Mike Aresco

Report: With much to be worked out Big East hasn’t split yet

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With the reports that came out on Thursday it seemed as if the splitting of the Big East Conference would be both quick and amicable. The seven schools previously dubbed the “Catholic 7” would get to leave at the end of the current academic year, and they would get the rights to the name as well.

But with the conference presidents meeting in Atlanta this weekend there’s a lot of work to be done in the move towards the creation of two separate leagues. That means the reports of a split being agreed to on Thursday were premature.

According to Mark Blaudschun the Big East presidents have yet to agree on anything, be it the financial terms of such a move or how to make the actual logistics work in time for the “new” Big East to cash in on a television deal proposed by Fox Sports.

People went into the meeting in Atlanta on Friday morning with an attitude of maybe we can do this, maybe we won’t–at least right away. Let’s look at the dollar figures, which are in the millions of dollars range.

All of this will eventually be worked  out. The Catholic 7 will leave in July. They will take the Big East name.

But….it might cost them more than they thought. And the word amicable is rapidly fading from the use of descriptions regarding the talks.

The devil is in the details as they say, and there are lots of details that must be worked out on both sides.

Blaudschun’s report follows one from CSNPhilly.com on Thursday night in which Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw denied that any agreement had been made between the two “entities.”

When asked to respond, Bradshaw said he had “no comment” because “no decisions have been made.” He referred to Thursday’s multiple reports as “rumors” and said he had “no idea where [they] came from.”

Fox Sports, which needs new inventory for the new all-sports channel that it’s creating (formerly the Speed Channel), helped grease the skids for a split with presidents of the seven schools all too willing to go along with given how much more money they stand to make.

On Thursday afternoon many, myself included, were of the belief that the Big East split could be unlike other moves in conference realignment, with administrators avoiding the catty behavior and lawsuits that can occur more often than not.

That could still happen, but given the amount of money at stake there’s the possibility (hell, likelihood) that some lawyers will be the ones who end up cashing in as well.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
Associated Press
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Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady returns home with team

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
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Wichita State forward Anton Grady was released from a hospital in Orlando on Sunday afternoon in time to return home with his Shocker teammates.

Grady suffered a spinal corn concussion on Friday when he collided head-first with an Alabama defender, snapping his head sharply to the side. He lay on the court motionless for 10 minutes after the injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher.

[RELATED: Can WSU still make tourney?]

“I want to send out a big thank you to Shocker Nation and all of my friends and family for of the love and encouragement that I have received the past few days,” Grady said in a statement on Sunday morning. “I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and appreciate every last one of them. I have a lot of work to do to get back on the court, but with the help of such a great support system, I’m ready for the challenge.”

By Friday night, Grady had feeling in all of his extremities, but he has a long road of rehab ahead of him.