Friday, June 1, 2012
3-point shot: UConn watching Smith case
By Andy Katz
1. UNLV is seeking a waiver for Roscoe Smith to play immediately after transferring from UConn. The problem is that Smith is going to be a junior and the rule clearly states that a player can be eligible immediately only if a postseason ban is the length of his remaining eligibility. UConn's ban is only one year. That’s why rising senior Alex Oriakhi of UConn could play at Missouri without sitting out. UConn officials are watching what the NCAA does with Smith's case closely, and, according to a source, aren’t happy that it’s even being broached. A source said that giving Smith a waiver would open the floodgates to allow other players to leave immediately. There have been no requests from any other players. But if Smith is granted a waiver then it would essentially be a new way to implement the rule. The Runnin’ Rebels are making the case that Smith won’t get a chance to play in the postseason if he stayed. But the source said the postseason isn’t guaranteed so a waiver based on this case makes no sense to the Huskies.
2. Butler’s early move to the Atlantic 10 means Horizon League teams are trying to replace two games. Preseason favorite and last season’s regular-season champ Valparaiso is looking to replace the Bulldogs with a similar high-profile game. The Crusaders, who traditionally struggle to get home games, are at Nebraska, Missouri State and Kent State and are trying to get games with New Mexico and Kansas, both on the road, but not exclusive to those schools. The Crusaders will have a strong schedule, but it won’t be at home.
3. UCLA put out its schedule Thursday and the Bruins have three to four games that will ultimately judge their season and possibly the Pac-12's season. The league and the Bruins have struggled in nonconference games the past two seasons. The onus is on the Bruins to perform well in November and December. That means the Legends Classic game against either Georgetown or Georgia in the semifinal is a must win, assuming Indiana beats the other team to set up a UCLA-Indiana final on Nov. 20 in Brooklyn. The Bruins also play San Diego State in Anaheim and Texas in Houston on Dec. 1 and 8, respectively. That means the Bruins should know if they’ve built a postseason résumé by early December.