1. Marshall’s chances of wrestling the Conference USA title away from Memphis increased dramatically with the news that Dennis Tinnon will receive another year of eligibility. Tinnon averaged 10 points and 10 boards for the Thundering Herd. The 6-8 forward should be one of the top forwards in Conference USA. Coach Tom Herrion said the decision on Tinnon was a major development for Marshall and changes the complexion of this team. He said there was no Plan B for Tinnon or the Herd if this fell through. Marshall should have one of the top inside-out combos in the league with DeAndre Kane and Tinnon. Memphis coach Josh Pastner said Marshall is “loaded” and should be the favorite. But it’s hard to look past Memphis’ talent pool and put Marshall ahead of them, even with the departures of Will Barton and Wesley Witherspoon. Still, Marshall could legitimately push Memphis for the title and not having the tournament in Memphis (it’s in Tulsa) takes away a major advantage in March.
2. Providence coach Ed Cooley said that the best-case scenario for highly-touted newcomer guard Kris Dunn is for him to be ready to play by December after right shoulder surgery. Meanwhile, Cooley said that Ricky Ledo isn’t going to be in summer school because he’s not eligible. But Cooley said he remains optimistic that Ledo will get through the NCAA Eligibility Center in time to play in the fall. Cooley does have one significant player to count on in his second season. He said Vincent Council “is the best guard in the Big East.’’ He said watching him work out this week reassured him of this fact even more.
3. Denver officials weren’t initially talking about the Pioneers becoming members of the WAC on Sunday. But men’s basketball coach Joe Scott offered up a few statements Thursday about the move. “The league will be good for us,’’ said Scott of the Pioneers’ first-year in the WAC with fellow new members Seattle, UTA, Texas State and UTSA before the latter three jet off to the Sun Belt and C-USA, respectively. The league will also say goodbye in 2013 to Utah State and San Jose State (MWC) and Louisiana Tech (C-USA). “We’ve got to do well in the WAC this year. We’ve got four starters back from a 22-win team.’’ Denver would love to be with other like teams and get an invite from the WCC. But that’s not an option at this point. “We just have to do as well as we can in the WAC, win as many games as we can and hope things have a way of working out. Hopefully good things will happen. It’s a fluid situation out there.’’