Indiana-Louisville-Kentucky triangle rules
by Mike Lopresti, USA TODAY Sports
Rick Pitino still remembers the first time he was told about weddings and funerals in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Never, ever have them on the day the Wildcats are playing.
The first two years, I thought people were putting me on,” Pitino said of his early days as Kentucky’s coach in the 1990s. “Finally, I realized they weren’t putting me on. It really is that important.”
Now Pitino coaches Louisville, where 1,400 fans showed up the other day just to hear him talk basketball at lunch.
He can look north across the Ohio River to Indiana, where there are 33 high school gyms that seat at least 5,000 people.
He can look east toward Lexington, where all the tickets for Kentucky’s first open practice – Big Blue Madness — were gone in 35 minutes, with 600 tents of people camping out to be first in line.
Indiana. Louisville. Kentucky. They go 1-2-3 in the first USA Today coaches’ poll, like neighbors in mansions on the same swanky street. All, of course, with basketball goals in their driveways.
“I thought I understood it before I ever moved here,” Indiana coach Tom Crean
said. “It took about three days for me to realize I didn’t have any gauge on
it. You can get it in bits and pieces watching it on TV, but until you really
get in here and spend a little time, you don’t realize just how deep the passion is.
It would be like what Alabama football fans would feel.”
Crean’s No. 1 Hoosiers return the top five scorers from a Sweet 16 team, led by Cody Zeller, one of the leading candidates for national player for the year. No. 2
Louisville brings back most of a Final Four lineup, led by point guard Peyton
Siva. No. 3 Kentucky, which said goodbye to the first two picks in the 2012 NBA
draft and three other first- or second-rounders, depends on a new wave of freshman blue chippers, pausing on the road to the NBA to sign with John Calipari, who knows how to thrive with them.
To take the scenic route from Indiana University to the University of Louisville, you go 100 miles … [For more on Indiana-Louisville-Kentucky triangle rules college hoops, click here.]