Kevin Ollie

Report: UConn Athletic Director denies Catholic 7 rumors

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The defection of the Catholic 7 and Louisville’s recent acceptance to the ACC, have left teams like UConn and Cincinnati left in a Big East Conference that looks more and more like Conference USA.

Both Cincinnati and UConn are looking for new homes and Friday, following a meeting among Big East administrators in Dallas, rumors began to surface that the two remaining Big East schools could join the Catholic 7 in all sports, but football, and take the gridiron as part of the Mountain West Conference.

Mark Blaudschun reported that Friday evening:

According to sources at Connecticut, some UConn officials were considering a plan which would keep the Huskies with the Catholic 7–Marquette, DePaul, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Villanova and Providence, as well as Cincinnati.

He went on to suggest that UConn could play football for the MWC, C-USA, or even the MAC.

However, that report is quickly being disputed by the UConn Athletic Director, Warde Manuel, according to the Hartford Courant.

“We’ve never had a conversation,” Manuel told Paul Doyle and Desmond Conner on Friday evening. “Our intent is to work with the remaining members of the Big East and the current members coming in. That’s been our intent all along. We have not had a conversation with any other group, any other conference, period. I have not had any conversations.”

According to the report from the Courant, Mike Aresco, the Big East commissioner held the meeting to discussing expansion and a television rights package among other things.

Doyle and Conner also reported that current Big East schools Cincinnati and South Florida were in attendance, as well as future members Central Florida, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, Navy, San Diego State, Temple and Tulane.

The remains of the Big East continue to have an unclear future.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.