Each week I'll write about the sport I love, college basketball:
• I am excited with the Jimmy V tournament at Madison Square Garden this season. The doubleheader includes Missouri vs. Villanova and Marquette against Washington, four talented and well-coached teams. Jay Wright, Frank Haith, Buzz Williams and Lorenzo Romar will have their teams ready to play in the Big Apple.
• Rick Pitino got some good news when 6-5 forward Luke Hancock decided to transfer from George Mason to the Big East school. Hancock averaged almost 11 ppg. while leading the team in assists at over four per contest.
• The news of coach Ed DeChellis leaving Penn State for the Navy job shows how tough it is to win consistently in Happy Valley. There is a lot of pressure to compete in the Big Ten and the loss of Tailor Battle probably helped in the decision by De Chellis to go elsewhere. It is not an easy place to win, baby!
• St. John's suffered a blow when Dwayne Polee Jr. decided to transfer, moving close to home. The Red Storm will have a very young team next season. Steve Lavin will have a very tough challenge going to Rupp Arena in Lexington as part of the SEC-Big East Challenge. I love the event as games like Vanderbilt-Louisville, Syracuse-Florida, Arkansas-Connecticut ... wow, it is great competition in early December.
• Rick Giles and his Gazette Group have put together a nice field for the 2011 Legends Classic, culminating in New Jersey for the finals. Texas, Vanderbilt, NC State, and Oregon State will be competing down in Newark. I really like what Kevin Stallings has coming back for the Commodores.
• Michigan State coach Tom Izzo had to be shaking his head with this piece of news. Spartans guard Russell Byrd will have surgery on his left foot; the same one which caused him to miss freshman season in 2010-11.
Michigan State expects the 6-7 Byrd to be out for four months, hopefully allowing him time to recover and be ready to play at the start of the season.
• Providence sophomore guard Duke Mondy has been released from the basketball team. Mondy played in 28 games last season and averaged 7.7 ppg.