Friday Skull Session: NCAA Tourney Bonuses, Sketchy Coaches of the Sweet 16, Nick Bosa's a Sure Bet and More

By Chris Lauderback on March 29, 2019 at 4:59 am

Your long national nightmare is almost over.

After a week of posing for caricature sketches, simulating Lady & the Tramp spaghetti dinners, riding Harry Potter's broomstick and otherwise gallivanting around Universal Studios with his lovely lady, Kevin will be refreshed and back at the controls of your daily Skull Session next Monday. 

For now, you're stuck with me and frankly, that means I'm stuck with you. 

To help pass the time, stay tuned to 11W for updates from this morning's media availability to include Larry Johnson, Kevin Wilson and players from their respective position groups. Maybe we'll even get some deets on Jeremy Ruckert getting a test-drive at H-back. 

You'll also have the NCAA Tournament to keep you company as the field whittles down to the Final Four by Sunday night. Last night, Big Ten brethren Purdue took advantage of the fact Rick Barnes coaches Tennessee, along with questionable foul call with 1.6 seconds in regulation before prevailing in overtime to earn a spot in the Elite Eight. Meanwhile, The Basketball School Up North got boatraced by Texas Tech after scoring 16 points in the first half. 

Tonight, the Big Ten is back at it as Michigan State takes on LSU at 7:09 p.m. ET on CBS. The Spartans are a 6-point favorite. 


Band Of The Day: Phish

Band Of The Next Day: Phish

Band For All Days: Phish

Cool Album That Isn't Phish: Les McCann - Invitation to Openness

 STRAIGHT CASH HOMIE. Speaking of the NCAA Tournament, Steve Berkowitz compiled a list of contractual bonuses at stake for the Sweet 16 head coaches. Folks, we're in the wrong line of work. 

Most of these guys are already raking it in and many can put some diamond-encrusted icing on the cake pending on how they fare the rest of the way. Disclaimer: While I support paying players and the ability for them to cash in on their likeness, I support coaches getting theirs too. A coach's worth is equal to what a school (and the shoe company, TV station etc.) is willing to pay for their services, not what any of us butthurt regular schlubs think they should be worth. 

Of note, LSU's Will Wade could see the $250,000 he technically earned after his team met clauses including winning the SEC regular season title ($50K), earning an NCAA bid ($100K) and reaching the Sweet 16 ($100K) go bye-bye as he's suspended while the school investigates his alleged shadiness

  • Bruce Pearl (Auburn): Already pocketed $200K in bonuses including $25K each for reaching 22 and 25 wins. He would earn $100K each for a trip to the Elite Eight, Final Four and the championship game.
  • Leonard Hamilton (Florida State): The ageless Hamilton is doing things right. He's already scored $675K in bonuses including $225K for reaching the Sweet 16. That should soften the blow of last night's loss to Gonzaga which prevented him from landing another $250K for reaching the Elite Eight. A national title would've seen a half-mil slide into his bank account. 
  • Kelvin Sampson (Houston): This walking recruiting violation has already earned $350K in bonuses. He can pick up another $100K each for reaching the Elite Eight, Final Four and championship game with another $150K added if he wins it all. Thankfully, he won't. 
  • Tony Bennett (Virginia): Typical post-season collapses from Bennett don't come cheap. This year, Bennett could earn $250K each for reaching the Elite Eight, Final Four and championship game with another $400K payout for winning it all. 
  • John Calipari, you ask? His contract is void of any such bonuses. 

 FRIDAY NIGHT'S FILTHY FOUR. Among the eight teams playing tonight for Elite Eight bids, four of the programs are pretty easy to root against if you're a fan of hating on dirty ass coaches. 

LSU takes on Michigan State and as noted previously, Tigers head coach Will Wade was suspended indefinitely by his school on the eve of the NCAA Tournament after an FBI wiretap caught him talking to a middleman about a "strong-ass offer" he made to current LSU freshman guard Javonte Smart. 

“I was thinking last night on this Smart thing,” Wade said. “I’ll be honest with you, I’m [expletive] tired of dealing with the thing. Like I’m just [expletive] sick of dealing with the [expletive]. Like, this should not be that [expletive] complicated.”

