NEW YORK -- Rick Pitino made the decision not to cut down the nets at Madison Square Garden, even though they were pretty nifty souvenirs -- the last nets from the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.
He told his Louisville team after it played team swap with Syracuse, turning a 16-point deficit into a 78-61 rout, that he didn't think it needed to. The Cardinals cut them down last year, after all, when they also won the Big East tournament.
Pitino was careful as he explained his reasoning, starting, stopping and choosing his words deliberately so as to relay the sentiment without sounding overly cocky about it.
"I told them, look, there are no guarantees. We could lose in the first round," Pitino said. "But let's see if we can't do something special. If it happens, it happens. If not, we haven't missed too much."
There is no need for such political correctness.
At a hotel bunker in Indianapolis on Sunday, the NCAA tournament selection committee will meet to parse through the carcass and attempt to put order in the form of a bracket to the runaway train that has been the 2012-13 college basketball season.
Four teams will emerge as the favorites to win the championship because the process demands that there be four No. 1 seeds. Someone -- maybe Louisville, maybe Indiana -- will be dubbed the overall No. 1, given the slightest edge over its peers.
I'd like to save the committee some time and hard work and I'd like to say what Pitino could not.
There is one best team in the country right now and it is the University of Louisville.
For Dana O'Neil's full column, click here.