1. The NCAA has lacked consistency on granting waivers, whether for an ill relative, in the wake of a coaching firing, following an NCAA violation or any other issue. But the national office cannot, rationally, be inconsistent on waivers when it deals with the same case. If a former Rutgers player is eligible immediately at a new school (Mike Poole at Iona and Vincent Garrett at Green Bay) because he fled the reign of former coach Mike Rice, then a new player (Kerwin Okoro or J.J. Moore) should be granted the same treatment and be allowed to play at Rutgers immediately. Okoro's case, involving the loss of his brother and father, has been well documented -- he clearly has a sympathetic reason to be granted a waiver. But there is a fairness issue for Rutgers that should come into play if departed players are getting a better deal. Two more -- Derrick Randall at Pitt and Eli Carter at Florida -- may also get immediate eligibility. The only break the Scarlet Knights got was when Jerome Seagears was not penalized after he came back to Rutgers from Auburn two months after announcing he would transfer. New Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan said Wednesday there is another appeal coming for Okoro, with a different set of eyes and ears to evaluate the grievances. He said he's hopeful there will be a sensible conclusion.
2. Connecticut announced its schedule but not locations for all home games. That's because the Huskies still don't have a deal with their Hartford home, the XL Center. But, UConn athletic director Warde Manuel said, "because of timing of transition of management of XL, we are finalizing terms for this year and we will talk long-term arrangement in the near future. We will continue to play games at XL.'' The Huskies have a strong home schedule. UConn hosts headline teams Florida (Dec. 2), Stanford (Dec. 18), Harvard (Jan. 8), Louisville (Jan. 18), Temple (Jan. 21), Memphis (Feb. 15) and Cincinnati (March 1). The only home game on this list that has a designated home court is the Louisville game, at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, because it has been tabbed for ESPN's "College GameDay" and the Saturday prime-time slot.
3. With teams returning from their foreign excursions, follow-up reports are trickling in. Vanderbilt, during its time in Greece and Italy, found out just how much it will rely on guard Dai-Jon Parker; the Commodores were also able to reinforce a pre-trip theory that Tulsa transfer Eric McClellan will be the primary point guard. The staff was also high on the impact of 6-foot-10 center Damian Jones and expects him to be one of the better first-year posts in the SEC (he'll need to be, with players like Kentucky's Julius Randle coming into the league). There is now a chance James Siakam can play power forward, allowing Rod Odom to play his more natural small forward. The hope is that Odom can take care of mismatches at power forward.; Siakam will need to be the glue guy, and can provide the necessary energy. The Commodores have only nine players on scholarship, so this trip was a must to create bonds and give them a head start on what could be a challenging season. Expectations are low, giving Vandy and coach Kevin Stallings plenty of head room to be a surprise in what is a wide-open SEC beyond Kentucky and Florida.