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Tag:Louisville
Posted on: October 20, 2011 9:27 am
 

Preseason candidates for Tisdale Award announced

By Gary Parrish

The United States Basketball Writers Association announced on Thursday its 12 preseason candidates for the Wayman Tisdale Award that annually honors the nation's top freshman. Three of the 12 -- Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague -- play at Kentucky.

The full list is as follows:
  • Brad Beal (Florida)
  • Chane Behanan (Louisville)
  • Khem Birch (Pittsburgh)
  • Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
  • Andre Drummond (Connecticut)
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky)
  • Le'Bryan Nash (Oklahoma State)
  • Austin Rivers (Duke)
  • Marquis Teague (Kentucky)
  • Adonis Thomas (Memphis)
  • Josiah Turner (Arizona)
  • Cody Zeller (Indiana)
Ohio State's Jared Sullinger won the Wayman Tisdale Award last season.

Sullinger is the CBSSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year this season.
Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:54 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2011 4:26 pm
 

Pitino's Louisville First vs. Cal's Players First

By Gary Parrish

LOUISVILLE -- So I was walking around Louisville's practice facility Saturday, and I kept seeing shirts that read "Louisville First." Apparently, that's this season's slogan for the Cardinals. Team first. Nothing else matters. Check your ego at the door. Louisville First.

No big deal, right?

Coaches do stuff like this all the time.

But then I started thinking about John Calipari's Media Day on Thursday and the speech he gave at Friday's Big Blue Madness, and I couldn't help but make a connection between Louisville's new slogan and Calipari's favorite new phrase -- Players First. "This is a players-first program," he said over and over again, and it really is classic Calipari. He's always one step ahead, trying to turn somebody's something into something else. You see, once Pitino decided to tout his program as a program that puts the team first, Calipari decided to take the opposite approach and hammer into recruits' heads whatthat he's a players-first coach and only at Kentucky to help prospects "reach their dreams." Yes, Calipari has used the phrase before, but he's never used it as relentlessly as he's been using it lately. Everything is players-first-this and players-first-that. If Final Fours and national championships happen to come with that, well, that's fine, too. But it's players first at UK. Players first. Players first. Players first. Don't ever forget it.

So funny.

I love stuff like this.

Season tips Nov. 7
Anyway, besides that it's been fairly quiet in the Pitino-Calipari War of Words since the Louisville coach, in response to the Kentucky coach, said he planned to "ignore the jealous ... ignore the malicious ... ignore the ignorant and ... ignore the paranoid." If true, that's too bad because the Pitino-Calipari rivalry makes the Louisville-Kentucky rivalry tops in college basketball. I personally won't be satisfied until Calipari brings up Karen Sypher and Pitino spends 20 minutes talking about how much he'd hate it if one of his five Final Fours were ever vacated, much less two. Up to me, that's where we're headed. But after talking to some Louisville and Kentucky players about it over the weekend, I'm convinced I'm more into the rivalry between their coaches than they are, and you, the fans, probably are, too.

"We don't hear much about it, but our fans are always like, 'That Calipari is this,' and then the UK fans are like 'Rick Pitino is this and that,'" Louisville guard Peyton Siva said with a laugh. "Hey, it's Louisville vs. Kentucky. It's the fans' rivalry, and they feed into it. So anything Coach P says about Kentucky, they're gonna blow it up. And anything Coach Calipari says about Louisville, they're going to blow it up.

"It's fun," Siva concluded. "But we don't worry about it much."
Posted on: October 16, 2011 11:50 am
Edited on: October 16, 2011 11:51 am
 

Louisville freshman still waiting to be cleared

By Gary Parrish

LOUISVILLE -- A shoulder injury has Louisville's Wayne Blackshear unable to practice.

But the NCAA Clearinghouse is delaying his college career, too.

"It's just a matter of the Clearinghouse clearing him," Louisville coach Rick Pitino told CBSSports.com, meaning the Clearinghouse hasn't yet cleared the McDonald's All-American to compete as a freshman.

Blackshear is a 6-foot-5 wing from Chicago.

