1.Big East officials confirm that whatever negotiating is going on with Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross and the Big East conference has nothing to do with the actual matchup of the Orange playing at Arkansas on Nov. 30 in the SEC-Big East Challenge. Big East associate commissioner Tom Odjakjian wouldn’t divulge what would be available to negotiate, but was adamant that the matchups are set. So, this will end up as a tough road stop for the Orange. Arkansas has become once again a tough-out at Bud Walton under Mike Anderson, just ask Michigan.
2.Odjakjian did have a difficult job of trying to match games with an SEC that didn’t have as many quality road teams. Eliminating Missouri, easily a top four SEC team from the event next season, immediately lessened the three-day affair. But there are at least five legitimate matchups among the dozen: Kentucky has the toughest game of all in going to potential Big East champ Notre Dame; Marquette at Florida is a game worth watching with an upstart Golden Eagles’ team that won’t lie down for Florida; the aforementioned SU-Ark; sleeper SEC contender Tennessee on the road at retooling Georgetown and an Alabama team that is replacing key players but will defend against one of the top six Big East teams in Cincinnati.
3.Ohio State and Duke are likely the two finalists for Mississippi State freshman transfer guard Rodney Hood. Hood has been taking his time to decide on where to continue playing. And that’s smart. He’s actually going to sit out (no waiver) and wants to make an educated decision by taking visits. Hood will be an impact player for either program when he becomes eligible in the fall of 2013-14. Hood averaged a third-best 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds a game in the Meridian, Miss., native’s only season with the Bulldogs.