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With pennant races heating up, the weather staying decent, and the NFL lockout finally coming to an end amidst a flurry of free agent moves and trades, college basketball news has been hard to come by recently. With our interview with Mario Mercurio still on tap, here's a few notes to tide you over.

Diamond Head Classic - College Basketball Nation Blog - ESPN- The bracket for the Diamond Head Classic has been released, and Xavier meets Long Beach State in the first round. LBSU isn't a pushover, but the Musketeers should handle them and move on in the tournament. ESPN says that this is Xavier's tournament to lose, and it is hard to argue that.

Predicting Next Year's Sweet 16 | Bleacher Report- Preseason Sweet 16 predictions probably aren't very useful, but there's no such thing as bad publicity. Xavier is shown as a #4 seed. BR doesn't bother predicting who the Muskies would meet as a #13, but I hope it's someone terrible. College Basketball - Best programs at producing coaches- praises Xavier for producing great coaches, but manages to do so by going to the cliche backhanded "mid-major" compliment. XU definitely does produce great coaches, but none of them have gone much farther with their new school than Xavier has gone. 

Dick Vitale Preseason Top 40 - 11-20 - ESPN- Dick Vitale isn't one of our favorites, but X is one of his. #14 means he rates our boys in blue about the same as the guys over at Bleacher Report. Having one of the big names in college ball take note can only lead to greater exposure and opportunity.

As the season picks up, so will the Shootaround. Until then, we'll do our best to scour the internet so you don't have to.