CBSSports.com rated him as the 24th-best prospect in the Class of 2011.

"Yes," Pitino answered when asked if he's optimistic Blackshear will get through the Clearinghouse. "They're being a lot tougher this year than they have been in the past. But Wayne's situation is, I think, pretty good. We are optimistic."

To Pitino's point about the Clearinghouse being "a lot tougher this year," Kansas announced Friday that two of its freshmen -- Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor -- have been ruled ineligible. St. John's has had three heralded freshmen ruled ineligible. UCF's top recruit, Michael Chandler, also failed to make it through the Clearinghouse.

This development is not the first problem with Louisville's recruiting class.

Kevin Ware, a 6-4 guard from Georgia, was ruled ineligible last month, but he could join the Cardinals in December if his SAT score increases. Pitino said Ware is scheduled to retake the SAT next week. Meantime, McDonald's All-American Chane Behanan also didn't open practice with his teammates. The 6-6 forward watched Saturday's workouts with a boot on his right foot because of a sprained ankle suffered in Friday night's scrimmage.

"But he'll be ready by Monday," Pitino said.
Posted on: October 14, 2011 9:11 am
Edited on: October 14, 2011 2:59 pm
 

It's Madness Day and we are everywhere

By Gary Parrish

LEXINGTON, Ky -- It's Big Blue Madness Day in Kentucky, and folks really do like blue around here. They wear blue shirts and blue hats; I've even seen some blue shoes. And I'm not talking about students, exclusively. Old people wear lots of blue, too. It's a little crazy, but I'd expect nothing less from the nation's most passionate fan base as their national-championship-caliber team prepares to open practice tonight at Rupp Arena.

I will be there.

Then I'll spend Saturday with Louisville.

And Sunday with Vanderbilt.

Season tips Nov. 7
And Monday with Memphis.

Meaning my next four days will be spent with the coaches who have the teams ranked No. 2 (Kentucky), No. 7 (Vanderbilt), No. 8 (Louisville) and No. 9 (Memphis) in our preseason Top 25 (and one). Meantime, my colleague Jeff Goodman is spending the next two days with No. 1 North Carolina and No. 6 Duke, then he'll be with No. 5 Ohio State on Monday. My colleague Matt Norlander is with No. 3 Connecticut. My colleague Jeff Borzello is with No. 4 Syracuse.

What does that mean?

It means CBSSports.com staff writers will spend the next four days with the teams ranked first to ninth in the preseason Top 25 (and one), and I'm not sure any website or newspaper in America (or any other country in the world, for that matter) can match how we're attacking this college basketball season. So you're in the right place. We've already had Jerry Palm project the Field of 68, and Goodman and I have filled out his bracket. We've got conference previews running daily, and columns on North Carolina, Kentucky, Connecticut and Syracuse up now.

Check them out.

Check everything out.

Then bookmark this blog and keep coming back.

Because we aren't planning to slow down until at least mid-April.


Posted on: October 6, 2011 9:25 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 9:28 am
 

Rick Pitino shoots back at John Calipari

By Jeff Goodman

It was only a matter of time.

Just a few days after Kentucky coach John Calipari's verbal jab directed squarely at Pitino and Louisville, the Cards' head coach fired back.

"Four things I've learned in my 59 years about people," Pitino told CBSSports.com on Wednesday. "I ignore the jealous, I ignore the malicious, I ignore the ignorant and I ignore the paranoid."

"If the shoe fits anyone," he added. "Wear it."

Wow.

To refresh your memory, here are Calipari's comments earlier in the week in which he purposely omits Louisville when talking about programs in the state of Kentucky.

"It's a unique thing," Calipari said. "There's no other state, none, that's as connected to their basketball program as this one. Because those other states have other programs. Michigan has Michigan State, California has UCLA, North Carolina has Duke. It's Kentucky throughout this whole state, and that's what makes us unique."

This is why the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry currently has no peer in college hoops.

At least while Pitino and Calipari run their respective programs.

It edges out the one with closer proximity down in Tobacco Road between Duke and North Carolina. Not due to the hatred between fan bases, because that exists at a similar level in Bluegrass country.

