Kevin Ollie

Kevin Ollie wisely adds series with Ohio State, Arizona

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On Wednesday afternoon, UConn and head coach Kevin Ollie announced that they had added a pair of series with elite programs.

The Huskies will be playing a home-and-home with Ohio State beginning in 2015-2016 and following that up with a series against Arizona in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.

I know, I know, I know. Celebrating schedules for games that two teams are planning on playing in five years is a little bit much, but there is some significance here for the Huskies. Ohio State is one of the four best programs in the Big Ten and probably, at worst, a top 15 program nationally. Arizona is in the midst of a resurgence under Sean Miller. I’m not sure there are five programs stronger than the one currently being built in Tucson.

And UConn?

Well, they’re coming off of their second national title in four years and their fourth in the last 15 seasons. They’re among the elite, but they aren’t in an elite conference. They play in the American, and while Memphis, Cincinnati and Temple are strong programs and the like of SMU, Houston and Tulsa appear to be on the way up, the Huskies aren’t playing in the ACC or the Big Ten. There aren’t going to be seven or eight tournament teams in the American. They’re not going to have four or five top 25 teams in their ranks.

That means that UConn’s strength of schedule is going to take a hit, comparatively, in league play, which makes it a priority for them to put together stronger non-conference schedules. They put together a strong one this season, with games against Duke, Florida, Texas and Stanford in addition to their trip to a tournament in Puerto Rico.

That is going to have to become the norm for the Huskies.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.