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Wednesday, September 4, 2013
3-point shot: Interesting scheduling

By Andy Katz

1. The Pac-12 released its television schedule Tuesday and the conference lucked out with at least a few set matchups at the end of the season. The Pac-12 hasn't historically looked to pencil in rivalries to end the year. And that didn't occur this season, either. But there's a good chance the season-ending Arizona-Oregon game in Eugene on March 8 could have Pac-12 title ramifications. The Wildcats and Ducks have played some late-possession games over the years and games in Eugene are usually rocking for these two teams. Colorado drew the toughest ending of a schedule by going to Stanford and Cal on March 5 and 8, respectively. The Buffaloes are a tournament team but any chance on competing for a top two or three finish might hinge on that final weekend. UCLA goes to Washington on March 5 in what has tended to be one of the best atmospheres in Seattle throughout the season. The wildcard in this final weekend race could be Arizona State. The Sun Devils will go to the Oregon schools (March 4 in Eugene on and March 8 in Corvallis) in what should end up being a critical weekend for their NCAA seed or berth.

2. Virginia coach Tony Bennett said he was indifferent as to whom the Cavaliers end the ACC regular-season schedule with when Maryland is off to the Big Ten in 2014-15. The Cavaliers have traditionally ended with the Terps and do so again this season, meeting in College Park. It should be a critical game for two teams with tournament aspirations. Bennett mentioned Virginia Tech as a possibility but wasn't married to it considering the Cavs and Hokies always play twice and those games can generate fan interest regardless of when they're on the schedule. The Cavs have three Big Monday games in the inaugural year of the event for the ACC: at Duke (Jan. 13), vs. North Carolina (Jan. 20) and vs. Maryland (Feb. 10). Virginia has a loaded nonconference slate, too, with games against James Madison (NCAA tourney team last season) Nov. 8, VCU (Nov. 12), Davidson in Charlotte (Nov. 16), vs. upstart SMU in Corpus Christi (Texas) on Nov. 29, Wisconsin (Dec. 4), at Green Bay (Dec. 7), Northern Iowa (Dec. 21) and at Tennessee (Dec. 30). Bennett said senior forward Akil Mitchell, who broke his hand, should be ready to go for practice. And there is no issue with senior Joe Harris, who missed the World University Games with a foot injury. Sophomore Mike Tobey might have had the best summer by making the gold-medal winning U-19 team in Prague, in which Bennett was an assistant coach.

3. My thoughts and prayers go out to Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, who lost his father Butch, who was 89, last week after he had been put in hospice in Florida. Bo and Butch were staples at the Final Four, nearly every year. I saw them almost always together in and around events at the Final Four. Bo's devotion to his father was touching. He doted on his dad, getting great pleasure in introducing him to everyone he would come into contact with at the event. The two looked alike and had similar mannerisms. Butch got Bo interested in the game and, like his son, was never short on words. Bo called as he was racing down to see his father in his final moments. He spoke so lovingly and glowingly about his father and what he meant to him. Bo was able to cherish moments like the Final Four with him even during his hectic schedule. Butch became a part of the college basketball community and around the Wisconsin program. He will be sorely missed.