But because of the hatred of the two coaches who run the programs.

Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina's Roy Williams aren't exactly partners, but those guys are buddies compared to Calipari and Pitino.

Louisville Courier-Journal columnist Rick Bozich touched upon Calipari's jealousy in a column this morning and there's certainly some merit to his points.

It's no coincidence that Calipari accepted the job to coach the Dominican Republican national team shortly after Pitino agreed to (and later decided against) coach the Puerto Rican National club.

Calipari is envious of the fact that Pitino won a national championship.

Calipari is brash -- and even his closest friends in the business will tell you behind closed doors that he'll turn on anyone. I mean, think about the fact that Pitino was a key proponent in Calipari getting the UMass job years ago.

But that is ancient history now.

Pitino is nearing 60 and doesn't care what he says or who he offends these days.

A year ago, his team was over-matched talent-wise by Calipari's Wildcats. This year, although Kentucky remains loaded due to another stellar freshman class, the gap has closed significantly.

The two coaches will square off on New Year's Eve.

This makes for terrific theater, so grab some popcorn and enjoy the show.

Because it's not going to last forever.

Photo: AP
Posted on: October 4, 2011 9:43 am
 

Calipari's new geography eliminates Louisville

By Matt Norlander

Of all the veiled shots John Calipari has taken at Louisville basketball and Rick Pitino, this might be my favorite.

Because Calipari doesn't mention either. He simply refuse to acknowledge that Louisville has a basketball program, and that basketball program is located within the defined borders of the state of Kentucky.

Calipari is very smart, very wily and very much in hate with the Cardinals and their coach. Our former blogger, Matt Jones, now has a full-time gig working Kentucky television and radio. He landed an interview with Calipari the other night, when all the UK fans were still camping out for tickets. Calipari got to talking about how great that was, how Kentucky's unlike any other school. The typical stuff. And without prompt, as he's prone to do, Calipari managed to sneak in a shot at Louisville.

"There's no other state -- none -- as connected to their basketball program as this one," Calipari said. "Because those other states have other programs. Michigan has Michigan State. California, UCLA has all those ... North Carolina has Duke. It's Kentucky, throughout this whole stae, and that's what makes this unique."

No love for Morehead State, coach? They did beat Louisville in the tournament last year, after all. If you want the context of the quote, here's the video.



This is completely unnecessary and hilarious. Some Cards fans are reacting the way you'd expect. Calipari knows exactly what he's doing. It's why we thought he was talking about Mike Krzyzewski when he made these comments. There is nothing that isn't calculated by this man. More often than not, it serves to our benefit to watch him needle others. There are so few coaches that can and will do this, and that's because there are so few coaches with as many enemies as Cal.
Posted on: September 26, 2011 12:58 pm
 

Pitino campaigns again on behalf of Big East



By Matt Norlander


I don't have many issues with Rick Pitino spending his free time blogging, but one of them is certainly his insistence on using the PR-smelling "BIG EAST" capitalization approximately 15 times per post. The other is the outdated use of auto-play music on his site. You remove those two distractions from RickPitino.com, and his message gets even louder and more genuine.

Pitino's a pleasure to read. He's challenging convention and remains to be the outspoken guy he's always been. Some like him, many don't, but he's always going to talk. Why confine it to a microphone or camera during the season? Pitino's got thoughts, lots of them, on conference unrest. His school stands to be one that's considerably vulnerable, should the Big East's football arrangement collapse on itself. There isn't a better coach in place to speak -- and fight -- on behalf of his university than Pitino, who many in and outside of his industry listen to.

Pitino, who first came out and spoke on the issue two weeks ago, put up today a post that's going to cause some more conversation. The man's always been a reliable quote. At least someone his age (59) is willing to embrace the Internet and use it adequately. 

