- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. Rice transfer Arsalan Kazemi has proven to be better than advertised so far for Oregon. The Ducks coaching staff has found him to be an elite rebounder, the most physical player on the team, and possessing a high basketball IQ. He has picked up the Oregon system quickly. Now, the question is will he be eligible for this season? Oregon is awaiting word on Kazemi’s waiver to play immediately instead of sitting out the season. The Ducks are hoping to hear by the end of this week or at the latest by next week before the season opener against Northern Arizona on Nov. 10.
2. There has been no movement for Pitt to play West Virginia in the near future in either football or men’s basketball. Scheduling in the Big 12 and the ACC could prevent the two schools from renewing their rivalry. Pitt has a pecking order in football of keeping Penn State first. And in men’s basketball the Panthers must keep a game with Duquesne. West Virginia’s nine-game schedule in the Big 12 and Pitt’s preference for Penn State first make it more difficult. The best-case scenario for this rivalry to continue would be for the two schools to come up with a similar solution to Florida and Florida State. The two Sunshine State rivals play a basketball game on the same weekend they play a football game. Creating a one-weekend event would make the most sense -- if the two sides could agree to a format and possible site rotation.
3. San Diego coach Billy Grier has led quite a turnaround for the Toreros, who were picked fifth in the WCC poll behind Gonzaga, BYU, Saint Mary’s and Loyola Marymount. San Diego, a year removed from a point-shaving scandal being uncovered, finished four-straight seasons under .500 in the WCC after reaching the NCAA tournament and beating UConn in 2008. Grier is high on his backcourt and loves his depth inside, but they need to defend. He said he has a sleeper inside in 6-9 Dutch freshman Jito Kok. Meanwhile, Grier added another wrinkle to what he’d like to see in terms of possible punishment for coaches after the NCAA adopted a tougher penalty for a head coach if a violation occurs on the staff: “I wish they could come up with a way to clean up tampering,’’ said Grier.