- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. The NCAA's APR postseason penalty ban is no joke and has taken three legit teams out of contention for a NCAA tournament berth as well as eliminated two NIT spots. UConn would have been an NCAA team and if for some reason the Huskies weren't then they would have certainly been an NIT team with a record of 9-7 in the Big East, 19-9. Towson had a 17.5-win turnaround, tying Bryant for the best turnaround in the NCAA, finished the season second in the CAA with a record of 13-5 (18-13 overall) and would have had a legit shot to win the Colonial tournament. Texas Southern, led by former Indiana and UAB coach Mike Davis in his first season, won the SWAC and normally that would have earned it an automatic NIT berth if TSU didn't win the SWAC tournament. But Texas Southern can't go to the NIT either, which means the SWAC likely won't get an NIT berth. Texas Southern finished 16-2, 17-14 overall.
2. UCLA coach Ben Howland didn't try to hide Shabazz Muhammad's plans after the Bruins victory against Arizona Saturday. Howland said Muhammad had played his last game at Pauley Pavilion. He told reporters that he knew he would be at UCLA for one year and was a realist about the situation. And that is refreshing. There will be no unnecessary questions during the NCAA tournament about whether or not Muhammad is leaving for the NBA. He's gone. Howland knew it when he recruited him. The same is mostly true for a number of elite players John Calipari recruits at Kentucky and whoever lands Andrew Wiggins for next season's class. There is always a chance that a player destined to leave early comes back for his sophomore season. But when it is already decided, as in the case of Muhammad, there's no reason to dismiss the subject. This way it is a non-starter in the NCAA tournament. We all know the decision and can move on.
3. Creighton drew 18,613 fans to the Missouri Valley Conference title showdown against Wichita State Saturday in Omaha. The Bluejays regularly draw 17,000 and rank sixth nationally in attendance. The majority of the departing Big East Catholic 7 schools would love to average that attendance. And this is exactly why Creighton is the favorite to be the 10th team when the league is formed with Xavier and Butler. The new Big East wants basketball-centric schools where the facilities and fan base provide a basketball atmosphere that rivals any other school in the country. Flying to Omaha is a connection through Chicago for a number of schools. Providence, Seton Hall, DePaul and St. John's should and likely will welcome Creighton. Marquette is already on board. Georgetown and Villanova shouldn't have issues, either.