1. Anthony Bennett's decision to leave for the NBA was expected. The UNLV freshman forward will contend for a top five position in the draft. But Bennett is not the norm in this season's class of possible draft picks. A number of players are making decisions to leave without any guarantee of position in the first round, let alone the second. The NCAA has given this new draft date rule a go and it's a failure. Having players make up their mind within a week after the Final Four (this year April 16) gives players no chance for a real read on their status without the chance to play in Chicago at the draft camp or for teams. The NBA's deadline of two weeks later is the one that holds real meaning. Still, international players can withdraw from the draft up until 10 days prior to the draft in June. Why shouldn't American college players be given the same chance? The ACC started this mess by pushing this rule to help coaches fill roster spots in the spring. Well, the talent level is hardly equal at this time of the year. The end product for the NBA and the college game would be better served with a more informed decision by any of the players considering leaving.
2. Tubby Smith's decision to go to Texas Tech should go down as one of the most surprising recent moves. I was convinced Smith would either take some time off after he was fired at Minnesota or maybe go back to the mid-Atlantic area to coach -- even if it were at a lower level. Smith can coach at any spot. But I wasn't sure he would want to take on another rebuild. Texas Tech will always have a hard climb in men's basketball in the Big 12. The Red Raiders have facilities but drawing has been an issue and the program hasn't resonated as much within the state. Texas Tech hasn't shied away from brand names with Bob Knight and now Smith. Smith has had to face plenty of challenges in his career. Clearly, he isn't ducking another chance at a point when he could have sought a softer landing. He'll need to ensure he's got a solid staff that is as energized for this tall task as much as he must be to take on getting the Red Raiders out the bottom of the Big 12.
3. As Chris Collins gets ready to take over Northwestern officially Tuesday, remember that coaching wasn't the issue with the Wildcats. Bill Carmody performed well in coaching Northwestern, as expected. The issue for Northwestern was unfortunate injuries and a few late-game plays/decisions on the court that cost them a chance to go to the NCAA tournament in each of the last three seasons. This past season never got off right due to the loss of three starters at various points of the season. Collins will provide positive energy and give Northwestern the youthful voice it now craves. Collins shouldn't have an issue recruiting, either. Players will want to sign up for the challenge of playing for him and getting the Wildcats to its first-ever NCAA tournament. Collins has a positive vibe about him and an ability to connect to any age group. This program was on the doorstep of breaking through. Carmody got them to that point. There's no reason Collins won't bust that door down. Finishing in the top eight in the eventual new 14-team Big Ten is more than palatable for Northwestern every few seasons. And the Big Ten should be in contention for eight bids on a yearly basis with Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Illinois and then a rotation from the rest, including 2014 newcomer Maryland, taking turns at No. 7 and No. 8.