- Dick Vitale, College Basketball analyst
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Each week I'll talk about the sport I love, college basketball:
• Congratulations to Kentucky on its 2000th win. What a great history and tradition for Big Blue. I have often said that the fans in Bluegrass Country are the most passionate in America. John Calipari has the program back on track and I really believe the talent is there to make a run for the Final Four.
• In a span of about 60 hours, the Longhorns proved that they are a legit team by beating both North Carolina and Michigan State. Damion James showed why he is Mr. Versatility by scoring and rebounding against a pair of physical teams.
• I really believe Conference USA will put multiple teams in the NCAA tournament this year. The league should be a battle between Memphis, UAB, UTEP, and Tulsa. Memphis took Kansas to the wire. Mike Davis' Blazers sent a message by knocking off Butler. UTEP had a solid win over Oklahoma. And remember, Tulsa blew out a very good Oklahoma State team earlier in the season.
• Texas A&M suffered a major blow when senior Derrick Roland suffered broken bones in his right leg during a loss at Washington. I want to wish Roland all the best and I hope he has a speedy recovery.
• The Florida Gators lost their third in a row, falling to South Alabama. Losses to Richmond and South Alabama spoiled a great start for Billy Donovan's team. It is back to the drawing board!
• One of the great venues for hoops is 'The Pit' in Albuquerque. That is the home of the New Mexico Lobos and wow, Steve Alford's team is rocking! Alford told me recently that his team is getting better as they build confidence.
• Keep an eye on Andy Kennedy's Rebels. I really believe that Ole Miss is going to cause a major problem in the SEC. Kennedy has solid guards and it is so important to have good perimeter play in college basketball today. Chris Warren and Terrico White can flat-out play.
• Former North Carolina Tar Heel Alex Stepheson has been putting up impressive numbers out at USC. He is developing into a double-double man. His inside presence is exactly what Kevin O'Neill needs. The addition of Mike Gerrity in the backcourt is another positive for the Trojans.
• Watching Mississippi State play, I'm wondering how good they would be if Renardo Sidney was cleared to play. It is sad to see how long it takes the NCAA to make decisions.
• When Central Florida played UConn tough recently, there was a familiar name helping Kirk Speraw's club. Marcus Jordan, the son of the greatest ever to lace them up in the NBA, is a diaper dandy with UCF! He was named Conference USA Rookie of the Week after scoring 13 points in 28 minutes against the Huskies. He needs more PT (playing time), baby!
• It was a tough loss for South Carolina when forward Dominique Archie was declared out for the season due to knee surgery. I wish him the best! He averaged 14.4 ppg and six boards per contest in his limited time this season.
Dickie V has the latest on news around the college basketball world.