Each week I'll write about the sport I love, college basketball:
• Congratulations to the state of Ohio. The Ohio State University, Ohio U., Cincinnati and Xavier are all in the Sweet 16. That is a great plug for basketball there.
• The one player North Carolina could not afford to lose is Kendall Marshall. He suffered a fractured wrist on his right (non-shooting) hand, and if he misses time, it will be a blow to the Tar Heels. North Carolina doesn't have much in terms of reserve help in the position. At least when John Henson missed time, there was James Michael McAdoo waiting in the wings. Remember, North Carolina lost Leslie McDonald and Dexter Strickland from its backcourt depth earlier in the season.
• Syracuse is a different team with Fab Melo out of the lineup. He led the team in rebounding and blocked shots and was vastly improved this season. His suspension due to eligibility issues was a blow to the Orange.
• Sorry to learn of the passing of former coach Dick Harter. I always enjoyed talking about basketball with him. He had great basketball knowledge and was highly respected in the sport. He did a tremendous job at Penn, Oregon and in the NBA. He was a disciplinarian and a great man who will be missed.
• One of the tough aspects of coaching is the lack of job security. South Carolina fired Darrin Horn last week and SMU let Matt Doherty go. You have seen a number of big names fired in recent weeks, including Bruce Weber at Illinois, Doc Sadler of Nebraska, Doug Wojcik at Tulsa, Jim Baron at Rhode Island, and the hits keep on coming. Weber was over 100 games above .500 at Illinois and led his team to a Final Four. Wojcik was such a good leader who starred as a player at Navy. It is a sad reality of the profession.
• Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory decided he had dealt with enough and dismissed Glen Rice Jr. from his team. Players have to realize that life is about making good decisions and Rice had his share of off-court issues during his time with the Yellow Jackets. Hopefully he will learn from this and land somewhere else where he can make better choices.
• The Gazelle Group does a great job for college basketball, setting up early-season tournaments. Next season, Madison Square Garden will be the home of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. NCAA participants Alabama and Purdue headline the event, along with Villanova and Oregon State.
• NCAA tournament teams Baylor, California, Syracuse and Gonzaga are in the field in Maui in November 2013. Arkansas, Dayton and Minnesota are also in the 2013 field. Former Wake Forest coach Dave Odom does a great job as the tournament chairman. Previously announced, the 2012 lineup includes North Carolina, Marquette, Texas, Butler, Mississippi State, Illinois, USC and Chaminade. The new coach who replaces Bruce Weber with the Illini will get a nice trip early in his first season.