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• It is great to see that the Big 12 and SEC have announced an annual men's basketball challenge that will begin during the 2013-14 season. You remember the SEC and Big East had a series for a short time, but that ended with the breakup of the Big East. The majority of the games are scheduled for December 2-6, with three taking place outside the four-day series window due to scheduling issues. The Florida-Kansas and Baylor-Kentucky games stand out. South Carolina, coached by Frank Martin, goes against Oklahoma State as Martin faces his former conference (he was of course at Kansas State before joining the Gamecocks). Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M is another battle of note as it features current and former Big 12 foes.
• Thanks to the basketball community for the great support of my Dickie V gala. We raised over $1 million for the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research. Everywhere you looked, there was another college basketball coach there, lending their support. Bill Self and Jim Calhoun joined football legend Bobby Bowden as the honorees. Billy Donovan, Tom Izzo, Tom Crean, Mike Brey, Leonard Hamilton, Jay Wright, Steve Alford, Mark Gottfried, Jim Larranaga, Denny Crum, Andy Enfield, Greg Kampe and the list went on and on. Former coaches Seth Greenberg and Bruce Pearl were also there.
• Talk about a tough opener. Steve Lavin has his St. John's team opening its 2013-14 campaign at a neutral venue, taking on perennial Big Ten power Wisconsin on Nov. 8 at the soon-to-be-opened, $19-million Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. That is quite a road trip for the team from New York.
• Crean had to be happy as he landed Arizona State transfer Evan Gordon, the brother of former Hoosier Eric Gordon. Crean said that he believes Gordon will fare well in Bloomington.
• Guard Deuce Bello went to Baylor with some lofty expectations. Unfortunately he has not lived up to them and now has decided to transfer.
• Washington got some good news when guard C.J. Wilcox underwent successful foot surgery. He was really not the same player last season when he was bothered by a stress fracture in his foot.