Wednesday Market Watch

By - May 23, 2007

It's been a healthy week for news around the game. Here's a look at some of the trends in the market:

Georgetown: In a minor surprise, the Washington Post is reporting that Roy Hibbert will return to campus for his senior season. I'll take this opportunity to install the Hoyas as preseason favorites to repeat as Big East champs.

Massachusetts: The Minutemen, who are expected to contend for the Atlantic 10 title, had been looking forward to the crown jewel of their non-conference schedule: a Nov. 24 showdown at Boston's TD Banknorth Garden against Kentucky, the alma mater of UMass coach Travis Ford. But that was before Friday, when UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart informed Massachusetts AD John McCutcheon that the Wildcats would be exercising their $50,000 buyout option to cancel the trip. The shocker isn't Kentucky's reluctance to play difficult games on the road during the OOC schedule. (Look no further than Billy Gillispie's early years with UTEP and Texas A&M to see the writing on the wall as far as that goes.) What is surprising, however, is the shoddy pact the Minutemen negotiated that made this decision so easy for the Wildcats. Fifty large is chump change in horse country.

Arizona: The school that has become known as Point Guard University thanks to backcourt alums Damon Stoudemire, Mike Bibby, Jason Terry and Jason Gardner has added another high-profile floor general to the program. Compton native and Oak Hill product Brandon Jennings, the top-ranked point guard in the Class of 2008 according to CSTV recruiting guru Van Coleman, has committed to the Wildcats over Southern California, Connecticut, Kentucky and Kansas.

Purdue: It's not a new arena but it's the next best thing. The trustees at the West Lafayette, Ind., school approved an $82 million renovation of Mackey Arena on Friday, a plan which includes construction of practice, sports medicine and office facilities around the 40-year-old home of Purdue men's and women's basketball. The renovated arena, which is expected to be completed in time for the 2011-12 season, will cost one-third as much as a new building according to athletics director Morgan Burke.

Wichita State: Sean Ogirri, the combo guard who helped the Shockers to a Sweet 16 appearance as a sophomore and a No. 8 national ranking as a junior, will transfer to Wyoming for his senior season after sitting out a year under NCAA transfer rules. The former Colorado high school player of the year averaged 9.6 points this past season after averaging 17.5 during his team's run to the NCAA regional semifinals in 2006.

Portland Trail Blazers: On the 20-year anniversary of its first and only NBA championship, the woebegone Beaver State franchise got a head start on their second title with Tuesday night's draft lottery in Secaucus, N.J. And since deposed general manager John Nash won't be making the pick, Portland fans can sleep knowing that the Blazers will actually select Greg Oden or Kevin Durant and not Yi Jianlian.

Posted by at 11:52 AM on May 23, 2007

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