No team in sports aside from the Miami Heat has more pressure on them to win a championship than Louisville.
That raises the stakes for this weekend's Final Four, which is otherwise a celebration of Wichita State's Cinderella status, Michigan's revival and Syracuse's once-a-decade trip. That is the lead of today's Morning Win column for USA TODAY Sports, if you would be good enough to give it a read.
Meanwhile, not in the column because it just happened, but Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti has been fired. If you've been reading the column this week, you know I have been calling for his job since the first minute -- Rice should have been fired for what he did, but Pernetti was the one who showed even worse judgment, which is saying something. Rice is unbalanced; Pernetti is pernicious.
The ultimate question is whether Rutgers president Robert Barchi will lose his job over this. He should.
There are open questions around "What did he know and when did he know it?" but the reality is that he is damned both ways:
If he knew the details in December and didn't overrule Pernetti and demand Rice's resignation, he committed a grievous failure of leadership that disqualifies him to run the school.
If he didn't know the details, it would indicate he didn't WANT to know the details surrounding one of his most high-profile employees being suspended under highly sketchy circumstances -- that too is such a grievous failure of leadership that it disqualifies Barchi from running the school.
Either way, he is disqualified from running Rutgers, which is why so many professors around the university -- appropriately appalled -- have protested that Barchi lose his job, too.
It's a Friday. This story has dominated the week but will lose steam over the weekend as our attention goes to the Final Four, then whatever is next. Barchi might be able to ride this out -- it depends on the level of leadership shown by the board of trustees at Rutgers. Will they lead where Barchi, Pernetti and Rice did not?
Anyway, that was a heavy story this week. It will be fun to get back to basketball this weekend, on both the men's and women's side. The NBA regular season is wrapping up and the whole situation with the Lakers is fascinating. The MLB season is off to a fantastic start, too.
And my Wizards are celebrating the 1978 world championship -- yes, the franchise was once NBA champs -- on Saturday night, and I will be there to try to get a sense of what it is like to root for an NBA championship team. It should be a lot of fun.
Enjoy your weekend.