There have been a couple updates in the past two days in regards to the status of the Catholic 7, the group of seven non-football playing members of the Big East that broke off from the league last month.
First and foremost, from Pete Thamel of SI.com, it appears as if VCU has become a serious candidate to be added to the conference, along with Xavier and Butler:
Sources say that talk about VCU for that spot has intensified the past few weeks, although it’s not clear how strongly VCU is being considered. VCU does not fit the template of private and religious schools. But there’s been discussion that it could be foolish to ignore VCU’s basketball success for the past decade, modern facilities and rabid fan base.
Thamel also provides some information in that report regarding a potential television contract between the new conference and FOX. A couple of notes: the league is looking for a 12-year deal worth around $3 million per school, and they are meeting today to discuss it. That’s roughly the same figure that Darren Rovell reported that the league was looking for over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Dennis Dodd reported earlier this week that the Big East, back before the Cathlolic 7 announced their split, asked for $300 million annually from ESPN. Their broadcast rights were reportedly valued around $60-$80 million a year.
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Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.
Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.
Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.
Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.
Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.
Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).
In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.