Cardinals Rule: Louisville the Pick in NCAAsPosted: March 18, 2009
It says here, sometime around midnight on Monday night, April 6, Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals will be celebrating a win over the Oklahoma Sooners and cutting down the nets in the Motor City.
Pitino is due to join a select group of coaches whose teams have won at least two NCAA championships. And if Louisville wins, as forecast, he’ll become the first coach to win championships with two different schools.
Pitino coached the 1996 Kentucky team that beat Syracuse to win the National title. He also led Providence to the Final Four in 1987.
UCLA’s legendary coach John Wooden is far and away the all-time leader with 10 championships (all between 1964 and 1975). The Baron, Adolph Rupp, won four titles with Kentucky. and Indiana’s Bob Knight and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski took three apiece.
Pitino would join a group of eight coaches with two championships, including Louisville’s Denny Crum, Florida’s Billy Donovan and UConn’s Jim Calhoun.
Multiple Championship Coaches
Coach School Championships
John Wooden UCLA 10
Adolph Rupp Kentucky 4
Bob Knight Indiana 3
Mike Krzyzewski Duke 3
Dean Smith North Carolina 2
Billy Donovan Florida 2
Denny Crum Louisville 2
Ed Jucker Cincinnati 2
Hery Iba Oklahoma State 2
Jim Calhoun UConn 2
Phil Woolpert San Francisco 2
Branch McCracken Indiana 2
The Cardinals will win because they have the most athletic team in this year’s tournament. They’re deep, and they play 40 minutes of relentless defense.
Louisville won both the regular season and post-season tournaments in the Big East, generally regarded as college basketball’s toughest conference in years.
In addition to Louisville, the SportsLifer Final Four features top-seeded Pitt and second seeds Memphis and Oklahoma.
NCAA tournament pools are often decided in the early rounds, especially in pools where points are awarded for picking lower seeds..
Some sleepers to watch in the early rounds:
— 13th seed Mississippi State will beat both Washington and Purdue
— Western Kentucky will beat Illinois in the annual 12-5 stunner
— 11th seeds VCU and Utah State will eliminate UCLA and Marquette respectively
— 10th seeds Maryland, USC and Minnesota will all advance to the next round
Remember, when it all comes true, you read it here first.