Roundball chatter

Each week I'll write about the sport I love, college basketball:

• Missouri coach Frank Haith got bad news when starter Laurence Bowers was lost for the season with a torn ACL. The 6-8 Bowers started 27 games a season ago, averaging 11.6 ppg. and 6.1 rpg. The Tigers have a lot of depth and talent, but this is still a major loss for the new coach.

• Conference re-alignment continues to be a soap opera. Big East presidents gave commissioner John Marinatto authority to look at expanding. Other schools have been looking for a place to land. We are a little more than one month away from the start of the season and I cannot wait for the focus to shirt on the games!

• A good sign of how good North Carolina is doing came when the list of John Wooden Award nominees came out. Four Tar Heels were on the list -- Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Kendall Marshall. The bad news for the ACC came as those were the only four players from the league nominated.

• Speaking of the Wooden Award, one player that surprised me by the lack of a nomination was Cincinnati center Yancy Gates. He should be a double-double guy this season and I am expecting big things as the Bearcats compete in the tough Big East.

• I was thrilled to see Jameer Nelson honored by being selected to the St. Joseph's Athletic Hall of Fame. Nelson was such an electrifying guard and I truly enjoyed watching him play.

• Nice to see that former NC State coach Sidney Lowe has a new job. He was hired by Tyrone Corbin as an assistant coach with the Utah Jazz. Lowe was a former NBA coach as well; now he hopes to have the pros back in action, baby!

• Former Dukie Thomas Hill, a member of the 1991 and 1992 men's basketball national championship teams, has joined the Sun Belt staff as the league's Director of Championships. Here's wishing him all the best!