Roundball Chatter


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

I am looking forward to going to Rupp Arena this weekend as Tennessee battles Kentucky in an SEC showdown. John Calipari's Wildcats have been terrific on defense, holding their last two opponents to 55 points apiece.

In the ACC, there is a great debate over this season's Player of the Year. My friends, I feel the two leading candidates are Jon Scheyer of Duke and Maryland's Greivis Vasquez. They have both been sensational and it is a really tough call.

Memphis has not had much depth this season. Now first-year coach Josh Pastner is down another big body as veteran forward Pierre Henderson-Niles has left the team. He plans on staying in school to complete his coursework, and it appears that lack of playing time was a factor in the mutual decision to leave the squad.

I have often spoken about decision-making on and off the court. A pair of Oklahoma players, guard Stephen Pledger and forward Andrew Fitzgerald, were suspended and out of the lineup for a loss against Texas Tech due to shoplifting allegations. It was a really close game and Coach Jeff Capel could have used the help of the two suspended players. Pledger and Fitzgerald are accused of their actions just hours after a win over Texas.

This has been one of the craziest years in the Pac-10. Will it come down to the conference tournament determining the lone March Madness team, or will a couple of squads make late runs to impress the committee? The tourney, in Los Angeles, should be wide open.

The Atlantic 10 has been very underrated, and six teams have a legit shot of making a run for bids in the big dance. Will Temple, Xavier, Dayton, Rhode Island, Charlotte and Richmond all make it? It could come down to the performances in the league tournament. There is a very good chance that five of those clubs can make it.

How about a salute to Demetri McCamey of Illinois! He came through with a big performance last week against Michigan State in Champaign. What a terrific follow-up, scoring 27 big ones in an upset at Madison. Bo Ryan's team had not lost at home to an unranked Big Ten squad during his tenure, but McCamey and the Illini changed that.

I have said it before and I will say it again … I don't understand why Bob Hurley of St. Anthony's, one of the best high school coaches of all-time, is not in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The UConn women's team is like a combination of Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marchiano. Opponents simply have no shot against Geno Auriemma's club!

It has been a tough season for UCLA diaper dandy forward Reeves Nelson. He was cleared to practice in non-contact drills after sustaining a concussion in the Bruins' game against California. Good luck to him, as Nelson has been bothered by a series of injuries.

If you want to help us raise cash for the Jimmy V Foundation, you can buy your flowers at coast to coast flowers.com. 5% of each purchase goes to the million dollar grant I am putting together for the battle against pediatric cancer.