The VCU band, the best band in college basketball, is going to be doing Haka dances at games this year. This is not a drill.
We're getting closer and closer to some real college basketball to talk about. Friday marks two weeks until the first regular season games. Some teams have already played exhibition games.
All I'll say about exhibitions is what I warn about every year. First of all, according to "sources" every player either lost 15 pounds or gained 15 pounds of muscle, and everybody looked awesome. Lots of fantastic dunks happen when nobody is playing real defense or competitive opponents. It doesn't mean much. But second of all, don't freak out if a good team loses an exhibition to a bad team. These games are not played or coached like actual competitive games. Back in 2009-10, Syracuse lost a preseason exhibition to Division II Le Moyne, and went on to earn a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. So sure, watch the exhibitions. It's nice to see those players in action again. But don't draw any strong conclusions from them.
One more note before getting to the actual college basketball news, I want to remind you that I broke down in gratuitous detail how the College Football Playoff Committee put their initial rankings out last night (Spoiler Alert: They copied the AP Poll, as I predicted two months ago).
On to the real news:
Sam Dekker Injures His Ankle For now, this doesn't seem like a significant issue for Wisconsin. They still hope to have him back for their regular season opener, though he's not yet back practicing. As a preseason contender for the All-American team and for Big Ten Player of the Year, expect Wisconsin to be cautious with him. The last thing they need is for an ankle injury to linger all season.
Javon Bess To Miss A Month Bess is widely considered the second best prospect in Michigan State's 2014 recruiting class, behind point guard Lourawls Nairn. He's not a true blue chipper, but probably good enough to play significant minutes off the bench as a true freshman. But this injury will not only cost him some regular season games, but could push him into a redshirt. There's always that balance with freshmen, where you have to ask just how few minutes you're willing to play a guy to burn a year of eligibility if he's not very likely to leave early for the NBA.
Columbia's Alex Rosenberg Out For Two Months Arguably the best player on Columbia's roster, this is a blow for the Lions as they enter this season with their best team in perhaps decades. They were primed to be a serious contender to Harvard in the Ivy League. But if he can come back before conference play starts (which isn't certain, but seems likely), it shouldn't be too big of a blow for the program.
Hawaii Fires Their Head Coach Gib Arnold's assistant is also being fired. Hawaii is in danger of NCAA punishments, and they weren't likely to seriously challenge in the Big West title race anyway. So whoever becomes the next head coach at Hawaii looks to have quite the mess to clean up.