1. The inaugural Carrier Classic last November was one of the coolest events I've covered the past 22 years. Everything about it was unique: an outdoor game, on the deck of an active carrier, the historical significance as being the ship that dealt with the remains of Osama Bin Laden, the presence and official way in which the Navy hosts a U.S. president and the game involving a top-ranked team (North Carolina) and another elite program (Michigan State). Having three games on ships or bases does dilute the product in 2012 (Syracuse-San Diego State in San Diego; Marquette-Ohio State in Charleston; Georgetown-Florida in Jacksonville). But one thing I learned last year was how much these games help with the morale of those in uniform. These games are for them and for the players to truly appreciate their service. And that alone makes the plethora of games more than palatable.
2. Georgetown coach John Thompson III said his team will be ready for a challenging slate of games (Florida in Jacksonville, Texas in New York, Tennessee in DC, UCLA and or Indiana in Brooklyn). Thompson said he feels very comfortable his underclassmen will excel, led by Otto Porter. "This group can handle it," Thompson III said. The Hoyas did lose Henry Sims and Hollis Thompson but JT3 isn't worried about a major dip of any sort. He sound like this team will be a major factor in the Big East.
3. Incoming Memphis freshman forward Shaq Goodwin had quite a U18 USA debut with 30 points in a blowout win over the Virgin Islands Saturday in Brazil. Memphis coach Josh Pastner doesn't expect that kind of production, but said Goodwin can score in a variety of ways off offensive rebounds, in the paint and trail 3s. Pastner is mostly looking forward to coaching a player who he said has a high motor that doesn't need a jump start. Goodwin should infuse even more life into practice.