College basketball, in the minds of many, officially starts today. It is more of a rolling start, however, than a big tip-off. Teams practiced this summer, a change allowed by the NCAA that fit Wichita State’s newcomer-heavy roster perfectly. This fall, teams practiced for two hours a week, as a team or in small groups. So the feel is different than it was a few seasons ago, when Oct. 15 signaled the first real practices.
“I would say, already, we have 25-30 percent of what we’re going to do in, maybe a little less,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said earlier this week. “The defense is way ahead of the offense. We’ve got to defend with this group. We’ve got to use our size and athleticism with this group, which is going to be a strength.”
- WSU’s newcomers will find scoring comes easier when they use the offense.
- WSU sophomores Jake White and Evan Wessel learned how to practice and how to make the game fit their pace as freshmen.
- Creighton is wearing No. 222 on practice gear, a reminder of last season’s weakness. WSU fans will point out that if three Bluejays stand together, it adds up to …
- Missouri State’s Keith Pickens is healthy and the Bears really, really need him.
- Bradley coach Geno Ford has players earning spots this season.
- Illinois State coach Dan Muller isn’t worried if his offense looks unorganized early in practice.
- Drake center Seth VanDeest is bigger and stronger after a shoulder injury benched him last season. He doesn’t expect to get pushed around.
- Evansville is another MVC team unhappy with its defense last season. And they’re talking about championships in their new practice gym. The Aces recently learned center Egidijus Mockevicius will be eligible this season. If you’ve been hungry for Aces news, the Evansville Courier & Press is stepping up its coverage with a blog, Twitter and everything. Good to see.
- Putting it kindly, Barry Hinson inherited a mess at Southern Illinois.
- ESPN.com’s Jason King breaks down MVC schedules. He gives WSU a 7 on a 1-10 scale, which seems fair to me.