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Roundball Chatter

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

• It has been a tough start for Georgia coach Dennis Felton. The latest move was the dismissal of senior forward Takais Brown, Georgia's top scorer last season at 14.2 ppg. Brown was previously suspended for the first nine games this season, but then was dismissed from the team for a violation of team policies.

• Congratulations to the Pac-10 conference. The league has six teams in the preseason ESPN/USA Today top 25 UCLA (2), Washington State (10), Oregon (13), Arizona (17), USC (18), and Stanford (21). This could be the year the Pac-10 makes some major noise. Memo to Lute Olson you always claim that the west coast teams don't get enough respect or credit. There you have it!

• Texas coach Rick Barnes received some good news when freshman Gary Johnson was cleared to play in an exhibition game. Johnson had been diagnosed with an undisclosed heart condition and his status for future games is uncertain.

• It isn't often you see a conference have more than half of its teams sporting new coaches in one season. The Mountain West has seen a big turnover with five new coaches out of nine teams. Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming all have made changes going into the 2007-08 campaign.

• There are interesting storylines when Division I schools play lower-level competition in preseason exhibition games. When Duke faced Shaw, there was a good reason for the match-up. The head coach at Shaw was former Blue Devil Robert Brickey.

• New Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie is trying to figure out his lineup. One player to watch out for is super sophomore Jodie Meeks. He showed flashes of brilliance by scoring 34 points (including seven-of-nine three-pointers) against Pikeville College.

• I felt it was a good move for Indiana assistant coach Rob Senderoff to resign after the phone call incident. He did receive a nice severance package to leave the Hoosiers. Indiana moved former Hoosiers player and Bowling Green head coach Dan Dakich into an assistant coaching role. Hopefully the Hoosiers and Kelvin Sampson can get things straightened out and move forward in the future.

• I was happy to see Wisconsin guard Michael Flowers return to practice this week. Flowers left the team for two weeks due to undisclosed medical reasons.

• Auburn received some bad news when last year's leading scorer and rebounder, Josh Dollard, was redshirted for the 2007-08 season due to medical reasons. The junior forward averaged 12.5 ppg. and seven rpg. last season. He will have two years of eligibility remaining. The Tigers also suspended last year's second-leading scorer, Quan Prowell, for a minimum of six games for a violation of team rules. Prowell, who averaged 12 ppg, will not return before the West Virginia game on December 5th. That means he will miss games against Tulane and George Washington, among the six he will sit out.

• Illinois has lost a lot going into this season, so the last thing Bruce Weber needs is an injury. Point guard Chester Frazier sprained his left thumb during a recent practice. He sat out his team's recent exhibition win over Quincy, but he should be ready for the regular season.

• Oral Roberts junior forward Marchello Vealy was suspended from the Golden Eagles' team for undisclosed reasons. The 6-7 Vealy averaged 7.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last season and was a preseason second-team all-Summit League pick.

• Florida State freshman guard Chris Blake was suspended for the first semester due to a violation of team rules. Coach Leonard Hamilton laid down the law on that one.

• Don't be surprised if Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon uses a smaller, quicker lineup this season. Sam Young is capable of big things and will be counted on more. The Panthers have to find a replacement for center Aaron Gray. It may become big men by committee for Dixon. One player who could contribute and surprise is 6-10 JUCO Cassin Diggs, whose commitment has been impressive. 6-7 diaper dandy DeJuan Blair is going to be a factor up front as well.