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A Chris Mack (not Sunday) Conversation

There’s only one thing to do with this much happening, and that’s sit down and kick it around.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Xavier vs Texas Southern Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Brad: So the big thing this week has been all the Coach Mack rumor flying around. If you had to guess right now, do you think he leaves or stays? More than that, do you think he’s gone about this the right way? After the Matta knifing and, to a lesser extent, the shady way Miller left, it’s hard to be too mad about this one.

Joel: I don’t know what to think about his staying or going. At different points this week I’ve been leaning each way. The facts can be interpreted in a lot of different ways; there’s just too much we don’t know. As far as how he’s doing it, I think it has been the right way. Everything has been completely out in the open and above board, just how Louisville always operates.

Brad: I’ve got no complaints. He’s exploring an opportunity to make a ton more money. It’s hard to fault anyone for that, especially a guy with a family. I’m not sure most Xavier fans will take the news with such equanimity.

It’s going to sting either way, though. I’ll be honest, I thought Mack was going to be our Izzo or Coach K. He’s a top 10 coach currently at a top 20 program. That’s the kind of combo that makes a Final Four a matter of time, not a pipe dream.

Joel: It’s also worth noting that Mack has never been a guy who was really vocal about transferring being a huge problem. He has always seemed open to kids bettering their situations - there’s probably at least a bit of pragmatism in there - and that makes it more palatable for him to be looking into his.

That said, the longer this goes without an announcement, the better we feel, right?

Brad: I think so. If it were a lead pipe lock they would just have announced him and been done with it. I think he’s genuinely trying to find the best fit. Unfortunately, I still think that means going where the major money is.

And what is it about that that makes people mad? I’ve had about enough “how much money do you need?” takes. There’s not a soul out there who turns down a 250% raise and yet they’ll scream at a coach who takes one.

Joel: I’d take it. Add in the connections he has to the area and it’s hard to blame him if he decides to move. On the other hand, this is why we’ve been paying Steele all that money for so long. Xavier has proven to be astute in judging coaching talent, and they’ve ID’ed Steele as having it. If Mack goes, I’ve made my peace with the transition, especially now that Tubby Smith is no longer an option.

Bryan: The other thing that I haven’t seen brought up much is that UL basketball is the biggest game in town there. Here there are the Reds and Bengals, plus another major CBB program to compete with for attention. That means that he is gonna be the guy advertisers want to get above all else, instead of option #3 or 4. He wouldn’t just triple his salary, he would also open the door for way more notoriety, and a financial windfall to go with it, by being the biggest name in town.

Honestly, I don’t think I would feel one way or the other about him if he left. I want him to stay, I understand why he wants to go. I’m not gonna cheer for him because I hate Louisville, but I am not going to cheer against him any harder than I did Pitino.