CrumsRevenge Sits Down With Jerry Jones

CrumsRevenge sits down with Former Louisville Assistant Basketball coach Jerry Jones in a walk down memory lane and a discussion on the current state of college basketball. The one-on-one discussion talks about former Louisville Cardinal teams, former great players, tales of Worldwide Wes, how rule changes could help the game, strategy, and how development is different now.

Listen to CrumsRevenge and Coach Jones HERE. 




Nascar: Bryan Vickers Is Riding With The National Champs


ATLANTA – When NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers climbs in the No. 55 Toyota at Kentucky Speedway on June 29 he and his Aaron’s Dream Machine will sport University of Louisville colors and a paint scheme honoring the school’s 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship team.

The Cardinal Bird mascot on the hood and Vickers’ red, black and white fire suit will pay tribute to the school whose campus is about 60 miles from the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky.

“This will certainly help my popularity with local fans that weekend,” laughed Vickers, who will drive Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55 in the nationally televised NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

“I’m a big fan of sports in general so to have the national champions on board is a huge honor. They are winners and it’s always cool to surround yourself with success. Our goal is to make them proud.”

“We’re thrilled Aaron’s and Brian Vickers have chosen to run the Louisville colors during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Kentucky Speedway,” said Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino. “I know how many Louisville basketball fans are NASCAR fans, and like them I’m looking forward to seeing the car on the track. I think one of those die cast cars might eventually make it to my office. I’ve seen the paint scheme and it’s really sharp.”

U of L supporters and alumni can support Vickers in his second Sprint Cup start at the speedway by taking advantage of a special Cardinal Takeover ticket package that includes admission to a hospitality tent with food and complimentary beverages, a Fan Zone pass that provides race-day admission to the infield for pit road access and a trackside view of a prerace concert with Billy Currington.

The first 200 fans to attend the Cardinal Takeover also will receive a collectible red miniature Louisville Slugger bat with the race logo emblazoned in gold. Cardinal Takeover packages can be purchased at

“Like everyone, we were thrilled with the Cardinals national championship run. This car pays tribute to their excellence and brings attention to the whole Cardinal Nation, which has enjoyed an incredible sports year. The way things have gone, I would not be surprised to see the Cardinals car in Victory Lane,” said Kentucky Speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger said.

Louisville Gets Their NCAA Championship Rings

This image comes from Luke Hancock’s Instagram account.  The NCAA produces rings for all of their champions, and each school can create a custom ring for their student-athletes but NCAA rules mandate that a ring may not exceed a value of $415.  If I’m UofL, I’m giving these rings out for now and when all of the players have exhausted their eligibility I’m making something championship worthy.

NCAA Rule (if you want to read the actual rule) 


Rick Pitino Maker's Mark Bottle, Picture by Mark Blankenbaker
Commermorative Pitino Bottles to Aid Academic Center

From UofL SID

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Commemorative bottles of a premium brand featuring University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino will go on sale late this week to aid in fundraising efforts for a new academic center on the Cardinals’ campus.

Special commemorative bottles of Maker’s Mark®, a handmade bourbon produced in Loretto, Ky., feature a unique bottle design depicting Pitino’s image, his upcoming induction to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and UofL’s 2013 men’s basketball national championship.

Proceeds from the sales of the 12,600 bottles, which will be on retail store shelves on Friday, June 7, will go toward the UofL Academic Center of Excellence, an $8 million, state-of-the-art facility that will be built on the Cardinals’ campus.

“We want to congratulate Coach Pitino on his selection to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame and UofL for winning the national championship all in the same weekend,” said Maker’s Mark Chief Operating Officer Rob Samuels. “And we want to thank Coach Pitino, as well, for his partnership on this year’s commemorative bottle, which will create both awareness and dollars for the Academic Center of Excellence.”

