Roundball Chatter


Each week I'll talk about the sport I love, college basketball:

• While I felt St. Mary's got a raw deal being left out of the NCAA tournament, the Gaels got an interesting draw in the NIT. As a number two seed, Randy Bennett's team, coming off a win over Washington State, squares off against Davidson. My friends, what a match-up as Patty Mills and Stephen Curry will battle. That should be a classic match-up.

• To show how much depth there is in college basketball, I honestly believe there are several schools that ended up in the NIT that could have done well in the big dance. When I saw the bracket for the NIT, I felt that a number of them could have made the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. Not only is there depth in college basketball, but there is also parity. You could make a case for so many teams that ended up in the NIT.

• The NIT, the CBI and the CollegeInsider.com tournaments are beneficial to young teams. These events give schools the opportunity to gain additional experience playing together in a competitive situation. Coaches get to use these tournaments to prepare for the future, and it gives seniors one last chance to last up the sneakers and try to go out on top.

• The power teams seem to return to the big dance every year. Of last year's members of the Sweet 16, a total of 13 made the field of 65. Only Davidson, Stanford and Washington State were left out of the party. Davidson was the only member of the elite eight missing from the NCAA tournament draw.

• I wonder what Bob Huggins was thinking when Akron's name popped up when the brackets were announced. The MAC champion is back in the big dance for the first time since 1986, when Huggins was coaching the Zips.

• It's nice to see Mike Montgomery back in the big dance. The California coach led Stanford to the NCAA tournament 12 times, including a Final Four in 1998.

• It makes me think back about my early days calling games on ESPN and ABC. That's right, when I see the names Jordan and Sampson playing in this year's tournament. No, I am not talking about Michael the Magnificent or Ralph Sampson. Their sons, Jeffrey Jordan at Illinois and Ralph Sampson III at Minnesota are making a name for themselves in the collegiate hardwood.

• It's great to see Florida State is going to give Leonard Hamilton a long-term extension. He has the Seminoles heading in the right track and his 10 ACC wins this season was the most since he went to Tallahassee. Hamilton also has a super recruiting class coming in and a potential star returning in Solomon Alibi up front.

• You will hear a lot of rumors over coaching vacancies. Alabama, Georgia and Virginia are among teams from the power conferences already looking for new coaches. A couple of names that will surely be mentioned as candidates: Anthony Grant of VCU and Siena's Fran McCaffery.