It’s finally here!
As of noon on Friday, college basketball season will have officially begun, which more or less means that November 9th is Christmas morning for everyone that writes (and, hopefully, reads) this site.
So without further ado, here are the 60 things that we’re looking forward to the most this season. Feel free to add any and everything you’re looking forward to in the comments. We’ll be reading them!
- Kentucky vs. Louisville. (Each and every one of us)
- The bewildered look on the faces of Missouri superfans when they get a load of Big Blue Nation. (EA)
- The Interlude Dance. (RD)
- The carrot cake at Madison Square Garden. (TM)
- The Pac-12 fighting for national respect. (RJ)
- Utah State fans proving that they deserve to be rescued from the wreckage of the USS WAC. (EA)
- KFC Yum! full of dead-eyed, staring Cardinal masks. (EA)
- The Mark Turgeon-John Calipari postgame handshake on Nov. 9 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Will the Harrison twins be watching? (DM)
- Jeff Withey going for the especially elusive points/rebounds/blocks triple double. (EA)
- Chris Mack getting so desperate for bench depth that he holds sack races on consecutive Thursdays for two roster spots for Xavier students. (DH)
- Rick Pitino announcing he will be cryogenicly frozen after death and will remain on the Louisville sideline, posthumously. (DH)
- RUSS. FREAKIN’. SMITH. (RD)
- College pep band battles. Sometimes they’re better than the games themselves. (DH)
- Gameday at NC State, who is looking for its first ACC regular season title since 1989. (EA)
- Vegas in March. WCC, Mountain West, Pac-12 and WAC all having their conference tournaments there. (RJ)
- Pouring out some liquor for the WAC on the Vegas strip. (RD)
- Indiana fans NOT storming the floor because they’re receiving external validation again. (EA)
- The sights and sounds at the arena 30 minutes before tip-off. (TM)
- Late-night West Coast tip-offs. Nothing better on a Thursday night than some 11:45PM WCC action. (TM)
- Small conference postseason tournaments. One bid, no mercy. (DH)
- Multi-screen Saturday afternoons. (TM)
- Is it out of the question for WKU’s Big Red and Syracuse’s Otto the Orange to have a no-holds-barred MMA fight? Because I’d be really, really excited to see that. (EA)
- The top five of the Mountain West (SDSU, UNLV, New Mexico, Colorado State, Nevada). (RJ)
- The top six in the Atlantic 10 (St. Joe’s, VCU, Butler, UMass, Temple, St. Louis). (RD)
- All of us tweeting pics of our snacks and energy drinks for the 24-hour college hoops marathon. (RJ)
- Richmond vs. VCU twice and possibly three times this season. (EA)
- Lehigh vs. Bucknell. Two times guaranteed, and probably a third meeting in the Patriot League title game. (RJ)
- Isaiah Canaan and Murray State vs. Kerron Johnson and Belmont. (RJ)
- Jim Boeheim and Rick Pitino both said the other was “full of s—“ at Big East media day. They’ll settle the score on Jan. 19. (DM)
- What will Seton Hall do without the theatrics of Mr. Peter Dill? (DM)
- The ridiculous colors that apparel companies can come up for specialty uniforms. (RD)
- The chronic hand pains associated with remote control over-usage. (TM)
- The melodious tones of ESPN’s College Hoops intro music. (TM)
- Bill Raftery’s jibberish. (RD)
- The Programming: Big Monday, Holiday Hoops Week, Rivalry Week, Campus Connection Week, Gutcheck Saturday, BracketBusters, Championship Week. (TM)
- The feeling you get when you peruse a Summit League box score. (TM)
- Mike Wilder and his All-Conference afro. Best.Afro.Ever. (TM)
- Rotnei Clarke’s impeccably manicured faux-hawk . (RD)
- The throbbing veins in Frank Martin’s neck. (EA)
- Gyratin’ Jimmy Patsos. (EA)
- Buzz Williams’ sideline antics. You know he’s good for a handful of entertaining moments. (TM)
- San Diego State’s attempt to cement itself as the best team in SoCal when they get USC and UCLA the same week. (RJ)
- Steve Masiello’s quest to lead Manhattan to the NCAA tournament. (RJ)
- Minnesota’s potential to be a factor in the Big Ten race, provided everyone stays out of trouble. (RJ)
- How Saint Louis responds without Rick Majerus on the sidelines and with PG Kwamain Mitchell missing time. (DM)
- The visible frustration experienced by an offensive player trying to escape Aaron Craft. (EA)
- Can Michigan regain this swagger? (DM)
- The mini-NCAA Tournament….I mean, The Battle for Atlantis. (DH)
- The resurrection of the complete Tobacco Road Rivalry. (DH)
- Can Drexel finally win the CAA? Haven’t gone dancing since Malik Rose was running things in Philadelphia. (RJ)
- Kevin Ollie’s quest to “take the stairs” when his AD put him a situation that’s tough. (RJ)
- Shaka Smart unleashing “havoc” on the A-10. (DM)
- The Big Sky debut of the North Dakota Human Beings. (EA)
- Larry Brown is in his first year at SMU. He helped changed their image on the recruiting front, but can he win in year one? (DM)
- The St. Joe’s hawk flapping and flapping and flapping in the limelight again. (EA)
- Nate Wolters ability to fill up a stat sheet. (DH)
- The evolution of Ryan Harrow. (DH)
- How all those transfers blend in at Missouri. (DH)
- Old school Big 12 fans screaming in terror when the WVU mountain man fires his flintlock
- Bo Ryan slowing things down even more at Wisconsin while breaking in a couple of inexperienced point guards. (EA)
The NCAA has alleged that former South Florida assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided roughly $500 in impermissible benefits and initially lied to NCAA investigators about it, according to the Tampa Bay Times, who obtained the NCAA’s summary disposition report.
