LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Football practice is under way, but hoops talk never stops around here -- and this week, the Notebook hands out some homework.
Time to carve out your Rushmores
John Akers, the editor and publisher of Basketball Times, had fun with his column in the August issue of the monthly magazine. He accepted a challenge from former Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan and selected the four faces that he would place on the Mount Rushmore of Hoops at a string of different schools.
Here are Akers' choices for UK, U of L and IU. The Notebook would love for you to share your selections. You can send them to either Eric (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rick (email@example.com), and we'll include the results in the column next week. This is your chance.
But first, here are the selections from Akers -- and remember there are only four faces, not a complete basketball lineup, on Mount Rushmore.
UK: Dan Issel, Ralph Beard, Cliff Hagan, Anthony Davis. (No Kenny Walker, Tony Delk or John Wall.)
U of L: Wes Unseld, Darrell Griffith, Pervis Ellison, Charlie Tyra. (No Rodney McCray, Milt Wagner or Butch Beard.)
IU: Steve Alford, Calbert Cheaney, Scott May, Isiah Thomas. (No Quinn Buckner, Walt Bellamy or Cody Zeller.)
Tickets available for Western Kentucky game in Nashville
Tickets are on sale now for U of L's men's basketball game against Western Kentucky on Dec. 22 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
Tickets are $35 for lower level seats and $20 for upper level seats and are on sale online only.
Tickets also are available to the general public by creating a "My Cardinal Account," which can accessed through the U of L web site at www.UofLsports.com. Tickets on the web site will show as GA (general admission), but will be reserved seats assigned in priority point order at a later date. Fans are guaranteed tickets at the seat level purchased.
Calipari proposal gets reaction from IU, not U of L or Kansas
John Calipari kicked up news last week when he told Andy Katz of ESPN that Kentucky, Louisville, Indiana, Kansas and North Carolina should explore his concept of setting up a round-robin non-conference schedule.
Each school would play two of the others at home and the other two on the road. That's correct. Four non-conference games.
The locations would be switched the following season.
It's an intriguing, and likely unrealistic concept. It's also strange, considering Calipari has chosen not to keep North Carolina and Indiana on UK's schedule for the 2012-13 season. He wanted to break the cycle of playing both UNC and U of L either at home or on the road during the same season and he wanted to move the IU game to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The Notebook asked for reaction to the proposal from Louisville coach Rick Pitino as well as Tom Crean of Indiana. Both coaches declined comment.
But Indiana athletic director Fred Glass was willing to address it when The Notebook asked Glass if he had seen Calipari's comments to Katz.
"I did briefly," Glass said. "I'm not sure that I'm smart enough to follow that."
With or without the round robin, Glass remained interested in resuming the UK-IU series, although he said the teams will not play next season.
"I think the genie is out of the bottle for this year, which is too bad," Glass said. "But I really hope we can get back going. We still think there is a tremendous opportunity to meet both of our needs with a home and home and a couple of neutral site games. I still hope we'll get to that point."
The Notebook asked Glass if Indiana fans continue to share their opinions about the dissolving of the series.
"They do care," Glass said. "I hear about it all the time. Particularly after we offered what we felt was a pretty reasonable compromise (home and home, plus two neutral site games). Most of our fans felt like, ‘Jeez, if they didn't go for that, that's about as much as you can do.' There hasn't been too much negative backlash since then."
Two IU names to remember
The Notebook hears two names that continue to percolate in the conversation about the Indiana basketball team – former Eastern High School star Remy Abell as the team's most improved player and freshman center Peter Jurkin as the team's most overlooked freshman.
Abell, who will be a sophomore, has upgraded his ball-handling and jumper while adding strength to finish at the rim. Jurkin arrived in Bloomington in June as the lowest-rated member of Tom Crean's five-player class.
But word is that Jurkin, a 7-footer, has looked better than your basic three-star recruit, performing like a guy who will be able to provide rebounding and defense as a back-up for Cody Zeller. The Notebook was told Jurkin has been better than any back-up center during the Crean Era.
Former commissioner Tranghese still frets about the league
Mike Tranghese is the commissioner who recruited the University of Louisville into the Big East, and although Tranghese has retired, he still worries about the league that he loves and served.
Boston Globe sportswriter Mark Blaudschun has started a blog that he has titled www.AJerseyGuy.com, and he talked to Tranghese about his favorite league. You can – and should –read the entire interview on the blog.
The Notebook has decided to share Tranghese's answer to the question Blaudschun asked him about the future of the Big East:
"It's a hard question and there's not an easy answer. They are still going to be good in basketball. Not quite as good as they were, but still very good.
"But as we know you still have to be good in football. You have this huge geographic disparity. The best program on paper is Boise. But they are from the West. Is Boise going to be happy here?
"I just don't think expansion is done. There are going to be more expansion and there are going to be targets and I don't think they (the Big East) can afford to lose any more people. You can always get more teams. But now that we have the playoffs, if you don't get into the playoffs you are going to be deemed a second-class citizen. The Big East doesn't have a program that can get into it (the playoffs) year in and year out."
AthlonSports.com loves lists as much as The Notebook does. The folks at Athlon are hard at work on their 2012-13 college basketball yearbooks, and The Notebook hears that both Peyton Siva of Louisville and Cody Zeller will be featured on regional covers.
But this list is Athlon's list of the Best Coaches in College Basketball. We'll share their Top Five – along with word on where two other local guys are ranked.
1. Tom Izzo of Michigan State 2. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke 3. John Calipari, Kentucky 4. Bill Self, Kansas 5. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
Where's Rick Pitino? Try sixth, right ahead of Roy Williams of North Carolina and Billy Donovan of Florida.
And Tom Crean? He's Number 17, just behind Bob Huggins of West Virginia, but ahead of John Beilein of Michigan.