The post, which unintentionally (or was that an intentional shot?) misspells Jamie Dixon's first name as "Jaime," makes good mention of how all non-football and men's basketball sports will struggle in the coming years, as conferences neglect reasonable geographical connotations in favor of money-chasing. And, yep, there's an irony to a coach in Louisville, effectively located in the Midwest, railing against geographical decisions. That lack of awareness extends itself even further when Pitino haphazardly suggests Air Force (located in Colorado Springs, Colo.) join the league in football. 

Doesn't undo the point that volleyball, softball and men's soccer teams will feel a squeeze in areas outside of direct competition. The money's going to be there? Most university athletic departments operate in the red, you know.

In the wake of Dave Gavitt's wake and funeral, Pitino insists the Big East get back to the fundamentals Gavitt built the conference on. (Omitting the nature by which Gavitt did that, for the record. He was a brilliant businessman and is one of the 10 most influential men in the history of college basketball, but there are DNA strands connecting Gavitt's Big East construction in 1979 and what's happened in the past two years in conference realignment.) Foremost, he went after the narrow-minded visions of university presidents. 

"When it comes to athletics, they should defer strongly to their conference commissioner and their athletic director," Pitino writes.

He wants honest discussions with hopeful and willing and eager future members of the conference. Pitino also wants Temple to join the Big East as soon as possible. That notion isn't new, but Pitino's push gives it mainstream attention.

"They have a highly competitive football program with outstanding basketball tradition," Pitino writes. "They are a past BIG EAST member and an excellent school academically. And as all my friends say in Philadelphia, they are located in BIG EAST territory."

That they are, but I'm not too sure Villanova would be all that pleased with having Temple come back aboard, especially when Villanova would love to join the league in football. Overall, I'm glad Pitino's speaking, even if some of this is grandstanding and ultimately he has little-to-no say about what happens in the league. I completely agree with him re: presidents, but that power simply will not be acquiesced. Ever.

The only hope there is that most presidents have a very good relationship with conference commissioners and athletic directors; that movements made or not made will happen for reasons beyond the dough and promise of more. Even when coaches lack power, they still have the opportunity to speak up. More should follow Pitino and Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhoun's lead. They are the faces of the sport, even if the body's controlled by presidents pulling the strings.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: September 23, 2011 2:13 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 2:31 pm
 

Big East leadership questioned by coaches

By Jeff Goodman

Some guys just aren't cut out to be head coaches. They make better assistants.

Big East Commissioner John Marinatto may be one of those guys.

"I firmly believe we would manage this a lot better with a different leader," said one Big East head coach, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "He's a good man, a good right-hand man. But I think he's in over his head."

To be fair, Marinatto was thrust into an unenviable situation, following the late Dave Gavitt and Mike Tranghese as the leaders of the Big East.

Marinatto's resume reads as follows: A Providence kid who graduated from Providence College in 1979, then later went onto become the athletic director at the school for 14 years. He was the associate commissioner of the Big East from 2002-2009, when he took over for Tranghese.

"There's just no way it would have gotten to this point if Dave or Mike were still in charge," another Big East head man said.

One thing is for certain: Gavitt and/or Tranghese wouldn't have had the news of Syracuse and Pittsburgh's departure delivered to him in a football press box on Saturday - as has been reported to be the case with Marinatto.

"I'm not sure how it would have worked out, but it would have," a coach in the league said about the overall situation the league now finds itself.

``I doubt it," answered yet another when posed the question whether this would have occurred under previous leadership.

However, with Syracuse and Pittsburgh departing for the ACC at some point (likely prior to 2014) and UConn begging and pleading to join the exodus, Marinatto has come under fire.

While there are certainly those who are skeptical, Marinatto does still have his share of support.

"I think eventually this would have happened anyway," one coach said. "Everyone wants to put it on Marinatto, but this is a league that's been built on instability."

Now the future of the Big East - and the way it'll be comprised - is in jeopardy. Will it add a couple members to replace what is has lost - and may lose - and move forward? Or will it re-shape itself for improved long-term stability and go the route of the "basketball-only" schools, thus going hard after Xavier and Butler?

We'll see what Marinatto does - and whether his fate mirrors that of outgoing Big 12 commish Dan Beebe, who's at left of Marinatto in the photo above.

Photo: AP
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com