Louisville pulled out the national championship Monday night in a year of college ball that was more than intriguing. With no outright power, it came down to the No. 1 overall seed winning. Of course, it wasn't as if the Cardinals were completely expected to win it all.
The number of very good teams in the tournament went perhaps 10 deep, but it was never a guarantee Rick Pitino's team could enforce that hectic style against the Michigans of the world. They had just enough experience (Peyton Siva) and support ( Luke Hancock) to confirm the selection committee's choice.
So now it's to next season. On the Arizona Wildcats' end, there's a lot of stability but a lot of loss as well. Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons leave a heavy bit of scoring on the table for others to pick up. Leadership is an issue as well. The Wildcats have the talent to fill in the gaps, but the issue will always be who takes the opportunity and runs with it.
Nick Johnson is the obvious choice here. The sophomore often took a backseat on this past year's team despite appearing to have the ability to do more. And that's fine considering Johnson wasn't going to step on the toes of Hill, Lyons and Kevin Parrom.
Here comes his chance.
If there were any pressure to be had this soon after the 2012-3 season ended, look no further than the preseason rankings that popped out after the national championship game came to an end.
- CBS Sports gives Arizona a No. 4 preseason ranking with Kentucky, Michigan State and Louisville being ranked ahead of the Wildcats, in that order.
- Jason King of ESPN has a similar top-four, though he has the Cardinals ranked No. 2 and the Spartans No. 3. Can the improvement of Johnson and the big men, plus the addition of T.J. McConnell as a true point guard be enough to push Arizona over the top?
- USA Today's Scott Gleeson has the Wildcats No. 7. He has the usual players in front of UA but also has Duke, North Carolina and Florida ahead of the Wildcats.
Whitford takes Ball State coaching job
Arizona lead assistant James Whitford took a head-coaching opportunity at Ball State early this past weekend, leaving a large hole in the coaching staff. Of course, Miller's coaching tree will continue to grow and shifts in the UA staff will continue until the Wildcats stop succeeding.