What if they had a college basketball game and no officials showed up?

That happened Tuesday night when Arkansas and South Alabama got together in Fayetteville for a non-league game.The Sun Belt Conference said the Southwest Conference was to provide officials for the game. But the Southwest Conference says the Sun Belt Conference was told twice that its officials would work the game.

So when no officials showed up, Arkansas administrators scrambled around and finally came up with a high school referee and a Southwest official from a nearby town, who had planned to have the night off.

The start of the game, eventually won by Arkansas, was delayed an hour.

"They did as well as three officials could have done," said Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson. But of course, his team won.RULE CHANGES: There weren't any major rule changes in college basketball this year (e.g. three-point line, 45-second clock), but local fans might have noticed a couple of changes designed to help relieve those maddening final few minutes when teams spend most of their time at the foul line.

Now two shots are awarded teams after the 10th team foul by the opposition in each half (it's still one-and-one between the seventh and ninth fouls). This supposedly should cut down on excessive fouling at the end and force teams to try to play better defense.

Another rule fans may not be aware of is the three-point foul shot rule. Now if a player is fouled while attempting a three-pointer, he gets three shots. This eliminates the sometimes-used strategy of fouling a player attempting a three-pointer when your team is ahead by three points late in the game, so he can only get two. MORE CHANGES: Another rule change aims to cut down on fighting and the rough play that often precedes it. Now a player who gets involoved in a fight must sit out the following game. And the second time it happens, the player must sit out the entire season.

In last week's intrastate duel between Providence and Rhode Island, things got ugly early and a two-minute brawl broke out, resulting in the ejection of three players from each team. Rhode Island Coach Al Skinner sustained a cut over his right eye while trying to break it up (shades of USU's Kohn Smith).

According to the NCAA rules, those six players are out of their next game. But Providence bravely went a step beyond the NCAA rules and suspended its players for two additional games, including a road game at Arizona.WRONG PACIFIC: If, like most fans, you were figuring that the University of Utah was playing University of the Pacific from the Big West Conference tonight, figure again. The Utes are playing Pacific University, an NAIA team from Forest Grove, Ore.

It will mark the third Ute game against a non-Division I school this season. Earlier the Utes toyed with Seattle Pacific and Cal-Davis, or was it Cal-Pacific and Seattle-Davis?

Anyway, according to Ute Coach Rick Majerus, the rationale for playing such patsies is that he likes to have an easy game to start the season and an easy game at the end of test week, which is this week.

Still, it makes you wonder why the Utes can't find room somewhere on their schedule for Southern Utah, which at least is a Division I school and would create considerably more interest for fans (and media). KILLER SKED: Speaking of good schedules, some teams have them and some don't.

For example, Arizona State Coach Bill Frieder constructed himself a schedule that includes nine preseason home games and a lone road game, which was played Wednesday in Provo. With nine Pac-10 home games, ASU will have 18 home games this season.

On the other hand look what poor Jay Hillock inherited at Loyola Marymount. Not only does he have little left of the strong team assembled by Paul Westhead, he was left with a schedule that includes nine straight road games to open the season. The Lions, currently 2-4, don't make their home debut until Dec. 29 against St. Joseph's.

Hillock, the former head coach at Gonzaga and assistant under Westhead at Loyola, took a little swipe at his former boss when he said, "We wanted high visibility in our schedule and some TV games. But I think some of those teams on our schedule in December can beat the Denver Nuggets."WHERE'S THE JERSEYS?: When Central Connecticut State had to play its first two games of the basketball season in practice uniforms, it made the players mad enough they want to sue a sportswear company for failing to deliver the team's game uniforms on time.

"It is just not right," Coach Mike Brown said before his team lost to St. John's in New York. "We are trying to build a credible program, and I am ripped that we come to New York and play on TV and we look like a bunch of ragamuffins."

Brown said the team was planning to file a civil lawsuit for breach of promise against an Alabama-based sportswear company. He said the company made a verbal commitment to Central in the summer to deliver the uniforms before the season opener.

"The kids came to me and asked what kind of recourse they had against the company," Brown said. "The kids are serious about it. This is not just a lark, this is for real."

Maybe it is, but we'll bet the players don't pay the attorneys fees.