Rick Pitino's historic opportunity

A second title would put him in rare company, and he has the team to win it

Updated: August 23, 2012, 12:32 PM ET
By John Gasaway | Basketball Prospectus
Rick Pitino and Peyton SivaFrank Victores/US PresswireWith Peyton Siva back, Rick Pitino can feel confident about his team heading into the season.

The calendar says August, but college basketball's upcoming season is already the topic of learned speculation.

The best guess is that the Louisville Cardinals will start the year ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the nation, on their way to a No. 1 seed in the 2013 NCAA tournament. Those are the expectations you work under when you reach the Final Four and bring back stars like Peyton Siva, Gorgui Dieng, Russ Smith, Chane Behanan and Wayne Blackshear.

I'll look at the Cardinals' chances of living up to those expectations momentarily, but first let's skip to the end. Let's just go ahead and award the 2013 national championship to Louisville. (Sorry, Indiana. Nice try, Kentucky.) What would that mean for coach Rick Pitino's legacy?