Thoughts on Mike Rice, AAC..

The women’s Final Four tips off Sunday with UConn and Notre Dame set to square off in the late game. The winner gets either Cal or Louisville in the title game.

Of course, Baylor was supposed to await UConn or Notre Dame, but an epic shooting performance from Louisville K.O.’d Brittney Griner and the Bears. As great an upset as it was, Baylor’s absence isn’t a good thing for women’s basketball, a sport that needs star power.

Mike Rice (AP)

Some other thoughts from Wednesday:

*Mike Rice was fired, and Rutgers AD Tom Pernetti should be embarrassed. Here’s the timeline of events: Pernetti saw the video tape in December and suspended Rice three games. The video went public, Pernetti defended Rice, peopled freaked out, and then Rice was fired the the next day.

Something doesn’t add up…

On the videotape, Rice was seen hurling basketballs at his players’ legs, the preferred teaching method of Patches O’Houlihan. That’s not a fireable offense. It’s just funny.

Rice was also seen shoving his players a handful of times. And he was heard slinging homophobic slurs at his kids.

It was the public reaction to Rice’s verbal and physical abuse got him canned. But I believe this did, too: Rutgers hasn’t made the NCAA tournament since 1991. Quite simply, it is a very poor basketball program that already has enough trouble recruiting talent. So why, after seeing that tape, would any kid in America be like, “Yeah, I want to play for Rutgers, where I can come in last place AND get humiliated by a lunatic coach?”

That video automatically made Rice the worst recruiter in America. Rutgers would have been competing with WestConn for players.

In that sense, Rutgers had no choice but to let Rice go. And remember: This guy did a mediocre job in two years. It’s not like the school was parting ways with John Wooden.

Mike Rice won’t find another head coaching job for a long time. Tom Pernetti, meanwhile, should be grateful that he’s still employed.

*The old Big East chose the most boring name possible: The American Athletic Conference.

My former college roommate texted me, “American Athletic sounds like something I’d find on the tag of a pair of sweatpants at Wal-Mart.”

Couldn’t have put it better myself.

I’d love to get fired up about “The American” (its supposed nickname), but who really cares? League names are irrelevant. When Memphis dominated Conference USA, no one said, “Wow, they must stink because their conference name stinks.” They said, “Memphis is awesome” (or some variation of that).

So, the AAC is as bland as it gets, yes. But in no way does a lame name impact what happens on the court or field.