Pitino Has The Edge Over Calipari

And then there were 4.  And not the most surprising 4.  A number 1, 2 2s and a 4.  We’ve got a nifty city state match up in Louisville(4) Kentucky(1) with a compelling coaching subplot between Calipari and Pitino.

Calipari and Pitino coached teams have meet 15 times over the years.  With UMASS, Memphis and Kentucky, Calipari’s record is 7-8 versus Pitino’s Kentucky and Louisville teams.  Coach Cal is 7-4 in regular season games against Pitino, however, he’s 0-4 in post season games.  As the coach of Memphis, Calipari lost to Pitino’s Louisville teams in the Conference USA tournament twice.  And in NCAA play as the coach of UMASS, Coach Cal lost to Pitino coached Kentucky teams in 1992 in the Sweet 16 and in the 1996 Final Four Semifinal game. Their meeting Saturday will be a rematch. Clearly, Calipari has an ax to grind and something to prove.

Can Calipari avenge his post season loses to Pitino? Possibly, but it’s not a slam dunk.  The X factor in my mind will be the mascots – Wildcat and Cardinal.  Normally, a cat gets the better of the bird, but a cardinal is not just any bird.  Related to the jay bird and a member of the crow family, cardinals are mean, menacing birds.  They are loud, relentless and among the most intelligent birds on the planet – ok, I just made that up, but they might be.   I do know this: wildcats do not like to be harassed, they don’t, and will quickly become frustrated, distracted and fatigued by a swooping, heckling bird.  Advantage goes to the Cardinals and the master coach, who like the cardinal, seems to have a knack for getting into his rival’s head in games that count.

Strange but Fun Sweet 16 March Madness Facts

Here are the seedings of the teams that made it to the Sweet 16:

#1 – 4

#2 – 2

#3 – 2

#4 – 3

#6 – 1

#7 – 1

#10 – 1

#11 – 1

#13 – 1

There are 7 states left: Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Kansas, and 3 cities: Cincinnati, Syracuse and Louisville.

There could be a Final Four matching city and state:  Cincinnati, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky.

The lowest seed totals of teams facing off in the Sweet 16 is 13.  Baylor (3) v. Xavier (10) and NC State (11) v. Kansas (2)

There will be a city-state match up in the East: Cincinnati v. Ohio State.

Of the 7 schools named after their state, 3 share borders: Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana.

There are three birds left in the tournament: Louisville Cardinals, Kansas Jayhawks and the Marquette Golden Eagles.

A fruit, Syracuse Orange, and a nut, Ohio State Buckeyes, remain.

All teams with dogs for mascots are out of the tournament. Two cats remain: Kentucky Wildcats and Ohio Bobcats.  By the way, a Cincinnati Bearcat is neither a dog nor a cat.

Happy Sweet 16!


Sweet 16 Reseeded – Duke favored

Now that the grueling second round NCAA tournament games are over and we have a Sweet 16, I thought it would be interesting to reseed the teams based on measures other than basketball talent.  So I picked up the 2007 edition of the The Princeton Review of The Best 361 Colleges and ranked the teams based on academic reputation, selectivity and diversity.  To my surprise, Duke scored highest in all three categories.  I also wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Duke had the largest endowment of any of the teams left in the tournament.   Louisville, Memphis and Missouri were not listed in the guide, perhaps undeservedly so, and are seeded 14, 15 and 16 respectively, in alphabetical order.

Based on the new seedings, assuming the highest seed always wins, Duke, North  Carolina, Arizona and Connecticut will make the Final Four.  Duke will defeat UCONN to become the national champion.

Here are the Sweet 16 reseedings:

  1. Duke
  2. Villanova
  3. North Carolina
  4. Syracuse
  5. Gonzaga
  6. Connecticut
  7. Pittsburg
  8. Arizona
  9. Xavier
  10. Kansas
  11. Oklahoma
  12. Michigan State
  13. Purdue
  14. Louisville
  15. Memphis
  16. Missouri