Rick Pitino Maker’s Mark Bottle, Picture by Mark Blankenbaker

“The Academic Center of Excellence addresses a critical need for our department and what we need for our student-athletes to be successful academically,” said Vice-President/Director of Athletics Tom Jurich.  “We sincerely appreciate the support of Maker’s Mark and specifically Rob Samuels for this project.”

The Academic Center of Excellence will be located beneath the Norton Terrace at the South end of the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The center will house the academic operations for the entire athletic department and all student-athletes and academic staff will be located in one building. The center will feature tutorial areas, laboratories, office areas and classroom space.  Fundraising is in the early stages for the facility.

Maker’s Mark began producing UofL commemorative bottles last year to support the center, part of a three-year commitment of $500,000 by Maker’s Mark.  Louisville head football coach Charlie Strong was featured on 8,400 bottles that were sold last July.

Pitino and Samuels will autograph bottles at a special ticketed event later this month.  Tickets for the autograph signing which will go on sale for $1 each online at (or follow the links through beginning at 10 a.m. on June 10.  Each ticket allows the bearer to have one bottle signed.  Bottles must be purchased at a retail outlet prior to the signing; there will be no bottles for sale at the signing.  Only the 2013 commemorative bottles will be signed.

The bottle-signing will be on Thursday, June 13, at 5 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center.  Previously purchased tickets will be available to be picked up at the KFC Yum! Center main front lobby beginning at 4 p.m. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

Maker’s Mark® is a registered trademark of Maker’s Mark Distillery, Inc.

Anatomy of a Championship: A Before & After Evaluation

The University of Louisville Cardinals are the reigning National Champions until (at least) next April when the NCAA crowns a new champion at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.  The Cards will be a preseason Top 5 team and will have expectations to return to the Final Four for a 3rd consecutive season.  The Kentucky Wildcats will also have expectations to go to Dallas after bowing out of the 1st round of the NIT a year AFTER winning the National Championship in New Orleans capping off the 2012 season.  EITHER team winning the 2014 National Championship would buck recent trends.




After the Cards & Cats have kept the National Championship in the state for 2 years running, we searched for trends that existed in past champions. The research took quite a while to gather and is sorted BEFORE & AFTER a program’s championship season, what the team record was, how their post-season ended, % minutes, points, and rebounds returning, number of players departed, how many drafted in the NBA, and incoming McDonald’s All-Americans.


The data below shows there really isn’t an exact way to win a championship based on last year’s numbers.  However, it does reveal some interesting trends. First, UConn’s 2011 season is a consistent oddity throughout this process as you will see.

-Average of 27.91 wins per champion from a year before the title is pretty significant.  UConn’s 2009-10 season was a dismal 18-16, and the Huskies lost 7 players and had ZERO McDonald’s All-American’s incoming.  Connecticut is definitely the outlier and the only program to win a championship without having 20 wins a season before. The next lowest returning win total was Arkansas who prior to their championship in 1994 went 22-9 and went to the Sweet 16.

-The Previous Season Final Ranking is interesting, since 1991 ONLY TWO PROGRAMS HAVE WON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WITHOUT BEING RANKED IN THE FINAL AP POLL FROM THE YEAR BEFORE THEIR CHAMPIONSHIP.  The first team was of course, 2003 Syracuse who rode to the crown on the hot hand of superstar Carmelo Anthony. And the second team being 2011 UConn who also rode the hot hand of Kemba Walker.  Both of these teams also came out of the NIT to win the title.

-The next column tells how each season finished a year before for the National Champ. Again, recent history highlights UConn as the exception here, with every Title holder advancing at least to the Sweet 16 a year prior to winning it all. A “Rough Numerical Estimate” to quantify that ending was then established.  Teams that exited in the Round of 16 were given a value of 16, despite possibly being better than the other 7 teams that exited in the same round.  Since 1991 the average champion had a value of 18.52, which basically means that to have a statistically good shot at winning the championship a team needs to make the Sweet 16 a year before.

