Who said it's the offseason? There are plenty of college basketball items to discuss 21â2 months before the start of the 2006-07 campaign.
Item: Barry Collier is expected to leave Nebraska to become athletic director at his alma mater, Butler.
Comment: Credit Collier for knowing when and where he's not wanted. Fans aren't crazy about Barry-ball in Lincoln, and because of sagging attendance, he figured to last just one more season at NU, anyway.
Item: If Collier leaves, there will be six new head coaches in the Big 12 next season.
Comment: Talk about turnover! The most pressure will be on Sean Sutton at Oklahoma State in taking over for his dad, Eddie, who went out on bad terms. The Cowboys, on paper, probably have the fourth-best talent in the league behind Kansas University, Texas A&M; and Texas. Honeymoon periods are in store for Bob Huggins (KSU), Mike Anderson (MU), Greg McDermott (ISU) and Jeff Capel (OU). As far as a possible new NU coach, there already has been speculation that Kent State's Jim Christian and Nevada's Mark Fox will be the top two targets. Others mentioned as possibilities: TV analysts Rick Majerus and Steve Lavin, Rice coach Willis Wilson, Orlando Magic assistant Randy Ayers, assistants Tim Jankovich and Joe Dooley of KU, as well as UCLA's Kerry Keating, the son of KU senior associate AD Larry Keating. That's an awful lot of speculation for a job not even open yet.
Item: Dick Vitale ranks KU third in his ESPN.com preseason poll behind North Carolina and Florida.
Comment: North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough might be the best player in the country. If he doesn't experience the sophomore jinx and Roy Williams' recruits are as good as advertised, look out. Florida, which returns five starters from last year's NCAA title team, will find it difficult to repeat considering the Gators will be the big game on everybody's schedule. The Jayhawks will be contenders all year provided key players stay healthy. My surprise teams: George Mason (just kidding), Texas A&M; and Louisville.
Item: The NCAA may limit the number of text messages coaches can send to high school prospects.
Comment: No texts should be sent from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday during the school year when the blue-chippers are supposed to be in class. Aside from that, let the coaches text away. Coaches should be allowed to compete with the pro agents and shoe-company representatives who text heavily.
Item: Indiana is reportedly continuing to recruit prep sensation Eric Gordon of Indianapolis even though Gordon has committed to Illinois.
Comment: So what? An oral commitment means nothing in football, so why should it mean something in basketball? College football coaches ignore oral commitments like MLB did steroid use during the big bang era. If Gordon doesn't want to hear from Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson, I'm sure his parents will let Sampson know that loud and clear.
Item: Kansas will play Florida on Nov. 25 in Las Vegas.
Comment: Big game. In fact, I get two e-mails a day asking how to purchase tickets. Answer: Join the Williams Fund, and you will receive an order form. Otherwise, tickets at some point are expected to go on sale at the Orleans Arena (orleansarena.com).