- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. I want to make sure there is clarity in the NCAA tournament regional dome issue from Wednesday's 3-point shot. The NCAA is no longer mandating that a regional be played in a dome a year in advance of a Final Four at that site. The committee and the new leadership under Vice President Mark Lewis would rather the atmosphere be in arenas over domes in regionals. But that doesn't mean they won't award them to domes when sites are decided in 2014 for the events in 2017-2020. If there is a new dome, even in an old familiar Final Four city like in Atlanta, then there is a strong chance the new dome would get a regional for a test run. There is no longer a mandate, however, which is a clear distinction. There are still a few dome regionals already scheduled in 2014 with Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium in advance of the 2015 Final Four in Indy and then in 2015 with one at Houston's Reliant Stadium in preparation for the 2016 Final Four in Houston. The Carrier Dome is hosting in 2015 as well, but Syracuse's home arena isn't in the same category since it isn't a Final Four site.
2. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has charged the basketball staff to look at some scheduling options to help out incoming members Maryland and Rutgers on the East Coast. One challenge or scheduling agreement that was circulated in infancy stages was with the Big East. But like the once and failed proposed deal with the Pac-12, figuring out how to schedule with another conference can be cumbersome. The Big Ten already has the marquee challenge with the ACC. Some schools in the Big Ten have locked in nonconference rivalry games, or neutral-site commitments. It leaves little room for another forced challenge. The other problem with doing a Big Ten-Big East deal is that games already exist. Creighton-Nebraska, Marquette-Wisconsin, Rutgers-Seton Hall are games between the two conferences (Rutgers will join the Big Ten in 2014-15). Butler-Indiana and Butler-Purdue are on a rotation of playing against each other every other year (Notre Dame plays Indiana/Purdue the other year). DePaul has played Northwestern and could ensure that game occurs, or one against Illinois for DePaul. Having Ohio State play Xavier, Villanova-Penn State (not a reach) and then the holy grail of trying to convince Maryland and Georgetown to play could actually be recast as a challenge. The problem would be finding two teams that make sense to play Providence and St. John's. This is all still a reach and the Big Ten isn't going to look at any of this until after a year of watching the new Big East.
3. The A-10 released its conference matchups for next season. Dayton drew Richmond, Saint Joseph's, Saint Louis and Rhode Island twice. The Flyers won't be playing Xavier at all since the Musketeers are no longer in the A-10, but there was no chance to play in a nonconference game for the two longtime rivals. Xavier coach Chris Mack said with 18 conference games instead of 16 previously for the Musketeers, playing Dayton wasn't a reality for next season. Existing contracts could make it tougher in the future. Meanwhile, Flyers coach Archie Miller said Xavier's scheduling issues and other nonconference contracts made it impossible to schedule the game this season. He's unsure about the future of the series.