Each week I'll write about the sport I love, college basketball:
• Mike Brey is the third all-time winningest coach in Notre Dame basketball history and currently the third-longest tenured coach in the BIG EAST Conference. He was rewarded for those stats by receiving a new 10-year contract from the school. It is well-deserved as Brey is a class act and a super leader. Last season, when Tim Abromaitis was injured, Notre Dame's expectations were lowered. You could not tell that to Brey, who had his team flying high. His new deal will run through 2022.
• We will see a Pitino vs. Pitino rivalry. Louisville and Florida International announced a three-game series that will start on December 19th. Rick Pitino coaches the Louisville Cardinals; his son and former assistant coach Richard Pitino was hired earlier this year to take over at FIU. It should be an interesting showdown.
• Coach K made it official recently when he announced Andre Dawkins would redshirt during the upcoming season. Krzyzewski had previously said a decision on Dawkins likely wouldn't come until the fall. Dawkins' father has said his son is still dealing with his sister's death in 2009 in a car wreck while traveling to one of his games.
• Do you think new Tulsa coach Danny Manning has a Kansas flavor on his staff. He has former Jayhawk Director of Basketball Operations Brett Ballard and former Kansas player Steve Woodbury as assistant coaches. His Director of Basketball Operations, Justin Bauman, served under former Kansas player Rex Walters at San Francisco.
• It is no surprise that UConn is out of the next NCAA tourney. That news came out a while back and the Huskies lost an appeal. Now the rest of the list of schools out of the big dance is out. Poor academic performance over a period of time will keep a record 10 men's basketball teams out of next year's NCAA tournament. Joining UConn on the sideline in March 2013 will be Arkansas-Pine Bluff, California-Riverside, Cal State Bakersfield, Jacksonville State, Mississippi Valley State, North Carolina-Wilmington, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Toledo and Towson. You may remember Mississippi Valley State was in the field last season.
• Meanwhile, the Huskies also received some bad news when Shabazz Napier suffered a foot injury. He will be wearing a boot for approximately six weeks, which will hamper his development. Napier will be ready for the start of the season.
• You know you have made it big-time when you are involved in activities leading up to the baseball all-star game. Kansas coach Bill Self will join a group of actors, actresses, musicians plus past and current pro athletes in the 2012 Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game. It's a nice way to spend time during the off-season, baby!
• Jerry Wainwright, the former head coach at DePaul, Richmond and UNC-Wilmington, has landed in the Big East. He will serve as Marquette's Director of Basketball Operations under head coach Buzz Williams. Wainwright spent the 2011-12 season as an associate head coach on Rodney Terry's staff at Fresno State.
• Old Dominion and Georgia State announced they were leaving the Colonial Athletic Association for Conference USA and the Sun Belt, respectively. The CAA did not take that lightly and decided neither school could compete in the conference tournament in the upcoming season. Stay tuned for the next move as Georgia State could end up in the Sun Belt sooner, the way Butler left the Horizon early.
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Cavs win NBA draft lottery; Magic get 2nd pick
- Tiger: 'Time to move on,' Garcia apologizes
- Goodell confirms draft moving to May in '14
- Spurs outlast Grizzlies in OT, grab 2-0 lead