1. NC State coach Mark Gottfried said he learned his team is one player short on the Wolfpack's trip to Spain. That player is Rodney Purvis. He's still being held out as his eligibility is being checked from his high school, Upper Room Christian Academy, by the NCAA Eligibility Center. (According to Raleigh media reports, Purvis was allowed to attend classes this week but still not eligible.) Gottfried said he can't replace the experience that was lost on last season's Sweet 16 team. But the potential is there for a solid season (NC State and or North Carolina will likely be picked to win the ACC). Purvis is one of the three highest profile incoming freshmen still not cleared to play this season. He probably rates second on most important overall behind UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad and ahead of Providence's Ricky Ledo. The Wolfpack need Purvis' ability to score but can live without him if need be due to the overall depth and talent returning and arriving. The Bruins need Muhammad's motor and skill set to overtake Arizona and Stanford in the Pac-12 and be a legit player in the Final Four chase. Muhammad is being held out from UCLA's trip to China as the NCAA examines potential extra benefits by a third party. Ledo was a reach to be academically eligible at PC after attending multiple high schools. Coach Ed Cooley knew this from the moment he signed him. The Friars are a lower level Big East team this season so Ledo's arrival wouldn't change the outcome much at all.
2. Northeastern coach Bill Coen may win the award for stuffing the most games and adding the most intensity to a foreign trip among the 60 schools taking the sojourns this month. The Huskies are in the midst of a seven-game trip to Canada Tuesday. Northeastern was 4-0 through Monday's game. Most schools will play a max of five games on these trips. Rarely does a school go for seven in less than 10 days on the road. The Huskies should be an upper division team in the CAA this season, especially with the departure of VCU and with the ineligibility of Old Dominion (and Georgia State, Towson and UNC Wilmington) for the conference tournament. The Huskies are a legit contender to challenge Drexel in the seven-team conference tourney in March.
3. Dan Leibovitz told me for years about the basketball mind of Mike Dunlap. He was a loyal disciple of Dunlap like he was of his first and true mentor John Chaney. Well, that loyalty came full circle for Leibovitz when the new Charlotte Bobcats coach tabbed Leibovitz to be a player development coach for the Bobcats. Leibovitz's departure from Penn coach Jerome Allen's staff leaves a significant void. Leibovitz, a former Hartford head coach, was a longtime assistant to Chaney (and essentially ran the day-to-day operations of the program in the final few seasons of Chaney's tenure) and helped Allen with an experienced bench and recruiting coach. Leibovitz was a sound hire by Dunlap. He is a coach who doesn't make too many sudden moves. Dunlap is methodical in his approach to the game and he has surrounded himself with a complimentary piece in Leibovitz.