As we stroll around the internet today, what do we find? Well, first of all, Yahoo! Sports soldiers on with their conference previews, with Nos. 27, 28, and 29 (the Big South, Southland, and American East, respectively). Lets work our way backwards through these, shall we?
- Given the turnover, I'm shocked the American East isn't ranked even lower in this preview. They've been last or next-to-last in conference RPI two seasons running, and lost a lot of high-end talent to graduation and transfer (Four McGlynn, Gerardo Suero, Jake O'Brien just as a few examples). That said, Stony Brook appears to be at the top of a weak crop, and intent on using the baseball team's success as a guideline.
- Next is the Southland, where the defending champ (UTSA) is gone, but they have been replaced by the equally (or more) formidable Oral Roberts, who lost a couple stars to graduation but still are likely the most talented of the group. Lamar lost four starters from last year's talented team, but Pat Knight took a page from the
I'm As Nutty As My FatherGo Off And Get Noticed recruiting technique that might actually be working for him.
- Third in line (or first?) is the Big South. where there appears to be no clear leader heading into the season, except for Coastal Carolina's minor advantage of getting to host the entire conference tournament in their brand new home arena. Charleston Southern is a contender with a couple of guards that nobody wanted - now they just need something else to compliment that production in order to make a name in the conference this season.
~ ESPN's Andy Katz - ever and for always at the forefront of covering everything you ever need about college basketball - makes mention of the dilemma C-USA may face when it comes time to realign their eventual 14-team conference in order to create and/or protect rivalries, natural or otherwise. Here's hoping they can find a solution for FAU or UAB beyond "oh well, you guys don't really fit here, so just pair up and make nice."We should have more on this in the future.
~ In the "Good News for Some" category, California legislature has passed a law to protect student-athletes. It does so by requiring schools to give academic scholarships to any athletes who lose their academic scholarships via injury, and also essentially pay their medical expenses. Great, right? One tiny catch - it only applies to USC, UCLA, Cal, and Stanford - and only Stanford had the decency to object to the exclusive list of schools covered under the legislation. We might have more on this one, as well.
~ In continuing his Three Big Things series on the contenders, another mid-major appears in the form of the MVC's Creighton Bluejays. In the words of Inigo Montoya, "there is no much time, lemme sum up." Creighton was very offensively efficient last year - fifth best in the country - which was largely but not solely the work of the huge year Doug McDermott had. This season, they need to improve defensively to contend, which is very possible given they lost only one regular rotation player in the offseason.