In fact, removing both of the back to back champions and also removing the two programs who won the title out of the NIT, the “Rough Numerical Value” moves from 18.52 to 15.29. Still it CAN happen, the odds just aren’t in those programs’ favor.

-The next 3 columns were thought to carry more weight but the numbers from year to year were just too bullish to really get any kind of handle on.  Returning Minutes, Points, and Rebounds from the previous season ranged from a low of the 1997 Arizona Title Team (from the 1995-96 to the 1996-97 season) across all categories to a high of the 2005 North Carolina team.  Again UConn 2011 found itself on the lower end of this measure, as did Syracuse 2003 both of which came out of the NIT a year prior to win a title……the only two programs to do so since 1991.

But the average returning Minutes, Points, and Rebounds ranged from about 68%-72% for all champions, but it varied too widely to place any sort of standard for champions.  Same goes for Number of Players Departed, the range was just too wide to place any sort of significance to the metric.

-# of Players Drafted a Year Prior to a Team’s Title run DID ring true.  23 Championship teams, almost all of them are traditional basketball powers….and yet a year prior to their title run teams put an average of 0.65 players into the NBA Draft.  In fact 12 of 23 teams had ZERO draftable players prior to winning it all, and only 4 teams had more than 1 player drafted a year prior to a championship.

-Incoming McDonald’s All-Americans was also another interesting metric.  Of the 23 Championship teams 8 had ZERO incoming McDonald’s All-Americans (34.78%), 10 teams had ONE incoming MCDAA (43.4%), and just 5 had 1+ (21.74%). It is a small sample, and there are always top recruits that just miss the McDonald’s All-American cut that can come in and make a difference right away, but I did think it was significant that 78.26% of all champions since 1991 had ONE or FEWER incoming McDonald’s All-Americans.

School Prev Season Record Prev Final Rank Prev Season Result % Minutes Returning % Points Returning % Rebounding Returning # of players gone # of players to NBA Draft McD’s AA incoming
2013 Louisville 30-10 17 Final Four 4 58.77% 59.66% 69.39% 7 0 0
2012 Kentucky 29-9 11 Final Four 4 51.58% 55.08% 54.72% 4 3 4
2011 UCONN 18-16 12 NIT 2nd Round 84 43.62% 36.09% 46.04% 7 1 0
2010 Duke 30-7 8 Sweet 16 16 60.38% 64.11% 67.06% 5 1 2
2009 North Carolina 36-3 1 Final Four 4 84.93% 91.55% 86.25% 4 0 3
2008 Kansas 33-5 2 Elite 8 8 85.17% 83.55% 79.43% 2 1 1
2007 Florida 33-6 11 NCAA Champions 1 90.29% 93.15% 89.73% 2 0 0
2006 Florida 24-8 16 NCAA 2nd Round 32 55.58% 39.91% 59.95% 5 1 0
2005 North Carolina 25-11 18 NCAA 2nd Round 32 97.01% 98.54% 97.90% 4 0 1
2004 UCONN 23-10 23 Sweet 16 16 79.15% 82.57% 81.99% 6 0 1
2003 Syracuse 23-12 NR NIT Final Four 68 46.66% 41.30% 62.72% 6 0 1
2002 Maryland 25-11 11 Final Four 4 71.05% 74.99% 64.99% 4 1 0
2001 Duke 29-5 1 Sweet 16 16 82.50% 80.75% 84.20% 1 1 1
2000 Michigan State 33-5 2 Final Four 4 50.42% 56.02% 50.61% 6 0 1
1999 UCONN 32-5 6 Elite 8 8 91.68% 92.87% 91.97% 2 0 0
1998 Kentucky 35-5 5 National Runner-Up 2 64.47% 57.35% 73.71% 4 2 0
1997 Arizona 27-6 11 Sweet 16 16 36.33% 36.58% 34.80% 6 3 2
1996 Kentucky 28-5 2 Elite 8 8 77.55% 76.80% 80.57% 3 0 2
1995 UCLA 23-8 17 NCAA 1st Round 64 79.35% 79.85% 80.71% 4 0 0
1994 Arkansas 22-9 12 Sweet 16 16 69.27% 68.76% 74.65% 3 0 1
1993 North Carolina 23-10 18 Sweet 16 16 82.44% 73.95% 92.64% 3 1 1
1992 Duke 32-7 6 National Champions 1 74.00% 75.77% 80.20% 4 0 1
1991 Duke 29-9 15 National Runner-Up 2 61.35% 51.59% 60.99% 4 2 1

