University of Louisville basketball notebook

Peyton Siva

A new feature at Cardinal Authority will be a Sunday morning college basketball notebook, featuring University of Louisville and Big East Conference nuggets. Here's a look at this week's notebook:

Bilas for Commissioner?

University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino made some news on Saturday when he posted a blog that included his selection for Big East commissioner.

He said it should be ESPN analyst Jay Bilas.

"Well (conference founder) Dave Gavitt's vision could be carried out by one man that has come to the necessary way of thinking towards the future," said Pitino in the blog. "That man is Jay Bilas.

"I would take a portion of the Syracuse and Pittsburgh money (the schools paid $7.5 million to join the ACC in 2013), give him a 5-year contract and pay him 2 million per year. He has charisma, knows T.V., has a legal background, outstanding presence, and a creative thinker. He would be a grand slam."

Pitino said on Friday at the Peach Jam that he had been "thinking Bilas was the right guy for a while," but he didn't suggest it to Big East officials because "I told them, I really didn't know the ins and outs of (being a commissioner)."

Pitino said the question about who will be the next Big East Commissioner is the one he's been asked the most during the offseason.

He called it the "$99,000 question."

The starting five

Senior point guard Peyton Siva said in an interview early last week that sophomore Kevin Ware was currently the team's starting two guard, giving fans a lot of optimism about the improvement of Ware in the offseason.

Pitino has lauded Ware for his improvement in two interviews with Cardinal Authority but said a starting lineup "doesn't matter to this team."

On his blog, Pitino said he "never really thought with a running, pressing team that matters. Peyton and Gorgui (Dieng) probably will start. Chane battles Montrezl (Harrell). Kevin Ware battles Russ (Smith) and Luke (Hancock). Luke battles Wayne (Blackshear). Angel (Nunez) battles three different guys. Competition makes teams better. It should be fun each and every day of practice."

While the lineup is unclear at this point, one thing that is certain is the Cardinals are going to be one of the deepest teams of the Pitino-era.

"We have a lot of guys, we just need to stay healthy," the coach said.

Speaking of health, Hancock has been sidelined after shoulder surgery but is on his way back. He's expected to be back at or near the start of the season and word is he's already able to do some dribbling with the basketball.

Siva a little nervous

Siva said during the Cardinal Caravan stop in Frankfort that he was a little nervous recently when Pitino went through a two-hour practice and was still smiling.

The team captain said it "never happens" that the coach leaves happy, especially this time of the year.

"I'm kind of scared," he said. "Now you don't want to practice and mess it up. But we have a very veteran team. Everybody knows what to expect from Coach P and every body is ready to learn. We all know the system so he can stop and really put anything he wants into the game.

"So hopefully we'll have more good practices in front of us."

Dissing the Big East

Syracuse won't leave the Big East Conference until July 1, 2013 – after paying $7.5 million to leave a year early – but already basketball coach Jim Boeheim is talking bad about the league.

Boeheim, who will coach a 33rd year in the Big East next season, said last week to the Syracuse Post-Standard that the "Big East is not what it used to be."

"I think the ACC is a tremendous league and it's a tremendous opportunity for us," he said. "To stay in one time zone and play in a great conference -- a great all-around conference, but, specifically, a great basketball conference – is a great thing."

Sounds like a party line.

A few leftovers

*Pitino said the non-conference portion of the schedule was nearly complete and would be out soon for the Cardinals.

*West Virginia released its non-conference schedule and it looks pretty tough, including trips to Gonzaga and Purdue. The Mountaineers will also host Virginia Tech and play Michigan on a neutral court. Eastern Kentucky plays at West Virginia.

*St. John's also released its non-conference schedule but missing was its annual game with Duke. The New York Post said that series is on hiatus because of a change in the ACC schedule and was expected to resume at some point.

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