John Clay: A Pitino on the move, and U of L on a roll

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistApril 3, 2013 

WKentucky Louisville Basketball

Brandon Knight, John Calipari, Rick Pitino and Victoria Dunlap are among the key figures who will be drawing national attention to college hoops in Kentucky this season.

TIMOTHY D. EASLEY | AP

Random notes:

Just hired at Minnesota, Richard Pitino succeeds the man, Tubby Smith, who succeeded his father at Kentucky.

Just hired by Texas Tech, Tubby Smith succeeds the man, Billy Gillispie, who succeeded Smith at Kentucky.

Or as one of my Twitter followers tweeted: "Tubby succeeded Billy who succeeded Tubby who succeeded Rick who begat Richard who could succeed Tubby."

Got that?

■ Rick Pitino was 33 years old when he was hired by Providence in March 1986.

Richard Pitino is 30 years old.

■ You must admit, the athletic department at Louisville is on quite a roll.

Nov. 29, 2012: The ACC votes to accept Louisville as a member in 2014-15. U of L will replace Maryland, which is joining the Big Ten. With the uncertain future of the Big East in football, it keeps Louisville in a BCS conference.

Dec. 6, 2012: Football coach Charlie Strong turns down overtures from Tennessee and decides to stay at Louisville.

Jan. 2, 2013: Louisville jumps all over Florida and upsets the third-ranked Gators 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl. Teddy Bridgewater throws for 266 yards and two touchdowns, placing himself as one of the favorites for the 2013 Heisman Trophy.

March 16, 2013: Louisville overcomes a 16-point deficit in the second half to beat Syracuse 78-61 in the championship game of the Big East Tournament.

March 17, 2013: Louisville is awarded the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

March 31, 2013: The Louisville men whip Duke, 85-63, in the Midwest Region finals in Indianapolis to earn the Cards a second consecutive trip to the Final Four, this time in Atlanta.

March 31, 2013: The Louisville women stun defending national champ and No. 1 seed Baylor, 82-81, in the semifinals of the Oklahoma City Region in the NCAA women's basketball tournament.

April 2, 2013: The Louisville women beat Tennessee, 86-78, in the Oklahoma City Region finals to earn a trip to the Final Four in New Orleans.

■ Is the SEC losing its women's basketball touch?

This is the fifth straight year an SEC team has failed to reach the women's Final Four.

■ Mike Rice's firing at Rutgers over his abusive behavior toward his players is more a story of how much administrators allow coaches to get away with before they are forced to take action.

■ The Rutgers AD should go, as well.

■ For all the talk — and I was right there with it myself — about the Big Ten being the best conference, it's the Big East that has two teams in the men's Final Four.

Of course, both those Big East teams are headed to the ACC.

■ According to Jay Bilas, this is the lowest-scoring NCAA Tournament since 1985. That's before the shot clock was introduced to college hoops.

■ My vote would be to shorten the shot clock by at least five seconds. And make it a backcourt violation if a team doesn't get the ball over half-court in eight seconds, a la the NBA.

■ My Final Four picks: Louisville over Wichita State. Syracuse over Michigan. Louisville over Syracuse.

■ After being nearly injury-free in 2012 — outside of Scott Rolen's chronic shoulder problems — the Reds suffered a major injury just three innings into 2013 when Ryan Ludwick tore cartilage in his right shoulder sliding head-first into third base.

Ludwick is expected to miss up to three months.

Hope that's not an omen.

■ So Carson Palmer, after turning your back on your teammates with the Bengals a couple of years back, how is that working out for you?

■ In his first game as a New York Met, former Henry Clay and UK star Collin Cowgill hit a grand slam home run.

That's the way to start a baseball season.

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

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