27.91 Average Wins

18.52 69.28% 68.30% 72.40% 4 0.65 0.96


After coming up with data BEFORE a Championship run, I thought it would be prudent to get data for the same set on what happened AFTER a team’s championship run.  Of course we know that the 2012 Champions missed the NCAA Tournament, which isn’t unprecedented at all.  The 1986-87 Louisville Cardinals allowed their season to end after the ’87 Metro Tournament after being left out of the NCAA Field following an 18-14 season.

In fact, following up a Championship is REALLY hard.  Not only have only 2 programs since 1991 been able to repeat as champions, since 2001 only ONE program (Florida 2006, repeated as champions) has been able to return to the Final Four a year after winning it all.  However, from 1991 to 2000 (10 year period) 4 of 10 Champions Returned to the Final Four & 6 of 10 went at least to the Elite 8.  Why?  I don’t think it is a coincidence that Kenyon Martin was the last College Senior to be drafted #1 at the 2000 NBA Draft.   The one exception that was Florida 2006 had several players return to college despite 1st Round Projections, which is categorically atypical from college basketball since the 2000 Draft.

So what trends have their been since 1991 that would suggest a team have a successful season a year after winning a National Title.  First of all, I defined success as at least a Regional Final (Elite 8).  With single-elimination in the NCAA Tournament, winning a national championship can’t be the ultimate measure (the Chicago Bulls beat the Miami Heat in Game 1, which in the NCAA Tournament would have eliminated the Heat.  Miami won the series 4-1).  I then collected the record for each team, % Minutes, Points, & Rebounds Returning, Number of Players Lost from the title team, Number of Players Drafted, and Number of incoming McDonald’s All-Americans.

-The First Columns that really matters here is the Next Year Result & Next Season record following a Championship season.  I think it is important to note that since the 2007 Florida Gators, no defending champion has advanced past the Sweet 16.  The 2007 Florida Gators are the exception as a defending champion returning over 90% of their production (will discuss later), but a quick look at the change in college basketball is clear on the chart.  Since Michigan State won the 2000 Championship and returned to the 2001 NCAA Final Four just one team has advanced past the Sweet 16 after winning the national championship, but before the Spartans were able to pull that off it was actually really common for defending champions to make Final Fours and have successful seasons. From the 1992 Tournament to the 2001 Tournament (10 seasons) FOUR Defending Champions reached the Final Four, and SIX Reached at least a Regional Final. 

Since 1991 the follow-up to a championship season average “Rough Numerical Value” is 28.64 (Somewhere between the Round of 32 & the Sweet 16), with a bias towards the Round of 32.  But again there is a distinct change in time periods.  That value from 2013 to 2002 is 37.08, which is actually between the 1st & 2nd Rounds of the NCAA Tournament.  While the value from 1992-2001 is 18.5……a DRASTIC difference!!!

-The same sort of phenomenon also exists in the Next Year Record & Final Ranking.  Defending Champions have won an average of 26.68 games, but breaking out the same time periods as above and it’s clear of the changing landscape of college basketball .  From 2013 to 2002 defending champions have won an average of 25 games, while from 2001 to 1992 defending champs won an average of 28.7 games. Since Florida won the 2007 Championship just 2 of 6 (33%) defending champions have managed to appear in the Final AP Basketball Poll, while from 1991 to 2006, 100% (16 of 16) defending champions appeared in the Final Ranking. 