“Dude,” Wade continued to Dawkins, referring to the third party involved in the recruitment, “I went to him with a [expletive] strong-ass offer about a month ago. [Expletive] strong.

“The problem was, I know why he didn’t take it now, it was [expletive] tilted toward the family a little bit,” Wade continued. “It was tilted toward taking care of the mom, taking care of the kid. Like it was tilted towards that. Now I know for a fact he didn’t explain everything to the mom. I know now, he didn’t get enough of the piece of the pie in the deal.”

Dawkins responded by saying, “Hmmmm.”

“It was a [expletive] hell of a [expletive] offer,” Wade continued. “Hell of an offer.”

Uhhhh, Go Sparty. 

Auburn tangles with North Carolina, and of course the Tar Heels got off scot free after an academics scandal so I politely didn't include them as part of the filthy four. The Tigers however, led by cheatin-ass Bruce Pearl, are included. Pearl himself endured a three-year show cause penalty from the NCAA after his shady recruiting tactics at Tennessee and over the last 17 months at Auburn, he's had one assistant coach, Chuck Person, plead guilty in a federal bribery case and another caught up in bribery drama and placed on administrative leave. 

Tomorrow's nightcap features Kelvin Sampson's Houston squad against John Calipari's Kentucky Wildcats. These guys have a lot in common in that they've both left two different schools to face NCAA probation after their departures. Sampson conservatively made about three million impermissible phone calls to recruits between stops at Indiana and Oklahoma while Calipari saw Final Four appearances with Memphis and UMass later vacated. Not sure who you pull for in that one. Maybe a meteor? 

 HERBIE DROPS BY REAL LIFE WEDNESDAYS. Despite being one of the more polarizing former Buckeyes among the fanbase, Kirk Herbstreit stopped by, on, uhh, Thursday, to chat with Ryan Day's squad as part of the Real Life Wednesdays program Urban Meyer launched years ago. 

Sage advice from a guy who, believe it or not, does want to see Ohio State football and Ohio State football players succeed. Look, I won't argue he might take objectivity too far on occasion but the dude has been good to 11W over the years, agreeing to an interview when we were a scrappy little blog and even helping spread the word and making a sizable donation to our Woody Hayes statue project

In addition to making time for the football team, Herbie had himself a day:

 WE SURE THE BOSA BROS AREN'T TWINS? Pro Football Focus views Nick Bosa as the safest pick in the upcoming NFL Draft on the thesis that a comparison to his brother Joey suggests teams already know what they'll get from Nick in the form of on-field production. 

Size-wise the dudes are nearly identical with one inch and three pounds of separation and just 3/8 inch difference in arm length. 

Their 40-yard dash times – 4.79 for Nick and 4.86 for Joey – aren't dramatically different and their career pass rush grades as defined by PFF list Nick with a 93.6 and Joey with a 93.0. How good are those numbers? 

Both Joey and Nick were head-and-shoulders above their respective draft classes in terms of their college pass-rushing production. While we only have data from 2014 on, the numbers are fairly clear that the Bosa’s are in rarified air over that span. Only Myles Garrett has a higher career pass-rushing grade than Nick’s 93.6 and Joey’s 93.0 while Nick’s 25.5% win rate and Joey’s 21.7% win rate rank first and third, respectively, in our data.

The one question mark for Nick coming out of college is durability after he missed most of last season due to injury. Obviously, Joey was available to play more in college but has experienced his own health issues at the pro level. 

That said, when on the field, Joey has been an elite edge defender and it's hard not to see the same future for Nick assuming he's healthy. 

 INTRO TO THE NEXT ITEM (ITEM INTROS ARE UPPERCASE). In honor of Johnny's infamous "Null Session" published almost exactly six years ago – which we discussed in our Oral History and Johnny issued an unnecessary but classy apology for, I'm just going to leave this last item blank. 

 PEBBLES AND MARBLES. Eric Clapton announces lineup for the 2019 edition of his Crossroads Guitar Festival this September... How you doing in the Eleven Warriors bracket challenge? I'm in the bottom 20 percentile and surprised I'm that high... 614now looks back at The Short North Posse's reign of terror... Looks like this bracket is sniffing glue... Today's Skull Session typos are sponsored by Barterhouse bourbon. 

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