1. Butler coach Brad Stevens was as calm about losing to Northern State in an exhibition as he was falling to Connecticut. Stevens isn’t fretting anything yet. Chrishawn Hopkins was out with a concussion and Stevens said Hopkins will be critical to the Bulldogs’ backcourt this season. Hopkins’ concussion actually prompted Stevens and his staff to pause and review whether they were doing something wrong in practice or games since Matt Howard and Ronald Nored also suffered concussions over the past few years. But Stevens said they determined the injuries were just freak coincidences. The one consistent player for the Bulldogs was big man Andrew Smith, who scored 19. Smith should be and likely will be the Bulldogs’ go-to player.
2. Frustration is mounting at Arizona State where the Sun Devils still don’t know the status of highly touted freshman guard Jahii Carson. Carson didn’t participate in the Sun Devils’ scrimmage with Saint Mary’s last weekend as his academic eligibility is being examined by the NCAA. Carson is one of many players whose status is being held up. The 5-foot-10 Carson was supposed to be the difference for the Sun Devils in their attempt to climb out of the bottom of the league. Carson was the only high school player on this past summer’s Team USA Under 19 World Championship team in Latvia. Quite simply, if Carson doesn’t start practicing for the Sun Devils soon and ultimately play, this team won’t show progress in 2012.
3. The angst isn’t as palatable at Connecticut as the Huskies await the eligibility status of freshman point Ryan Boatright. But there is no question about his importance to this team. The Huskies desperately need Boatright’s change of speed to spell Shabazz Napier, as well as his scoring ability off the bench and his voice. Boatright may be the most vocal player on the squad. The NCAA is looking into whether Boatright received an extra benefit related to his AAU team. One source said one of the issues being looked at by UConn and the NCAA was who purchased a plane ticket for Boatright during his AAU career.