-Returning % of Minutes, Points & Rebounds I did find interesting.  Firstly, the 1997 Arizona Team returned the highest percentage and finished the regular season #4 in the nation and earned a #1 seed in the West Region before falling in the Regional Final to the National Runner-Up in Utah in 1998.  It wasn’t a national championship, but the season would certainly be considered successful.  On the flip side, the University of Kentucky’s 2012 title team returned the fewest % across the three categories and also had the worst result of a follow-up championship season.

To keep the example going, the next highest returning % team to 1997 Arizona was the 2006 Florida team who was able to repeat as National Champions in 2007.  Since 1992 only 3 programs have won the National Championship and finished the next season in the NIT, and none of the 3 brought a higher average production percentage back than 34.84%.  However, two programs have managed to bring back less than 35% production  from their title run (2005 North Carolina & 2008 Kansas) but neither team was able to advance past the Sweet 16.

-Of the champions sampled, the average championship team lost an average of 5.55 players. The lowest number of players departed was 2 (twice) in 1997 Arizona and 2006 Florida.  Arizona finished the season #4 in the country and was bounced in the Elite 8. Florida repeated as National Champions.  The Louisville Cardinals also are currently scheduled to lose just two off their roster.

-The NBA Draft Results are also very interesting as well.  If you recall what happened BEFORE a Title teams had an average of just 0.65 players drafted, but AFTER teams have an average of 2.09 players taken by the NBA in their draft.  2012 Kentucky has the high mark here with 6 players taken, 2007 Florida and 2008 Kansas were able to produce 5 draftable players each off of their championship teams.  I did find it interesting that just 5 teams since 1991 have had ZERO players taken by the NBA and of those 2 repeated as Champions and one was the National Runner-Up.

-Incoming McDonald’s All-Americans didn’t change much BEFORE or AFTER a title but there was a slight bump of 0.96 to 1.14.  But the inclusion of MCDAA’s were not a DEFINITE help to champions defending their title.  For example, three teams have added  multiple MCDAAs after winning a National Championship since 2006 and all three of those teams ended up in the NIT.

