Five notes from off the court in college basketball this week, below.
The three UCLA players who were arrested shoplifting in China were helped by the President, who personally intervened ion their behalf to expedite the situation. The players said thank you, if you were wondering.
Those players are suspended indefinitely.
Conference realignment on the lower levels
Hampton, is moving up from the lowly MEAC, one of the worst conferences in the country, to the Big South. Hampton, a Historically Black College/ University, is leaving the MEAC, to compete in a better and more geographically compact league.
More from the Virginia Pilot:
Hampton, one of the nation's most academically prestigious historically black colleges and universities, will leave MEAC in July...
Norfolk State will lose its closest conference rival, and it remains to be seen whether the Battle of the Bay football rivalry or the regular meetings between the two schools in other sports will continue.
It's also a hit to the MEAC. Hampton, a private school, has better athletic facilities and deeper financial resources than any other conference school. The MEAC basketball tournament moved to downtown Norfolk in part because in NSU and Hampton, they had a pair of nearby schools.
Like Tennessee State, Hampton will now compete in a league with no other HBCUs.
Opening season champions
The high-profile Champions Classic could be a kickoff event for college basketball next season.
College basketball needs to start with a bang. One of the rare events before March that captures casual fans’ attention is the Champions Classic, with Michigan State, Duke, Kansas and Kentucky pairing off annually.
Next year in Indianapolis, the event might tip off the college season, according to ESPN.
There would be no arguments from fans or coaches with such a smart — and obvious — move.
“It affords all these four teams an opportunity in an Elite Eight, Final Four atmosphere in these beautiful venues,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the top-ranked Blue Devils beat the No. 2 Spartans 88-81. “Are you kidding me? It’s good in every way.
New unis for Nike teams
NIKE has some cool uniforms for the PK80, which starts next Thursday.
Facebook-only college hoops
A company is partnering with Facebook to exclusively air 47 college basketball games this season, including games from Saint Joseph’s, Ole Miss, U Mass, Utah and Washington State.