How should Pitino be Remembered?

No job is safe.  We all learned that today when the news came out that Rick Pitino had been fired from Louisville amid allegations of serious recruiting violations.  Yes, Pitino has gotten off before.  He had the extortion case which dealed which personal conduct issues.  And more recently he was involved in the sex-for-pay scandals by bringing strippers in for prospective Louisville basketball players.  The Cardinals however, didn’t see any of this as enough to fire him.  But now, with all eyes on the recent recruiting scandal headlined by Louisville’s basketball program, they were left with no other choice but to let Pitino go.  Right now, it is hard to look at Pitino without him being tainted.  If these allegations are true, it would be not the first, but the second time he has gotten in trouble for not recruiting fairly.  After all, recruiting builds a program, so these are very serious charges.  However, is it fair to view Pitino as a cheater?

In order to tackle that question, we need to look at a lot of things.  First and foremost, the stats.  In 16 years at Louisville, he compiled 416 wins with a .747 winning record, 1 National Championship, and 3 Final Four appearances.  In other words, he is a coaching legend.  On top of this, he is respected in the coaching realm, is seen as a good role model for aspiring coaches, and is extremely involved in charity work.

I don’t think he’ll go down like Joe Paterno did.  I’m not saying what Pitino did was wrong, but it would be inconceivable to think that Louisville is the only program with this going on.  Pitino may be tainted for his life.  None of these allegations will go away.  They’ll haunt him forever.  With that being said, no one will ever deny his ability to coach a basketball team.  He learned from Boeheim, coached a powerhouse in Kentucky, and finally took a struggling program like Louisville, and turned them into a national powerhouse.  On top of all this, Pitino has served as a coaching mentor for the likes of Mick Cronin, Billy Donovan, Andy Enfield, Tubby Smith, Frank Vogel, Kevin Willard, and countless others.  I know that it’ll be hard to remember Pitino without thinking of the shadiness that his program was run with.  However, I’ll never forget the impact he made on college basketball.

AAC Looks to Have Bigger Impact come March

Ryan Poutre, NCAAMReview Author

The upcoming 2017-2018 basketball season for the American Athletic Conference should be an exciting one. The conference is still top heavy but there are at least 5 teams that have a real shot at making the tourney. These are the five teams.

Locks: Wichita State, Cincinnati

Shockers: The addition of Wichita State makes the conference worth watching alone. The Shockers are returning key players Shaq Lawson and Landry Shamet and should be poised for a Final Four run. Wichita State is obviously the clear conference favorite and playing in a more challenging conference than the Missouri Valley should better prepare them for the NCAA Tournament. Let’s just hope they don’t get grossly mis-seeded again.

Bearcats: Along with Wichita State I expect the Cincinnati Bearcats to make it to the big dance but as a lower seed especially without the leadership of Troy Caupain. They will have to ride Jarron Cumberland and Sacred Heart transfer, Cane Broom, to make it to the tournament, but I expect a first or second round exit as always with the Mick Cronin coached Bearcats.

Bubble Teams: UConn, UCF, SMU

Huskies: The Connecticut Huskies will be a team to watch as they should be fighting for a bid this year. Last season was spoiled do to several injuries to key players but this season should be different. Terry Larrier and Alterique Gilbert will be good to go, and Jalen Adams returning makes the Huskies arguably the best backcourt in the American. If they have any chance of making the tournament, they’ll need to find frontcourt production following the losses of Amida Brimah and Steven Enoch. UConn fans can also look forward to watching their new transfer, Kwintin Williams, put on a dunking clinic.  

Knights: The UCF Knights are another intriguing team as they have 7 foot 6 inch center Tacko Fall who not only has the best name in college basketball, but could have one of the biggest impacts. The Knights made some noise in the NIT last season and that experience should help them make it to the Big Dance.

Mustangs:  The last team to watch out for is the SMU Mustangs. Sure they lost Sterling Brown and Semi Ojeleye but year in and year out they find ways to win games and I expect that trend to continue.  Size may be a bit of an issue, but guards are plentiful for the Mustangs, and only time will tell.