Last week I joked that the Final Four was coming to Omaha.
On Monday, the Final Four came to Omaha.
Rick Pitino, Louisville's national championship basketball coach, arrived at TD Ameritrade Park to watch the Cards take on Oregon State.
Pitino has been on quite the roll this year, but he couldn't bring any karma to U of L, which was sent home, 11-4.
Meanwhile, Pitino watched from a suite. Time stopped at the club level sports bar as everyone gawked to see the Hall of Famer walk briskly by to his suite.
“It's my first time at the world series, but not in Omaha,” Pitino said. “I've spoken at Boys Town and been to some corporate outings. This is awesome. Beautiful park.”
Asked if this reminded him of the Kentucky Derby, Pitino said, “It reminds me of the Final Four. At the Derby, the people who go don't remember what happened after it's over.”
In other words, they don't serve mint juleps or Kentucky's finest at the CWS.
>> Pitino on Louisville freshman Akoy Agau of Omaha Central: “He's back in Louisville. He's fighting the good fight. He needs to get in basketball shape. His conditioning needs a lot of work, body fat, strength.”
Asked if Agau would redshirt this year, Pitino said, “No, he won't redshirt. We think a lot of him. His skill level is very good. Once we get him into shape, he'll be a very good player for us.”
>> This is a basketball CWS. Indiana coach Tom Crean was here Saturday night, went back to Bloomington, Ind., for a camp and then returned Monday night. He was sending out CWS photos on Twitter.
North Carolina's Roy Williams (a CWS regular), Mark Gottfried of N.C. State and Craig Robinson of Oregon State have also made appearances.
In the past, we've gotten the football coaches — Les Miles, Bob Stoops, Mark Richt and Steve Spurrier. Two years ago, Spurrier was asked by a fan to sign a baseball.
“Baseball?” Spurrier said. “You want me to sign a baseball?”
Yes, please. Sign it, Old Ball Coach at the Old Ball Yard.
>> Will UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford show up? Or is this too close to Iowa?
>> You want to grade the Husker football recruiting weekend? Knock yourself out. It's June. Before their senior seasons.
At least they're juniors. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops recently offered a scholarship to a 13-year-old kid. The high schools haven't even recruited him yet.
I think the important takeaway from the Big Red recruiting weekend is that Bo Pelini and Co. have a plan and are executing it. They're scouting and targeting recruits in the spring and are able to get the kids on campus in June.
I'm never worried about stars. Yes, speed and size are always important. But if Pelini and Co. like the players and have a system in place to develop them and win games, that's what matters most.
>> The best souvenir I've seen at the CWS? The candy-striped Indiana basketball warm-up pants. Sweet.
>> Oregon State extended its lead from 3-0 to 5-0 on a close play at first that was called safe. Replays showed it should have been an out.
What do you think, should each coach get one “challenge” to use during a game in a situation like that at the CWS?
Or have I been watching too much football?
>> Fabulous U.S. Open. Old-school good. Got me stoked for the U.S. Senior Open. Is Phil Mickelson 50 yet?
>> So how did the NHL luck out and get this Stanley Cup finals?
>> Still no word yet on Grant Gibbs' bid for a sixth year of eligibility. By the time he finds out, Gibbs might need a seventh year.
>> Wil Myers is a Tampa Bay Ray and that will be a good spectator sport for some Royals fans. But if Myers were still in the K.C. system, the Royals wouldn't have improved their pitching. And Myers wouldn't be the difference in them winning a division. But spectate on, Royals fans.
>> Speaking of Royals and prospects, Bubba Starling is hitting .213 with 71 strikeouts in Class A ball, according to our Sam McKewon in his latest “Big, Fat recruiting update”. He's also recently had lasik surgery.
Where would Starling fit in Nebraska's quarterback room today? Would he still fit in Tim Beck's offense, which is evolving more toward the pass?
>> One more and I'm outta here: I thought about trying the “Midwestern Monster” at the CWS, a double burger with pulled pork in the middle, along with a cheese spread and fried onions. But I didn't have a note from my doctor.
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