- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. Missouri’s promise of putting on a college basketball tournament in December in Kansas City if it were to leave for the SEC won’t be such an easy outcome. Team-oriented invitational tournaments are dying in the sport. Few power-six schools play in these non-exempt two-game tournaments anymore. According to a tournament organizer, Missouri’s best option would be to play a semi-neutral series at the Sprint Center, like facing Gonzaga in year one and then playing the Zags in Seattle in year two. Play Connecticut in Boston in year one and UConn in KC in year two. Most non-elite tournaments have shut down because of the difficulty of scheduling these games.
2. The Big 12 tournament is in Kansas City in 2012, 2013 and 2014, rounding out the five-year run at the Sprint Center that began with the 2010 tournament. But any fear that attendance could drop significantly without Mizzou in possibly 2013 and 2014 shouldn’t be an issue for the league. Kansas City is a Kansas and Kansas State city first, as evidenced by the crowd at the championship game in 2010. I was there. I saw. The atmosphere was terrific for the two Kansas schools. Losing Mizzou takes away one of the local schools, but if other schools like Iowa State or Oklahoma State – two conference schools in hoops that have the potential to draw well – continue on an upward trajectory, the loss of Mizzou can be muted. And as long as Kansas and Kansas State are playing well, attendance won’t be an issue. If this tourney was in St. Louis, that could be a different matter. But it’s not.
3. Marquette returned Saturday from its three days outside Milwaukee, staying at a campground in log cabins, practicing in elementary and middle schools and bonding in preparation for a Big East top-five run. Roles are being defined and already there were some positive vibes coming out of the experience. Junior Cadougan is the lock at the point, Darius Johnson-Odom is his sidekick and the Golden Eagles are expecting consistent play out of Jae Crowder inside with lot of pressure on 6-foot-11 center Chris Otule, wing Vander Blue and Oregon transfer Jamil Wilson to produce to ensure the Eagles max their potential.