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Roundball Chatter


Each Friday I will write about the sport I love, college basketball…

• Things will be very different on December 22nd when there's a rematch of the national championship game. This time Florida goes to visit Columbus for a match-up against Thad Matta's Buckeyes. No Noah, Brewer, Horford, Green, Humphrey, Oden, Conley, Cook or Lewis … Let me tell you, these two schools have recruited very well and both Matta and Billy Donovan will have very competitive squads this season. They will both be pretty young but the talent is there to make some noise.

• Oh brother, Eddie Sutton will have to see his sons do battle. Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton will face off against his brother, Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton at the All-College Tournament in Oklahoma City on December 20th. You may remember Oral Roberts, a member of the newly-renamed Summit League, stunned Kansas last season. Can the Golden Eagles upset another Big 12 foe? It will be quite a doubleheader as Gonzaga and Oklahoma square off in the other game there. Mark Few will take on anybody, any place, any time. Jeff Capel's team will be better in the upcoming season.

• I have spoken in the past about athletes needing to take responsibility for their actions. It is all about making good decisions, and unfortunately, New Mexico State forward Tyrone Nelson made a very bad one. Nelson entered a no contest plea for a robbery of a pizza delivery man back in August of 2006. The school dismissed the forward from the basketball team Tuesday. It is a sad story.

• I'm thrilled to see that St. Bonaventure will be honoring one of my favorite players, Bob Lanier. The Big Dobber was a star with the Pistons when I coached there. Now his alma mater is officially naming the court after him as they have a new floor at Reilly Center.

• A lot of schools take advantage of the rule which allows them to travel abroad for a series of games during the summer. Tennessee is taking a trip to Europe next week, and it should be a great bonding experience for Bruce Pearl's team. I feel the Vols have top 10 potential for the upcoming season.  

• Vanderbilt got some good news, adding 6-5 swingman Charles Hinkle for the upcoming season. It isn't often that an SEC school can add a quality player in late July. Hinkle attended a prep school in Maine last season (Hebron Academy), where he averaged 16 ppg. and six rpg. Coach Kevin Stallings was very happy with this development.

• Circle December 15th on the calendar. That is the latest match-up of teacher vs. pupil. With Steve Alford now at New Mexico, he gets to face off with the General, Robert Montgomery Knight, when Texas Tech visits The Pit in Albuquerque. Alford's first regular-season game as Lobos coach is on the road at Colorado, facing off with new Buffs coach and former NBA sideline boss Jeff Bzdelik. Also on December 15th, former Indiana coach Mike Davis gets another shot at Kentucky, taking his UAB squad to face the Wildcats at Freedom Hall in Louisville.

• I love when a coach has an ambitious schedule. My friends, look at what Yale coach James Jones has lined up. Among this year's opponents are Stanford, UCLA and Kansas, three teams that figured to be ranked. That is a good way to prepare for the Ivy League because nobody in that conference will be as tough as those opponents, not to be disrespectful to the league.

• California coach Ben Braun made a good move when he hired Gregg Gottlieb as an assistant coach. Gottlieb was an assistant coach at San Diego State for eight seasons, and he's also the brother of ESPN's Doug Gottlieb.

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