed 18 of 21 in its loss to Oregon. Creighton missed 17 of 19 in its loss to Duke. VCU missed 13 of 16 in its loss to Michigan.

■ Shabazz Muhammad can do everything — except pass the ball, apparently. In his one-and-done season at UCLA, Muhammad finished with all of 27 assists.

■ Just a hunch, but Western Kentucky has a chance to be very good next year.

■ My favorite non-college basketball analyst working the NCAA Tournament: Steve Kerr.

■ Shout out to Rex Chapman, who was funny and insightful during his turn as a studio analyst for Turner last week.

Rex could use a little polish, but not too much.

■ The highlight of the tournament (so far): Charles Barkley asking Andy Enfield, "Where the hell is Florida Gulf Coast at?"

That's so Charles.

John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Email: jclay@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @johnclayiv. Blog: Johnclay.bloginky.com.

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