Roundball chatter

Each week I'll write about the sport I love, college basketball:

• We should have a great Final Four in New Orleans. Kentucky vs. Louisville and Ohio State against Kansas should be super! Both are rematches from the regular season as Kentucky won by seven on December 31. Kansas beat Ohio State by 11 on December 10th but Jared Sullinger was injured. Wow, Pitino vs. Calipari and Self vs. Matta, all four coaches have been to the Final Four before. It should be awesome, baby with a capital A!

• I wish all the best to Bobby Cremins, who announced his retirement from college coaching. He was class personified at Georgia Tech and the College of Charleston. The sport will clearly miss him.

• I would like to see a couple of changes in college basketball. I feel referees should work no more than four times a week and receive some more money to make up for lost games. You would see improved quality of officiating if guys didn't have to travel as much. I would also like to see fouls in a game raised to six. I saw too many tourney games where guys sat on the pine after picking up an early second foul.

• The coaching rumor mill has been running wild as well. Shaka Smart decided to turn down an offer from Illinois, instead staying at VCU. Dana Altman said he will be back at Oregon despite report of interest by Nebraska. Bill Carmody will be back at Northwestern. Tim Miles left Colorado State and took the job at Nebraska.

• Arizona State suffered a blow when leading scorer Trent Lockett asked to be released from his scholarship. The reason he wants out is sad -- he recently found out his mother has cancer and he wants to be closer to home to be near her. I wish him and his family all the best during this difficult time.

• There were others who decided to transfer. Michigan sophomore Evan Smotrycz, a significant contributor who played in all 69 games in two seasons with the Wolverines, is leaving Ann Arbor. He averaged seven points and 19.4 minutes per game during those two seasons. Alex Oriakhi is leaving Connecticut, in part due to the school's likely ban from next year's NCAA tournament due to APR issues.

• This is also the time of year where players declare for the NBA draft. Among those going to the pros include Will Barton of Memphis, Austin Rivers of Duke, Moe Harkless of St. John's and Iowa State's Royce White.

• Minnesota recently received good news when forward Trevor Mbakwe was granted a sixth season of eligibility. The 6-8 power forward missed most of last season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Now we will have to see if Mbakwe decides to return; at least he has the option to come back.