Slant Pattern College Hoops Odds and Ends

* Is winning culture a thing? Are some programs and teams a bit more likely to win championships because they've done it before?

I ask because the Lakers are through to the Western Conference finals as a 7-seed, and I suppose we could also throw in that Miami is also through at an 8-seed, although they are not considered a dynastic force in the NBA the way the Lakers are.

That said, the team that makes the strongest case for some sort of unquantifiable championship culture us the UConn men's basketball program.

The Huskies won it all in 1999 and 2004, and after that, they have won it three more times all as a No. 3-seed or worse: In 2011 have a 3-seed, this year as a 4-seed, and in 2014 as a 7-seed. That means that each of the last three times they won it all, a minimum of 8 teams had subjectively better resumes going into the tourney, which in turn probably means at least 3 or 4 were damn near objectively better in the regular season.

If UConn had the same coach throughout all of these championships, this becomes less of a puzzle — we have a team that just has a great coach who knows how to win big games.

But of course, the last three UConn championships have come under three different coaches. If the Lakers win it all, it will be the same deal: their last three championships, all since 2010, will have been under three different coaches.

Is it the water in Storrs and Los Angeles? If so, explain the Clippers.

* In researching the above piece, I saw a funny Twitter post. Doc Rivers has just been fired as the Philadelphia 76ers, and somebody asked (I'm paraphrasing here), "Has anyone made as much hay out of winning a single championship as Doc Rivers has?" and someone else responded with a picture of Jim Boeheim.

I laughed out loud, but I was also surprised. Boeheim only won one championship? It's true. He did. You know what other school "feels" like they've won several, but has only won one? Arizona, and that was way back in 1997. Guess how many UCLA has won post-Wooden? That's right, one. Seems like it should be more for all of them, does it not?

* The lead story on ESPN's college basketball's main page as I write this is: Rick Pitino and St. John's certainly have Bracketology's attention. After a near-total overhaul of the roster by the Hall of Fame coach the Red Storm have already achieved job one of the Pitino era: national relevance.

The eye-catching, headline-worthy bracketology designation? First four out. I don't hammer on ESPN like some people do, because I appreciate the volume of their game broadcasts themselves across their platforms. There's ESPN talking heads I like (Scott Van Pelt), ones I don't like (Stephen A. Smith), and the vast majority I have no opinion on.

But this? Pitino didn't earn or "achieve" anything notable by being left out (but only barely!!!) of Joe Lunardi's super early bracket, let alone merit the top headlining ESPN story. Rather, ESPN is simply giving Rick Pitino this attention, because he's Rick Pitino, who is famous. He also governed over a program at Louisville whose infractions were so severe they took away their natty, so you know, maybe stop giving him extra, unearned attention? Just a thought, ESPN.

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