1. Kentucky coach John Calipari said during our Thursday taping of Katz Korner on ESPNU that incoming freshman center Nerlens Noel should be finishing up his two last classes and be eligible and on campus next month. Noel reclassified for the 2012-13 season and had to finish his degree requirements before he could attend Kentucky. So Noel wasn’t able to participate in any of the summer workouts since he was prohibited from finishing his requirements anywhere but back in high school. Calipari continued to praise incoming freshman Willie Cauley and his ability to produce during workouts. Calipari insists he will try playing the 6-10 Cauley and Noel together during the season. Cauley was the lowest-profile of the four newcomers (Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin are the others).
2. Louisville coach Rick Pitino said that he has been energized coaching this recent Cardinals crew the past two seasons. Pitino also clarified on Katz Korner that he will coach until his contract were to run out, which happens to be in 2017. He said if his deal were to have run out in 2021 he would have said the same thing. He didn’t seem like he was ready to retire anytime soon. If he were offered an extension it doesn’t sound like Pitino would say no. He simply isn’t projecting like someone who is nearing the end. Pitino also overly praised the job done by his rival John Calipari. Pitino said he didn’t think a team dominated by one-and-done players could win a title, until Calipari accomplished the feat in April (by beating Louisville in the national semifinal before taking down Kansas). Pitino said the biggest surprise so far in workouts has been guard Kevin Ware. Pitino said it probably wasn’t fair to him to bring him in midseason. Ware didn’t log too many minutes, averaging just 5.3 a game. But Ware has already made an impact on Pitino as a potential serious rotation player for a possible Final Four squad.
3. ESPN and ESPN.com released the brackets for 11 of the tournaments that will be on our air Thursday. A number of people tweeted me during the day wondering why we didn’t release the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament bracket. The answer is simple: ESPN isn’t televising the event and the bracket isn’t available yet. Tournament organizers told me earlier in the summer that the Battle 4 Atlantis bracket will be decided next month. The bracket is arguably one of the best in November with Duke, Louisville, Missouri, Memphis, Minnesota, Stanford, Northern Iowa and VCU. All eight of these schools start the season with legitimate intentions of earning at-large berths.