Things we missed from the last week of the off-season

Some do a Morning Five, others a Morning Dump, or Breakfast Buffet. You know who they are.

Us? We just play catch-up.

Between Oregon's court, Duke's backcourt, and a bit more, here is what made the rounds this week on the college basketball interwebs - the FINAL week before we play games that matter.

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  • The University of Oregon is constantly unveiling crazy uniform color-schemes and pattern designs to drum up attention. This year, as part of the scheduled January 2011 grand opening of the new Matthew Knight Basketball Arena, which the kids will soon shorten to "The Matt," the Ducks announced quite the artistic court design that aligns perfectly with this school's, this region's, liberal views. Named "Deep in the Woods," the court will have a forest motif that is eye-popping and unlike anything in college basketball. Iconic it will be, and may single-handedly keep fans tuned in for what may be a trying season for first year head coach Dana Altman. I said it myself, but Rush the Court also made note of this... it looks like a Rorschach Test!
  • The American Heart Association has teamed up with CollegeInsider.com to create "Shots From the Heart," a season-long campaign that puts 128 head and assistant coaches at the charity stripe for a friendly competition to see who is the best free-throw shooter in the country. Beginning November 15th, participating coaches will be randomly matched-up against one another and shoot 25 freebies on their home court. The winners will advance through the bracket until four coaches remain at the end of the season. Naturally, the finals will be settled in Houston during the 2011 Final Four to declare an official winner. Based on what I have seen in the past, Michigan State's Tom Izzo is the clear-cut favorite for this one. To track the results throughout the season, bookmark www.collegeinsider.com/shots.
  • Duke might already have earned the superlative as the best backcourt for the 2011-2012 season. In addition to landing Austin Rivers, this week they received a commitment from Oak Hill point guard Quinn Cook. While Rivers is listed as a shooting guard, there's no doubt he can handle the ball if needed. But the commitment from Cook means Coach K now has an elite natural point guard to free up Rivers. If by some chance Kyrie Irving sticks around for two seasons, the Blue Devils would have an embarrassment of play-making riches.
  • Xavier had a bad week. With an already thin and inexperienced rotation, the Musketeers lost the uber-athletic Jamel McLean for 3-6 weeks with an orbital fracture. Basically, his eye is messed up. Then, last night, the team lost to D-II Bellarmine in an exhibition game, blowing a 10-point lead in the final 11 minutes. It could be tough sledding here in the early going for Chris Mack's club.

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