1. The departing Big East 7 are still negotiating their exit from the Big East and are far from finalizing a date to withdraw (although the exit is likely for the fall of 2014). The league still needs to lock in on a television partner (Fox, according to sources, the leader in the clubhouse) and a commissioner. But a number of sources have made valid points for additional schools the Big East 7 will go after, with the consensus being Butler and Xavier to get to nine. The 10th spot has interesting candidates, and while I have heard strong Richmond arguments for that spot, the Spiders may end up being more of an 11th or 12th member if the league decides to go that far. There is a definitely a push in one key corner of the seven to add Creighton because of the Bluejays passion for hoops, their facilities and following. I continue to hear conflicting opinions about whether or not distance matters in this new league. What isn't negotiable is the 7 want/need the schools to be all in for basketball. If that's the case then considering Gonzaga isn't out. This league has to be smart about its moves, and if Creighton is in the mix it would be a wise choice.
2. Wichita State has lost three in a row heading into Saturday's home game against Missouri State. But Shockers coach Gregg Marshall isn't panicking. "We've got to score more efficiently to end droughts,'' said Marshall. "We've got to defend better like we're capable of.'' The Shockers are still NCAA at-large bid worthy, but winning the Missouri Valley looks difficult. Wichita State still has to go to Indiana State and Creighton.
3. USA basketball's junior national program has caught onto the senior team mantra under Jerry Colangelo: consistency of coaching staff equals gold. See the decision and acceptance of Florida's Billy Donovan, Gonzaga's Mark Few and VCU's Shaka Smart to coach the U-19 team this summer in the Czech Republic after coaching the U-18 team to gold in Brazil last summer. The consistency of coaching is only going to help this team and the program continue to excel. Donovan, Few and Smart clicked last summer and have kept the friendship strong throughout the offseason and season. This was a good move for all.