School Championship Record Next Year Result Next year Record Next Year Final Rank % Minutes Returning % Points Returning % Rebounding Returning # of players gone # of players to NBA Draft McD’s AA incoming for next season
2013 Louisville 35-5 ? - ? ? 72.02% 75.69% 72.54%
2 ? 0
2012 Kentucky 38-2 NIT 1st Round 100 21-12 NR 9.56% 7.63% 9.83% 9.01% 6 6 2
2011 UCONN 32-9 NCAA 1st Round 64 20-14 NR 61.84% 53.42% 69.99% 61.75% 4 1 0
2010 Duke 35-5 NCAA Sweet 16 16 32-5 3 57.89% 66.90% 55.68% 60.16% 6 0 1
2009 North Carolina 34-4 NIT Runner-Up 67 20-17 NR 33.09% 25.23% 46.21% 34.84% 9 4 4
2008 Kansas 37-3 NCAA Sweet 16 16 27-8 14 15.47% 15.18% 25.99% 18.88%  9 5 0
2007 Florida 35-5 NIT Final Four 69 24-12 NR 19.00% 15.91% 22.07% 18.99% 9 5 2
2006 Florida 33-6 National Champion 1 35-5 3 90.29% 93.15% 94.65% 92.70% 2 0 0
2005 North Carolina 33-4 NCAA 2nd Round 32 23-8 10 15.85% 8.97% 18.81% 14.54% 12 4 3
2004 UCONN 33-6 NCAA 2nd Round 32 23-8 13 49.44% 46.77% 49.56% 48.59% 5 2 1
2003 Syracuse 30-5 NCAA Sweet 16 16 23-8 20 67.76% 58.06% 66.01% 63.94% 5 1 0
2002 Maryland 32-4 NCAA Sweet 16 16 21-10 17 43.10% 31.34% 39.76% 38.07% 4 3 1
2001 Duke 35-4 NCAA Sweet 16 16 31-4 1 61.96% 60.57% 61.06% 61.20% 8 1 1
2000 Michigan State 32-7 NCAA Final Four 4 28-5 3 60.38% 53.27% 65.56% 59.74% 4 2 2
1999 UCONN 34-2 NCAA 2nd Round 32 25-10 20 60.78% 58.40% 70.02% 63.07% 6 1 0
1998 Kentucky 35-4 NCAA Elite 8 8 28-9 8 58.63% 52.10% 59.41% 56.71% 4 1 1
1997 Arizona 25-9 NCAA Elite 8 8 30-5 4 97.48% 97.72% 97.31% 97.50% 2 0 0
1996 Kentucky 34-2 NCAA Runner-Up 2 35-5 5 46.44% 39.70% 36.85% 41.00% 6 4 0
1995 UCLA 32-1 NCAA 1st Round 64 23-8 14 55.86% 48.49% 56.04% 53.46% 4 3 1
1994 Arkansas 31-3 NCAA Runner-Up 2 32-7 6 88.20% 91.50% 91.61% 90.44% 3 0 1
1993 North Carolina 34-4 NCAA 2nd Round 32 28-7 1 57.81% 63.26% 56.25% 59.11% 6 1 3
1992 Duke 34-2 NCAA 2nd Round 32 24-8 10 53.60% 49.83% 58.50% 53.98% 4 2 1
1991 Duke 32-7 National Champion 1 34-2 1 74.00% 75.77% 80.20% 76.66% 4 0 1
28.64 26.68 Wins 53.57% 50.60% 55.97% 53.38% 5.55 2.09 1.14


Winning a championship is TOUGH.  I think the data explored showed that programs really need SOME momentum heading into a potential championship season.  Of course, exceptions are all over the place but bucking the trend requires exceptional circumstance.  Repeating as national champions may be the toughest task in all of basketball these days.  With the NBA snatching top talent from championship teams, the data showed clearly that the change at the professional level has created an even tougher landscape in college basketball to remain at the top.

I attempted to highlight the standout features of all of the information gathered.  The Louisville & Kentucky rivalry has probably not been this intense in well over a decade and with the two programs being the most recent NCAA Champions with teams that most consider Top 5 teams for 2013-14 we are probably in for a wild ride.  But bucking the trends aren’t going to be easy for EITHER team to find their way to the Final Four at  Dallas’ Cowboys Stadium, but hopefully the data presented will help folks understand why it didn’t happen….OR help to appreciate the acheivement even more if Louisville, Kentucky, or Both find their way to college basketball’s grandest stage.

How were the columns created:

-Records: Won/Loss Records before or after a championship season.
-Final Rankings: Taken From Associated Press Final Polls
-Season Results: How a season ended. Numerical Value Presented is based on number of teams in a round. In the case of NIT, the number of teams in a round plus the number of teams in the NCAA Tournament.
-% of Production Returning: taken from players that left the program following a season. If I player scored 200 points and the team scored 1000 points in a season that player represents a 20% decrease, the sum of which was added up for all 3 sections and all 3 players.
-# of players gone: If they logged stats they were counted. If they were on roster and did not play a single minute, score, or grab a rebound those players were not counted.
-# Players Drafted: Players that were drafted in any round of the applicable NBA Draft.
-# of McDonald’s All-American’s Incoming: Taken from historical rosters

Why Did The Data Begin At 1991?  1991 was chosen because it was the first time a national champion has repeated since the field has expanded to 64 since 1985.  Also, data became more and more difficult to gather to create a full report. Further digging may allow for a more detailed report as time goes along.