Perhaps there was a moment, right about the time the Auburn Tigers fell behind with fewer than three minutes left in a game his team was favored to win by two touchdowns, that Bruce Pearl allowed the thought to cross his mind that life indeed might be better in Louisville.
Everyone has those moments. It’s why the “Wanna Get Away?” ad campaign run by Southwest Airlines was so brilliant. Once sanity prevails, though, as it did in Auburn’s 55-54 win Tuesday night at struggling Missouri, such daydreams are stashed away to be retrieved the next time one of college basketball’s most alluring jobs opens on the same day Pearl’s team plays ugly.
Pearl is head coach of college basketball’s No. 1 team. Only seven other head coaches have been to the Final Four as recently as he. His frontcourt includes two McDonald’s All-Americans, one of them a candidate to be the first overall selection in the 2022 NBA Draft. Pearl earns about $4 million per year, which places him among the 10 highest paid coaches in the college game.
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You think there’s a better job out there for him than the one he has?
Hey, Duke is going to open in eight weeks, nine weeks, 10 weeks tops. That position is spoken for, however. North Carolina’s Hubert Davi Florida A&M Rattlers shirt s is only in his first year. John Calipari is showing no signs of slowing down in his 13th season at Kentucky.
So, no, there is not a place better for Bruce Pearl at the moment than the loveliest village on the plains. One could go so far as to say Pearl leaving Auburn for any co Texas vs. Oklahoma Rivalry Jerseys llege job, even one with the phenomenal support Louisville has enjoyed or the built-in recruiting advantages at Maryland, would be shocking.
All of us who cover college basketball nationally have, at one point or other, composed a list of the best jobs in the game. Maryland, which has been operating with interim coach Danny Manning since Mark Turge Kentucky vs. Louisville Rivalry Jerseys on departed Dec. 3, is undoubtedly on the list. Louisville, which has won NCAA championships under both Denn FSU vs. Miami Rivalry Gear y Crum and Rick Pitino, surely belongs, so long as the list in question continues into double digits.
The allure of such a position is not a constant, however, and neither is it equivalent for each Texas vs. Oklahoma Rivalry Shirts candidate. Louisville in the best of times m FSU vs. Miami Rivalry Shirts ight be a step forward for nearly everyone in the game. Louisville, caught in a second NCAA investigation in the past half-dozen years, the first of which led to the removal of the program’s 2013 national championship banner and the second now in the hands of the new Independent Accountability Resolution Process, led to the removal of Hall-of-Famer Rick Pitino in 2017 and now contributed to the departure of Chris Mack.
When Mack arrived in 2018, he was fresh off earning a No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed at Xavier, only a year removed from an Elite Eight appearance, reached at least the Sweet 16 four times and earned conference championships in the Big East and Atlantic 10. Only once in nine seasons did he fail to reach the 20-victory mark.
A new coach might make Louisville great again. Mack’s experience, though, demonstrates there is no certainty in this. And Pearl is bathing in certainty at the moment.
All due respect to the great Sonny Smith, Pearl has become the most successful coach in Auburn basketball history. He led the program to its first Final Four in 2019. He led the Tigers to their first AP poll No. 1 ranking this week. When the Tigers are selected for the 2022 NCAA Tournament, most likely as a No. 1 seed, it will be their 11th ever. Pearl will have pro Blue Ridge Community College clothes duced more than a quarter of all March Madness appearances in the school’s history.
A Louisville optimist could point to that history as evidence of the Cardinals’ superiority as a place for a college coach to do business. In a vacuum, that person would be correct. This is no Central State Marauders clothes t how the world works, though.
What could Louisville provide to Pearl that he doesn’t already have? The opportunity to recruit elite talent? Five of the top seven players on Auburn’s current team are from states bordering Alabama, four of them from Georgia. Freshman forward Jabari Smith, a member of The Sporting News Midseason All-America team and projected top-3 pick in June’s NBA Draft, grew up 95 miles away.
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Can Pearl get to the Final Four from Auburn? His Tigers were there in 2019, six years after the most recent Louisville appearance. Can Auburn become a national power under Pearl? Did I mention the Tigers currently are ranked ahead of Duke, Kentucky, UCLA and, of course, Louisville and Maryland. They’re ranked ahead of everybody. Auburn is a force now. Either Louisville or Maryland would need to be rebuilt into such a position.
Can Louisville offer more money than Pearl is making now? Well, of course. Do the programs in the SEC appear to be lacking funds, though? After standing firmly behind Pearl when its program was ensnared in the same Justice Department investigation of the basketball talent game that eventually looped in Louisville, having seen the Tigers now released from that inquiry with only minor punishment and attaining their current level of prominence, it seems inconceivable the Auburn administration wo Evansville Purple Aces Jerseys uld allow money to be an issue in retaining him as the program’s head coach.
It would b Fairfield Stags shirt e foolish for Pearl not to consider any forthcoming approach by Maryland or Louisville. There is money to be made with such leverage. For him to leave, though, in March or any other month, would be madness.