News and notes from around the country

December, 15, 2011
Quick hitters during this light week for games:

• The ACC chose a good week to announce a major shift in scheduling for next season. The league will go from 16 to 18 league games for men's and women's basketball, even though Pitt and Syracuse won't be joining the conference until the fall of 2013 at the earliest.

The ACC, which is in a down cycle outside of North Carolina and Duke, hasn't exactly burned up the nonconference slate of late. Playing more conference games will be better for the overall league when it goes to 14 teams, and also better for television (yes, ESPN has the rights).

But more than anything, getting another crack at Duke and/or Carolina will only help the overall power rating for the rest of the league.

• Few fathers get to watch their sons work and enjoy the highlights and see how they handle the obstacles. Bill Donovan, father of Billy, is at most Florida games. Bill is beloved by those who come into contact with him. He is such a genuine soul, a real treat to see every time UF plays.

Well, I witnessed another example of a father-son combination Wednesday night that had nearly the same impact. Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin is going through one of the toughest times in his coaching career. And there on the practice court at the Nutter Center on Wednesday afternoon -- and then again at the postgame news conference -- was his father, Harold, who won more than 400 games as a high school coach in the greater Cincinnati area. Harold was on the court, offering a few tutorials to the players and the staff. You can't put a price tag on having your parent, no matter your age, be with you.

• It's a shame Notre Dame and Butler are having such down seasons. Saturday's Conseco Fieldhouse doubleheader wasn't easy to pull off for the four schools involved in the Crossroads Classic. But the event, with Indiana playing Notre Dame and Purdue going against Butler, has lost a bit of luster. If this were played a year ago, even though IU would've been fourth on the list, it would have been must-see TV.

• Wright State coach Billy Donlon said there isn't a team in the Horizon League that improves more from the opening game to the last league contest than Rob Jeter's Milwaukee squad. The Panthers nearly tripped up Wisconsin on Tuesday. Even though Cleveland State is the favorite, the Horizon is wide-open this season.

• Wright State's Julius Mays, clearly the Raiders' top talent, had a scary fall while going for a rebound against Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick on Wednesday night. Mays used all his effort to get the board but lost control and landed on his side and smacked the back of his head. He was gingerly walking around late last night after the game, but said he would be fine. The WSU staff checked him for concussion symptoms, but later deemed him OK.

• Storming the court is great TV and it's always nice to see that much enthusiasm in a college environment, but game security at Indiana's Assembly Hall and everywhere else where this occurs is negligent if it does not get the opposing team off the court safely. The Kentucky players had to scrap to get out of the way of the fans Saturday. North Carolina, especially head coach Roy Williams, had to deal with this issue at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas last month. Look, if the fans want to storm, then their safety is their own issue. But the opposing players on the court have to be protected. That should be a must.

• Can we be clear on one thing: No one should doubt Xavier AD Mike Bobinski's integrity on the men's basketball selection committee. I wrote when he was named chair that he is one of the most respected ADs in the country. So if Cincinnati is on the bubble and Bobinski is in the room, it will be a nonissue.

• There are nine remaining unbeaten teams in the country. I'll take Murray State as the last one to lose.

• There are six teams left that don't have a win. I'll lean toward either Chicago State or Grambling State as the last remaining.

• Baylor coach Scott Drew is going to have great fun coaching this team. The Bears' frontcourt provides plenty of highlights and is as good a watch on the fast break as any this season.

• I've met countless people over the last 22 years covering this sport. Drew's father, Homer, a prostate cancer survivor who is aiding his wife, Janet, in her own cancer struggle, is at or near the top. The former Valparaiso coach is as classy and real as any person associated with college basketball.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer




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