• Florida State is now 19-5 and a step closer to making its first trip to the big dance since 1998. My friends, think about the fact that three of those five losses came against top 10 teams: Pittsburgh, North Carolina and Duke. Leonard Hamilton has done a solid job with a squad that was picked 10th in the ACC preseason poll. It is also time to give some love to Toney Douglas, who has enjoyed a super season for the Seminoles.
• How about a salute to Jay Wright and Villanova, especially on the offensive side. The Wildcats are 20-4, and the four losses came against Connecticut, Louisville, Marquette and Texas. Wright's club avenged the Marquette setback, putting up 102 points earlier this week. 'Nova has posted back-to-back 100-point outings, both against ranked teams -- Syracuse and Marquette. Three of their wins in a current six-game streak have come against ranked opponents. With explosive Scottie Reynolds and improved Dante Cunningham, this team can make some noise come tournament time.
• You could see the importance of Ty Lawson in North Carolina's win over Duke Wednesday night. He had a big-time second half, showing his explosiveness attacking the basket. His quickness is such a factor and his dribble penetration and ability to complete the play is so impressive.
• Also worthy of a salute -- John Calipari for the job he's done at Memphis. Think about the talent he lost from last year's national finalist -- Derrick Rose, the number one pick in the NBA draft; Chris Douglas-Roberts; Joey Dorsey, a banger on the inside who was also drafted by the NBA. The Tigers have rebuilt and should have momentum to make another solid run in the tournament. The win at Gonzaga in February gave Calipari's club a lot of confidence.
• One of the most valuable super sophs in America is a guy who doesn't get enough ink. Pay attention to Evan Turner of Ohio State. He has been the Big Ten Player of the Week twice in a row. Turner is averaging 17 points per game, exactly double last year's production. Thad Matta's club enters this weekend's test at Wisconsin with a four-game win streak.
• Missouri has not gone to the big dance since 2003, but that should change this season. Mike Anderson's kids made an impact by rallying to beat Kansas earlier this week. The Tiger team has a lot of talent, led by DeMarre Carroll. The enthusiastic crowd of antlers (Mizzou fans) was impressive in rooting their team to the winner's circle against the Jayhawks.
• Very quietly Mick Cronin has done a super job at Cincinnati. The Bearcats have won 17 games and have scored their share of surprises. He should get consideration for Coach of the Year in the Big East.
• Speaking of Cincinnati, school officials have plans to honor Huggins, the current West Virginia coach, when he returns on Feb. 26. I am thrilled that Bob is getting his just due after such a special run there. Huggins spent 16 seasons coaching the Bearcats before going to Kansas State for one year, then to his alma mater West Virginia. Cincinnati enjoyed a streak of 14 straight invites to the big dance during the Huggins regime. Huggins is making just his second public appearance at Fifth Third Arena since he left Cincinnati in August 2005.
• When I look back at the accomplishments of the lefthander, one Lefty Driesell, I believe he should be in the Hall of Fame. The man won 786 college games. He built up Davidson in the 60s to a program that was ranked consistently; he came from the high school ranks of Virginia to put the Wildcats on the map. Then he built up Maryland.
• I was really surprised when I came to the court to call the College of Charleston-Davidson game recently. What really shocked me was one of the referees -- Scott Smith. For those who did not know, he is the son of former North Carolina coach Dean Smith.
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