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Given big-time year, Bogut deserves more PR


Andrew Bogut
The hub of domestic brews may be leaning toward an import.

Q: What do you think of Andrew Bogut? What are his strengths and weaknesses? — Down Under hoops fan (Australia)
— Andrew Bogut is having a big-time year, averaging a double-double each night (19.5 ppg, 11.7 rpg). He hit 11-of-12 field goals in a 63-51 home win over Air Force in late January. Utah shot 80 percent from the field in that game — that's right, 80 percent, baby!

A 7-foot sophomore from Melbourne, Australia, Bogut has been dominant in the lane, and it's a shame he doesn't get more visibility. Coach Ray Giacoletti is doing a great job replacing a legend like Rick Majerus at Utah. Bogut is a star. He is under-the-radar but he shouldn't be.

Q: Is this finally the year that Michigan State gets back on the national scene? I know that point-guard problems have been the downfall the past couple years, but this year Chris Hill seems to be getting a firm grasp on the position, and Drew Neitzel is growing up before our eyes. Is this team a legit national-title contender if the solid point-guard play continues? Or will they just disappoint again? — Chauncey Husted (Chicago, Ill.)
— After losing to Illinois, it will be hard for Michigan State to win the Big Ten. The loss to Wisconsin was also a tough one. Coach Tom Izzo's team will always scrap and claw. Paul Davis, Chris Hill and Co. will be a dangerous team for anyone.

They defend, they come after you, they have solid perimeter play and they handle the basketball well. This team still has potential to do some damage come NCAA Tournament time. But I don't see them being in the top echelon with teams like Illinois and North Carolina.

Q: I'm curious about what you think of Vermont's small-town boy, Taylor Coppenrath. Last year, when Coppenrath scored 40-something points against UCLA, the UCLA coach stated that if Coppenrath attended that school, he'd be starting. — Allen Kuusela (Vermont)
— Coppenrath dominates in the America East Conference. The 6-foot-9 senior forward is a big-time player, and it's great to see someone like him getting publicity. He didn't come to college with a big-time reputation, yet he's putting up big-time numbers (23.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg) for coach Tom Brennan in his final season as head coach at Vermont. I think the Catamounts will be in the NCAA Tournament to showcase his abilities to a national audience.

Q: What do you think of Charlotte's chances this year? — Eddy Cage (Miami)
— Coach Bobby Lutz is one of the three most underrated coaches in America, right there with Bo Ryan of Wisconsin and Al Skinner of Boston College. They all do an amazing job year in and year out. The 49ers seem to get the most out of their personnel, so it doesn't surprise me when Lutz does well. Charlotte's 54-51 loss to East Carolina did surprise me.

Q: Will ESPN ever have an SEC/ACC Challenge? — Randy (Pikeville, Kentucky)
— We'll have to talk to our programming experts about that. I think those events are great. The ACC/Big Ten Challenge generates excitement from year to year. How about having the Big 12, Big East and SEC conferences all involved?

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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