Commentary

Roundball Chatter

Updated: December 4, 2009, 1:17 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

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

• I was surprised by the news that Fordham fired coach Derreck Whittenburg. I understand that the Rams struggled last year and opened 1-4 this season, but this is a dangerous precedent to get rid of a coach during the campaign.

• Congratulations to the Big Ten on winning its Challenge against the ACC. It marked the first time the Big Ten won in its 11 tries. Illinois made an incredible comeback to beat Clemson, while Wisconsin knocked off Duke in a couple of key victories for the Big Ten.

• Speaking of the Big Ten, it will have an amazing race for MVP this season. Think about it, there is Manny Harris of Michigan, a healthy Robbie Hummel with Purdue, Michigan State's Kalin Lucas and Ohio State's Evan Turner. All four could state legitimate cases. Turner put up a pair of early triple-doubles.

• Xavier has been a disappointment -- however it is early! New coach Chris Mack has a lot of new players and it takes time to blend as a unit. Jordan Crawford sat out last season as a transfer and he has to shake off the rust. Believe me, this team will be heard from in the A-10 race.

• Let me tell you, I was really impressed with Nevada when I saw them on TV against North Carolina. This program is going to have a good year. New coach David Carter has a lot of talent, led by Luke Babbitt. America, keep an eye on this team as it has the potential to do some damage as a sleeper come tournament time.

• My friends, put it down... Anthony Grant will build a winner at Alabama. After an early loss to Cornell, the Tide has put up a few quality wins, including victories over Michigan, Baylor and Providence. In three years or less, watch out down in SEC country!

• Ben Howland knows how to build a winner -- it starts with defense. UCLA needs some offense right now and I know Bruins fans had to be disappointed with an 0-3 showing at the 76 Classic. Tyler Honeycutt could be a positive addition when he comes back. Nikola Dragovic coming back will also help.

• When Northwestern lost Kevin Coble for the season, many experts felt coach Bill Carmody's team was in serious trouble. The Wildcats scored big W'S over Notre Dame and Iowa State, and it is not easy to beat the likes of Luke Harangody and Craig Brackens. I am sure other Big Ten coaches took notice of those results.

• After winning NCAA titles in '06 and '07, Billy Donovan's Gators won 49 games but failed to make the Big dance the last two seasons. This year, with newcomer Kenny Boynton and an improved Erving Walker, the Gators will be in the NCAA tourney for sure.

• The 2010 O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tournament has a solid field. The line-up includes North Carolina, West Virginia, Minnesota and Vanderbilt among the contenders.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.