Otto Porter John Thompson

It’s no secret that the Big East is a former shell of what it once was. Aggressive expansion created a league that fractured to a point of no return have left the league with little in terms of marketable games. Georgetown, Xavier and Villanova are the marquee matchups in a league that once boasted Syracuse, Louisville and Connecticut. The schools without FBS football programs are all that’s left.

Fox Sports, who owned the broadcast rights for Big East basketball games, has shed them by selling them to CBS, who will broadcast a limited slate of games.

This is due to the fact that a network, with a massive audience in comparison to cable, cannot afford to broadcast anything but games they expect to draw high enough ratings to compete. Therefore, they are going to limit the broadcasts to the biggest expected games.

Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant talks at a news conference after the Lakers were knocked out of the NBA basketball playoffs in Los Angeles, California, May 11, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)


A look at some of the headlines in the world of basketball today…

In the Big East, easily one of the best college basketball conferences over the last ten years, remaining members are reeling from the departure of Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC. As a scramble to hold the Big East together takes shape, the first step is getting everyone in agreement, and that has started as the Big East CEOs give their okay for the commissioner to expand (or, perhaps, ‘re-expand’):

The presidents and chancellors of the 14 remaining Big East members and TCU have authorized Commissioner John Marinatto to “aggressively pursue discussions” with certain schools interested in joining the league.

In Italy, the most notable player negotiations are happening between Kobe Bryant and Virtus Bologna, who is attempting feverishly to get a deal done that will take one the world’s top players to their court. The move makes sense on a lot of levels, not the least of which being that Kobe Bryant already speaks fluid Italian, which will make him even more marketable during his stint there, should it come to fruition:

Bologna President Claudio Sabatini had told The Associated Press on Friday he had reached a tentative deal with agent Rob Pelinka for a 10-game contract worth more than $3 million.

This deal would be a no-brainer for both Bologna and Bryant, as Bryant’s 10 game stint would be a mere blip in his life, while the shortness of the contract would ensure heavy fan interest for those games, allowing Bologna to recoup their money quickly, not to mention the fact that Bologna would be able to sell Kobe Bryant jerseys from now on.

Kevin Durant has already participated in several charity basketball games on the East coast, and says that soon he will probably bring one to Oklahoma City:

Had a lot of fun with my NBA homes at @CP3’s basketball game in Winston Salem State…be on the lookout for a game in OKC in mid October!” Durant wrote after participating in New Orleans point guard Chris Paul’s event.

Speaking of Chris Paul’s charity basketball game, Winston-Salem State officials have begun the process of investigating and refunding “legitimate ticket holders” who were denied access to the game after counterfeiters apparently got involved:

“I think it was really shady. If the gym has capacity, why would you sell 4,500 tickets?” one fan said. “Sad part about it, there was at least 500 people out here. They told us two hours after we stood out here that seats were all filled and they were over capacity already.”

Finally, Texas landed 2012 PF Connor Lammert this weekend, a 6’9″ player from San Antonio. Conner is a good passer as a big man and will add depth inside the paint for the Longhorns.