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Vitale: Great way to start '05

Vitale: ACC, beware Duke (again)

Vitale: ACC excels, but don't forget MVC

Vitale: Howland on track at UCLA

Vitale: Iowa, Cincinnati quietly excel

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Mike Davis faces boo birds, empty seats


Indiana coach Mike Davis has a crucial time ahead after a 73-52 loss at Northwestern. The Hoosiers (5-7) face Wisconsin this weekend, and the Badgers have won the last four meetings.

Mike Davis
Mike Davis
Davis needs to get the boo birds off his back, and the team needs to rally and get the fans behind them and in the stands again. It's rare to see empty seats in Bloomington. The Hoosiers do have some games they're capable of winning in the Big Ten.

Athletic director Rick Greenspan has already pulled the trigger and fired football coach Gerry DiNardo, so Davis has to be concerned any time the phone rings and his AD is on the other end!

Indiana also received some bad news when freshman center Lucas Steijn, who did not play in the team's first 11 games, was declared academically ineligible. The Hoosiers didn't need to lose another big body.

Michigan coach Tommy Amaker has to be thrilled with the return of point guard Daniel Horton, who sat out six games with a sprained knee.

Horton scored 13 points in 26 minutes and played with a knee brace in Michigan's Big Ten opener, a 65-63 win at Iowa. His return is a big plus for the Wolverines (9-5), who could make some noise in conference play.

I spoke to Florida coach Billy Donovan the other day, and he was saddened by the news that Matt Walsh will be out four to six weeks. Walsh's ankle injury is more severe than first thought.

That's a major loss, because the Gators lose an effective perimeter player and a key member from the trio of David Lee and Anthony Roberson. Walsh will miss a number of important SEC games, and this will be a real challenge for Florida (8-3).

After a great start, NC State (10-3) ran into some trouble, with a poor performance at Madison Square Garden in a blowout loss to St. John's -- the Wolfpack scored just 10 points in the first half -- followed by a home loss to West Virginia.

Coach Herb Sendek's club is at Miami on Sunday, then hosts Duke on Thursday. NC State desperately needs a win to get back on track psychologically. Julius Hodge will be back in the lineup after sitting out against the Mountaineers.

In Eugene, raves have been coming in about Oregon's Malik Hairston, one of the premier diaper dandies in America.

The Ducks (9-2) have another diaper dandy to watch: Bryce Taylor, the son of former Princeton star and Nets standout Brian Taylor. The younger Taylor has been a consistent scorer for Oregon.

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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