Oliver Antigua is the younger brother of Orlando Antigua, who was the head coach at USF until he was fired in January. Now an assistant on Brad Underwood’s staff at Oklahoma State, Orlando was not alleged to have committed an NCAA violation in the report.
Oliver is alleged to have provided the extra benefits to two student-athletes while they were being tutored by the sister-in-law of Gerald Gillion, a special assistant to Orlando who resigned last fall, four months after Oliver did. USF has already self-imposed a $5,000 and reduced their scholarships from 13 to 12, according to the report.
“The University of South Florida and the NCAA continue to work together to resolve the inquiry into violations of NCAA bylaws and university standards by a USF intercollegiate athletic program,” according to a statement released by the school. “USF anticipates having a final resolution with the NCAA sometime this fall. Until the process concludes and the matter is fully resolved, USF cannot provide further comment.”
Villanova added its first recruit in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday night.
Jay Wright and his staff landed a verbal commitment from Paul VI Catholic High School’s Brandon Slater, a four-star guard by Rivals as the No. 42 overall prospect in the rising senior class.
The 6-foot-5 Slater announced his decision via Twitter.
Slater, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN, picked the Wildcats over Maryland, Miami, South Carolina, and Virginia.
He is currently playing the Nike EYBL with Team Takeover, the same grassroots program that produced current Villanova guard Phil Booth.
Providence will play its first game at Alumni Hall, the on-campus facility, for the first time in 35 years this fall.
The Friars unveiled their 2017-18 non-conference schedule on Thursday afternoon. The team’s home opener will play either Houston Baptist or Belmont in Mullaney Gym inside Alumni Hall.
According to Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal, the reason for that is a schedule conflict at Providence’s home arena, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, in downtown Providence. A Comic-Con convention is scheduled Nov. 10-12. As McNamara notes, it’s a busy part of the season for The Dunk. The arena also is home to the Providence Bruins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Boston Bruins, and by mid-November, their season is in full swing.
The Friars haven’t played at Alumni Hall since 1972, the same year the Dunkin’ Donuts Center was opened. In the three decades since Providence last played a regular season game there, the facility has gone under necessary renovations, as you could imagine. Even with added seats, Mullaney Gym can host a maximum of 1,549. That’s a fraction of what The Dunk’s capacity of 12,400.
Providence will return to its downtown home on Nov. 13, hosting Minnesota as part of the Gavitt Games. The Golden Gophers will likely be a top-20 team to open the season. The Friars, who bring back every notable player from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, is a fringe top-25 team.
The already-thin Illinois roster got thinner on Thursday afternoon.
Evan Daniels of Scout.com reported that sophomore guard Jalen Coleman-Lands has requested and received his release from the program. He will have to sit out next season but will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Coleman-Lands was a top-40 recruit in the Class of 2015, according to Rivals. He becomes the second player from that recruiting class this month to exit the school. Reserve guard D.J. Williams elected to transfer on May 8. With Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett, two incoming recruits, both previously reopened their recruitments following John Groce’s firing.
Even with the addition of Wright State graduate transfer Mark Alstork, who officially joined the Fighting Illini on Wednesday, Illinois is left with only nine scholarship players as of right now.
Coleman-Lands’ production dipped from his freshman campaign, ending the 2016-17 season averaging 8.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, shooting 38 percent from three.
One destination that will likely be rumored will be nearby DePaul. Coleman-Lands played for new DePaul assistant coach Shane Heirman at prep school powerhouse La Lumiere School. Heriman quickly tapped into that prep pipeline, helping secure a commitment from La Lumiere from five-star 2019 point guard Tyger Campbell earlier this month.
Coleman-Lands had taken official visits to Notre Dame and UNLV before committing to the Illini in September 2014.
North Carolina is still trying to convince the NCAA that their investigation into the paper classes given by the university’s African-American Studies Department is not, in fact, an NCAA matter.
On Thursday afternoon, the University released their response to the NCAA’s third iteration of the Notice of Allegations, and the core argument in that response is that the school’s “inadequate academic oversight” does not fall under the jurisdiction of the NCAA’s bylaws. In other words, North Carolina is arguing that a rogue professor creating fake classes is not an NCAA issue. It’s a school issue.
What’s more, North Carolina is also arguing that athletes taking these classes should not be classified as an extra benefit because they were available to the entire student body.
“No special arrangements were made for student-athletes in violation of NCAA extra-benefit legislation,” the response reads. “Student-athletes were not treated differently than other students who took the Courses.”
“The public narrative for the last six years, popularized by media accounts, is that Department of Athletics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took advantage of ‘fake classes’ in the Department of African and African-American Studies to keep student-athletes eligible. That narrative is wrong and contradicted by the facts in the record.”
The NCAA’s allegations center around the idea that UNC’s athletes, most notably members of the football and men’s and women’s basketball teams, were guided to the fake classes within that department in order to keep their GPAs high enough to remain eligible. The classes in question had a disproportionate percentage of athletes.
A hearing in front of the Committee on Infractions is expected to take place at some point this summer.