Commentary

Roundball chatter

Updated: January 5, 2011, 11:29 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

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

:

• Kentucky coach John Calipari is a master at getting players to know how to blend as a unit. He has given life to DeAndre Liggins & Josh Harrellson! Those guys have become vital contributors, blending in with Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones.

• St. John's coach Steve Lavin has brought energy to Madison Square Garden. Lavin has the Red Storm at 3-0 in Big East with a big wins over the Georgetown Hoyas. That was St. John's first win vs. a ranked opponent in two years, snapping a streak of 14 straight losses to ranked squads. Dwight Hardy has really developed, scoring 20 or more points in six of his last seven games. I also like the progress of Justin Brownlee, who made the winning basket against the Hoyas.

• I hope Jacob Pullen learns from his error in judgment. The Kansas State guard returned from his three-game suspension and scored 24 points in a win over Savannah State. Frank Martin's team is still capable of making noise in the Big 12.

• Mike Brey and Notre Dame got a big W over UCONN as the Irish contained Kemba Walker! Study the hoops landscape and the Big East is #1! Wow, the Irish and Johnnies meet this weekend.

• If you don't think it is tough to win on the road in college hoops, just look at what happened when Florida State visited Auburn. The Seminoles came in with an 11-3 record while Auburn entered at 6-7. Tony Barbee's team came away with upset city, 65-60.

• Butler's Horizon League record 22-game winning streak went bye-bye against Milwaukee, 76-52. Brad Stevens' team will be challenged by the likes of Cleveland State in league play this season.

• Louisville suffered a recent blow when Rakeem Buckles suffered a broken finger which is expected to sideline him for about a month. Rick Pitino doesn't have that much size, so the absence of Buckles will hurt the Cardinals on the glass.

• Mark Few's Zags will benefit from a tough early schedule. Gonzaga has been through wars against the creme de la creme already and it will prepare the team for WCC play.

• I will work even harder vs. Cancer as a dear friend and one of my former players, Duffy Alberta, passed away from the dreaded disease. RIP my friend!

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.