College hoops still waiting on crucial detail from NBA lockout

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The NBA’s millionaires and billionaires finally agreed to start making money again. It probably won’t officially happen until Christmas Day, which leaves college basketball as the only hoops attention for the next month. (Small cheer.)

I can hear it now? “And? What’s this mean for me, Mike? Can you leave me alone while I watch Florida State and UConn?”

Well, sometime between now and then, those millionaires and billionaires also will agree on what to do about the NBA draft’s minimum-age rule.

See, right now there’s an initial agreement. Plenty of things are still on the table, including the age rule. Here’s the latest from ProBasketballTalk:

In early proposals the owners wanted to move it to age 20 — essentially two-and-dones. The players have said this is something they want to see moved back to age 18. Expect this to move to 20 or stay the same — this is a more important issue for owners. They do not want to go back to scouting high school players again, both for the expense of it and the unpredictability of the picks. The owners like the idea of more college ball during which time players can be evaluated, plus the NCAA hype machine can already start turning them into stars fans want to follow. Both good things for the owners. Which is why they want this more than the players want the issue moved back to age 18.

At worst, it’s a status quo of guys like John Wall and Kyrie Irving playing one season, then taking off. (Some say that’s the more likely scenario.) At best, it’ll be more of what we’ve seen this season where the game’s best players like Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger, Terrence Jones and Perry Jones are still playing college hoops.

(Of course, those four choose to stay in school, so it’s not quite the same thing. But you get the point.)

It could be settled by Monday. And it might be the first time I’ve ever looked forward to a Monday.

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Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.