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Thursday, December 22, 2011
3-point shot: Pac-12 could've sent message

By Andy Katz

1. The Pac-12 missed a chance to send a strong message by just reprimanding Arizona State’s Ruslan Pateev for throwing a punch at Southern Miss player Torye Pelham. Pelham threw the first pop and was ejected for it, but Pateev’s retaliation from behind wasn’t justified, either. The Pac-12 should have suspended Pateev for at least one game in addition to the NCAA-mandated suspension. That would have put Pateev out for the Pac-12 opener against Arizona. The league missed a chance to send a message rather than cluttering up the initial reaction by taking credit for a suspension that is already mandated by the NCAA.

2. Saint Joseph’s and the NCAA could have made the Todd O’Brien story disappear if eacch entity simply gave a reason for why his  wavier to play was rejected. Transparency on this issue shouldn’t be a student privacy act. If the reason that his wavier -- which asked for him to play immediately as a grad student at UAB -- was rejected was because it was his third school in five years (he started at Bucknell), then simply say it. If it was something else, then divulge that reason. I’m not sure when the NCAA and its members will ever learn that giving reasons why something is approved or dismissed can answer questions and limit the traction of stories.

3. If it weren’t for a double-overtime loss to Belmont and a rare blip that was a 10-point loss at UAB, Middle Tennessee might be getting as much pub as Murray State. Blue Raiders assistant Monte Towe, the former NC State assistant, was pushing his team earlier this season, stating that they should be taken more seriously. He’s right. The win at UCLA was no fluke. The Blue Raiders won handily at Ole Miss on Wednesday night and head into the Sun Belt with an 11-2 record as the clear co-favorite with Denver. If Middle Tennessee and Denver end up in a Sun Belt final, the winner will not be a team anyone will want to face early in the NCAA tournament.