John Clay

Latest basketball trial testimony negates Louisville’s excuses

Louisville terminated the contract of basketball coach Rick Pitino on Oct. 16, 2017. At the college basketball corruption trial in New York on Tuesday, Brian Bowen Sr. testified under oath he received money from a U of L assistant basketball coach to help pay rent.
Louisville terminated the contract of basketball coach Rick Pitino on Oct. 16, 2017. At the college basketball corruption trial in New York on Tuesday, Brian Bowen Sr. testified under oath he received money from a U of L assistant basketball coach to help pay rent. AP

Random notes:

When the college basketball corruption trial resumed Tuesday in New York, Brian Bowen Sr. testified under oath that he received money from a Louisville assistant basketball coach to help with rent after the family moved to Louisville to watch son Brian Jr. play.

That undercuts any argument that Louisville is a victim in this whole FBI investigation mess. It should also undercut Rick Pitino’s argument that he was unfairly fired. As we’ve said before, many times, if Pitino didn’t know, he should have known what his assistant coach was doing. Pitino was in charge of the program.

If Brian Bowen, a good but not great prospect, was getting the money his father says the family received, imagine what the going rate is for the elite college basketball prospects on the take.

If you were not a Bengals believer before, perhaps Cincinnati’s 27-17 win over the visiting Miami Dolphins last Sunday made you a convert.

Down 17-0, the Bengals scored 24 points in the final quarter to move to 4-1. They scored two defensive touchdowns in the fourth quarter with rookie defensive end Sam Hubbard returning a fumble 19 yards for a score and defensive lineman Michael Johnson taking an interception, which deflected off a Dolphins player’s helmet, 22 yards for a touchdown.

The next two Sundays could tell us if the Bengals are for real. They play host to Pittsburgh on Sunday. The following Sunday they travel to Kansas City to face Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Michael Sokolove wrote a new book about corruption in college basketball. It’s title is "The Last Temptation of Rick Pitino."

By the way, the NFL isn’t dying. According to Sports Business Journal, ratings were up 1 percent going into last weekend’s games. And Sunday night’s Cowboys-Texans clash was NBC’s highest Week 5 game since 2015.

My guess is Kentucky sticks with the quarterback that helped it to a 5-0 start. Terry Wilson did not play well in College Station, when UK dropped to 5-1, but part of that had to do with an excellent game plan by Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko. The Aggies applied pressure with just four pass rushers. That allowed seven defenders to drop into coverage which forced the inexperienced Wilson to go through his reads. He’ll get better in that area.

I don’t see Bobby Petrino being fired at Louisville over one bad season. Before this year, Petrino was 34-18 overall and 21-11 in the ACC in his second U of L stint. At 7-1, the Cardinals tied for the Atlantic Division title in 2016. And Petrino had success before Lamar Jackson stepped on campus. He didn’t suddenly forget how to coach.

That said, Louisville’s defense looked helpless against Georgia Tech’s triple option attack last Saturday. There was a back story behind Tech’s 66-31 romp.

Back in 2006, current Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson left Georgia Southern to be the head coach at Navy. Georgia Southern hired Brian VanGorder. who ditched Johnson’s offense, saying he was bringing the program into the 21st century. VanGorder is now Louisville’s defensive coordinator. And Johnson hasn’t forgotten what was said in 2006.

I made it a point not to pay attention to Barstool Sports long before its dustup with Goodfellas pizza.

How dominating has Alabama football been this season? Through six games, starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has not thrown a pass in the fourth quarter yet this season.

Now this is a ball control offense: Mississippi State possessed the football 41:53 of its 23-9 win over Auburn on Saturday. The Bulldogs had the football the final 8:37 of the first half and the opening 8:05 of the second half.

According to Pro Football Focus, UK outside linebacker Josh Allen has 33 quarterback pressures. By its numbers, that ranks second in the nation.

The SEC has seven of the nation’s top-25 total defenses. Georgia is No. 7 nationally, followed by Mississippi State at No 9; Kentucky at No. 14; Florida at No. 19; Auburn at No. 20; Texas A&M at No. 23 and Alabama at No. 25.

The Louisville men’s basketball program will have to officially vacate its 2013 national title after the NCAA announced it denied their appeal regarding sanctions placed in the wake of a sex scandal.

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