It's one of the stranger scheduling quirks you'll ever see. Starting Saturday, Mississippi State is going to cram five games into five days. Why on earth would MSU coach Rick Stansbury do this to his team? Jason King explains: "In September the NCAA suspended star point guard Dee Bost nine games for failing to withdraw his name properly before the NBA’s draft deadline in May. Bost, though, can’t begin serving that suspension until he’s academically eligible, which he wasn’t during the fall semester. The fall semester ends today, which means any game Mississippi State plays without Bost from this point forward will count toward Bost’s nine-game suspension. Because Stansbury desperately needs Bost for SEC play, the coach tried his best to schedule non-conference games after the fall semester. The hope is that the Bulldogs can beat their next four opponents – East Tennessee State, North Carolina A&T, Nicholls State and Alabama State – without Bost, who averaged 13 points and 5.2 assists last season."
Why the talent glut in the Pac-10? Basketball Prospectus contributor Sam Rayburn describes the "chicken-and-egg" scenario currently afflicting the much-maligned conference: "Pac-10 recruiting has suffered in part because of an unusually high number of coaching changes. Since the 2007-08 season no fewer than seven Pac-10 schools have changed coaches. Only Arizona State (Herb Sendek), Washington (Lorenzo Romar), and UCLA (Ben Howland) have held onto their head coach over that span -- and you may have noticed that's no guarantee of success either. [...] Of course there's a chicken-and-egg issue here. Maybe there'd be fewer coaching changes if the Pac-10's teams performed better. If the league wants to recruit top talent from across the country, they need to win games, particularly big non-conference games. Schools view non-conference games as recruiting opportunities in regions not covered in league play. Last season's poor performance against non-conference opponents hurt the Pac-10's credibility on the national recruiting front."
Shocker alert: Terrence Jones is already attracting a lot of attention from NBA scouts.
Beyond the specifics of last night's games, the dual Temple and Xavier wins counted as the first really good night the Atlantic-10 has had so far this season.
Before last night's loss to Xavier, Butler had won 23 straight games when holding opponents to 60 points or fewer. That's a pretty crazy streak, but that's how Butler advanced to the national title game; the only team to breach the 60-point barrier against the Bulldogs last season was Duke.
You can buy James Naismith's original rules of basketball at a New York City auction. If anyone would like to join forces and make a bid, please contact me immediately. (Note: Rich friends optional but preferred.)
Sacred Heart, which trailed by 20 to Hartford with eight minutes left Tuesday night, completed what might be the biggest and most unlikely comeback win we'll see all season.
Georgetown fans breathe a sigh of relief at the team's first loss (no, really) and pick on Temple fans for storming the court (yes, really, and Temple fans deserve it).
Inside the Hall gears up for Indiana's big date with Kentucky at Rupp Arena this Saturday by interviewing one of the biggest Kentucky fans on the planet.
Ohio State's iffy home win over IUPUI last night (Jared Sullinger's brilliance notwithstanding) caused Columbus Dispatch columnist Bob Hunter to doubt Ohio State's No. 2 ranking: "For the first 28 minutes or so, there was nothing about this evening that even hinted at No. 2. Not the crowd, which was nonconference-cupcake small and quiet, and certainly not the team that is ranked there. Number two Ohio State, really? This is one of those early-season things that just seems to happen, where a faceless mass of sports writers and coaches take a look at last year, add, subtract, do some figuring and a little head-scratching and abracadabra - we have some official rankings. Seven games into the season, it's a little more legitimate, but it's still awfully early to say that wins at Florida and Florida State make the Buckeyes - who started the season No. 3 - No. 2, No. 4, No.10 or 20."
And, as always, some in-house love: Joe Lunardi is back with more Bracketology, as well as a breakdown of the bracket itself (Butler's flagging at-large chances are prominently featured); Andy Katz discusses Marcus Denmon's huge performance in the wake of his cousin's shooting Tuesday; our first Weekend Watch of the season is now live; Jay Bilas checks in with some sundry musings; and be sure to check out our latest composite power rankings. Hint: Duke is No. 1.