Former NFL running back Jerome Bettis ripped the new rule prohibiting ballcarriers from leading with the crown of their helmet. "It's going to cause a lot of tentativeness," Bettis told me. "More important, it's going to cause the next generation of kids to change the channel." ... Jim Boeheim questioned the timing of reports that the NCAA is investigating Syracuse for violations. "I don't know where that came from," the coach said. "Obviously this came out last year at this time. It will probably happen again next year." ... Miami Herald columnist Dan Le Batard believes the Heat's streak has made LeBron James & Co. a better team. "They're fully engaged," Le Batard told me. "They weren't before. They've stumbled into this thing that made them care about the regular season, because they want to do something Michael Jordan never did." ... I asked Michigan State coach Tom Izzo if he regrets turning down the Cavaliers' job in 2010. "Every time I see my wife's credit card [bill]," Izzo said, "I think the NBA's great. But [every coaching job has] problems. Even high school's got problems. They've got parents."