Each week I'll talk about the sport I love, college basketball:
• How about a salute to Matt Painter and Purdue? The Boilers tough defense stopped Ohio State, ending the Buckeyes' nine-game Big Ten win streak. It was also Purdue's first win at Value City Arena. JaJuan Johnson had 24 big points in the win. This is a program that has a legit shot of making the Final Four in its backyard at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
•Greivis Vasquez is enjoying an amazing week for the Terps. Maryland had to play a make-up game vs. Virginia following a weather postponement, and Vasquez put up 30 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a win over the Cavaliers. Then came a test at NC State, and the star guard scored 26 while dishing out six assists in another victory. He will be tough to stop come tourney time.
• I am looking forward to seeing the Kentucky-Vanderbilt game on Saturday in Nashville. One challenge for John Calipari's young Wildcats will be adjusting to the benches, which are located on the baseline. Kentucky got a big overtime win at Mississippi State earlier this week, but it was sad to see how the fans reacted late in the game. There is no excuse for throwing any objects onto the court.
• The Pac-10 has been really down this season. A lot of people have asked me if the league will get more than one bid to the Big Dance. California and Arizona State are the leaders in the standings, but as of now, I feel the conference will only get one bid.
• How wacky is the Big East? After Rutgers beat Georgetown and Louisville knocked off Syracuse last weekend, Connecticut came to life behind Kemba Walker and stunned Villanova. My friends, the tournament at Madison Square Garden, with all 16 teams participating, should be awesome, baby, with a capital A!
• One school that has quietly made some noise is Virginia Tech. Seth Greenberg's club has moved up in the ACC standings. Malcolm Delaney has enjoyed a terrific season and the Hokies deserve much more publicity. The win over Wake Forest was a big one.
• I still believe the landscape of college basketball is a bit wacky. Looking back, I feel that Boston College's move to the ACC was a mistake. That program should have stayed in the Big East. Geographically, Saint Louis makes sense being in the Missouri Valley instead of the Atlantic 10, though I understand why the Billikens are there. Louisiana Tech in the WAC, Denver in the Sun Belt. There are more talks about other moves and you will need a map to figure some of these out. It is tough enough for fans to keep up now!
• I was sorry to learn of the passing of former Memphis coach Dana Kirk.
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