1. Saint Louis is already dealing with a fragile state of affairs as Jim Crews takes over for Rick Majerus while he deals with a major heart issue. Now, the potential Atlantic 10 favorite Billikens will start the season without their top guard in Kwamain Mitchell (broken foot). The good news for the Billikens is that they are deep in the backcourt with Mike McCall Jr. and Jordair Jett. But the Billikens will find out now if freshman Keith Carter is ready for prime time out of the gate. Majerus said in the summer that Carter could be the best lead guard he had recruited since Andre Miller at Utah. Crews wasn’t ready to buy into that just yet. But Carter now has to play and do well earlier in the season. The most important game that Mitchell might miss is possibly against Kansas in a likely finals matchup in the CBE Classic Nov. 20. SLU has a tough stretch a week later at Washington and at home against Valparaiso and North Texas.
2. Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin couldn’t vote for his own player, but said on our ESPNU College Basketball podcast that he voted for Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng as Big East preseason player of the year. He also said he fully expects that he has two all-Big East players on this roster in Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright.
3. The Battle 4 Atlantis is trying to put together another high-profile field in 2013. So far the event in Nassau, Bahamas, has Kansas, USC, Villanova, Xavier, Wake Forest and Tennessee and UTEP, according to teams committed. Illinois was initially in the mix, but now instead it could be Michigan State or Ohio State. This season’s field is loaded with Louisville, Duke, Memphis, VCU, Minnesota, Northern Iowa, Stanford and Missouri.