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November 5, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Wednesday, November 5th

It’s Official: Let the dominoes fall. The Big East made it official yesterday by announcing that five Conference USA teams will be jumping to swell the Big East ranks to 16 teams for the 2005-06 season. Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette, and South Florida will join the Big East, replacing the departed Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College. While the move weakens the Big East football offering to the point that they may lose their automatic BCS bowl bid, it’s a no-brainer for hoops fans, as the three national powerhouses of Cincinnati, Louisville and Marquette will increase the stature of Big East basketball to being the best in the land. The Big East will now have 16 teams competing in two divisions for basketball, while eight of the member institutions will offer football, with Syracuse, Louisville, and Pittsburgh being the conference’s “elite” teams.

Meanwhile, Conference USA didn’t wait long, as they added five schools to replace the new Big East teams. As announced two weeks ago, Rice, SMU, and Tulsa were added to the conference from the WAC, and C-USA officials formally welcomed Central Florida and Marshall into the fold. Marshall, who plays in the Mid-American conference in all sports, will bring a top-flight football program to the conference, while UCF, who is a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference in all sports but football, which has been a member of the MAC for the past two seasons. The addition of the schools keeps C-USA at 14 schools, with only two, St. Louis and Charlotte, not participating in football. That could change quickly however, as the Atlantic-10 Conference is looking to add both of those schools. Additionally, TCU is being courted by the Mountain West Conference, so the dust hasn’t settled just yet. Losing TCU would leave Marshall as the class of the conference in football, and with the top basketball schools gone, John Calipari and his Memphis Tigers should run the basketball table annually.

Dotson Update: Two Maryland attorneys will represent Carlton Dotson, on trial for murdering his Baylor teammate Patrick Dennehy. Sherwood Wescott and Purcell Luke, who represented Dotson during his Maryland extradition hearing, have been retained by Dotson’s family to represent him, however, they are not yet eligible to defend Dotson in Texas. This is why two Waco public defenders were present during Dotson’s arraignment. Until Wescott and Luke are approved by Texas Board of Law Examiners to represent Dotson, Dallas attorney Kenneth Weatherspoon has been retained to will serve as counsel. The move to license the two Maryland attorneys will likely be approved by District Judge George Allen, as it will save McLennan County thousands of dollars. Wescott and Luke are already in Waco, and have visited Dotson in his county jail cell.

Gobbler Down: The season may be over before it begins for Virginia Tech senior guard Carlos Dixon. Dixon, who averaged 14 points per game last season, is still gimpy after surgery in August to repair his twice-fractured left foot, an injury that originally occurred in February. At this point, the earliest Dixon, who has only jogged in practice, could play would be early December, and coach Seth Greenberg indicated that if he misses more time than that, Dixon will redshirt the season.

Bruin Down: UCLA will be a little shorter, forward Matt McKinney broke a bone in his left foot. McKinney is currently in a walking cast, and is expected to miss up to eight weeks. No surgery is scheduled, though McKinney will go through an extensive rehab. A redshirt freshman last season, McKinney first injured the foot playing in the Say-No Summer League at West Los Angeles College, and he aggravated the foot during practice. A CT Scan last week discovered the fracture, after X-Rays and an MRI were inconclusive. McKinney is actually more of a volleyball star, as he was one of the highest ranked men’s high school volleyball players, and he played on the Bruins’ men’s volleyball team last spring.

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