Each week I write about the sport I love, college basketball:
• Congratulations to the Virginia Cavaliers on their first outright ACC regular-season championship since 1981. Some guy named Ralph Sampson played for the Cavaliers back then. I love the way this Virginia team plays. The Cavaliers are so unselfish. They pass the ball so well and work well together as a team. Then there is the defense, which is so tough. Tony Bennett has a lot to be proud of.
• Also deserving of praise is Wichita State, which finished the regular season 31-0. The Shockers are for real, baby, and deserve a No. 1 seed if they win the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. Wichita State should be a heavy favorite in that event. Gregg Marshall has done a super job there, getting the team to the Final Four last season, and it's been perfection so far this season.
• Several teams out there are trying to find themselves. Let's start with Kentucky, as John Calipari's team has not grown up yet. The loss to South Carolina is a perfect example, not to take anything away from Frank Martin's team. The Wildcats have more talent, but they did not play hard and fell behind the Gamecocks. You'd better believe Big Blue Nation was not happy with that result. Meanwhile, Michigan State was stunned at home by Illinois, but injuries have been a brutal factor for the Spartans.
• UCLA lost a hard-fought game to Oregon last week. The Bruins were short-handed with Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams, arguably the two best players on the team, sitting out a one-game suspension. At this point of the season, veteran players should not violate team rules. Coach Steve Alford sent a loud and clear message that he will not tolerate any violation of team rules, even if the Bruins had a shot at catching Arizona in the Pac-12 standings. Anderson and Adams hurt their teammates by their actions, so let's hope they will learn from their lack of judgment.
• How about a salute to Xavier. Chris Mack's team got two big victories last week, winning at St. John's and beating a ranked Creighton squad at home. Jalen Reynolds was a big factor against the Red Storm (17 points, 16 rebounds) while Justin Martin keyed the win over the Bluejays (19 points, 16 rebounds).
• Basketball in the Big 10 has been wacky. A few examples include Illinois winning at Michigan State, Penn State sweeping Ohio State and Indiana over Iowa. There are no cupcakes, baby! The VBDI (Vitale Bald Dome Index) says the Big Ten is the No. 1 league.
• The court-storming incident at Utah Valley, which led to the suspension of two New Mexico State players, was ugly. Something has to be done to secure the safety of players leaving the court. I know that K.C. Ross-Miller should not have thrown a basketball at another player, but this could have been even worse. Let's hope nothing happens if these two teams meet in the WAC tournament.
• Two teams desperately needing wins got them on Sunday despite both missing a star freshman. Noah Vonleh (foot) missed Indiana's win over Ohio State. St. John's was minus Rysheed Jordan (death of family member), but the Red Storm got past DePaul.