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SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

October 31, 2006

I can't wait to tip it off, baby! I am counting the days and hours before I call my first game of the season, at the NIT season tip-off!

Now that the season is getting underway, one of the things I love to do is share words around the basketball scene with some of my favorite people. These individuals have a passion and love for the game and they understand what makes it so special.

It is great when I am in New York and I run into Associated Press college basketball expert Jim O'Connell. He eats, sleeps and drinks the game and his knowledge is incredible. You know a college basketball game is a big one if you see O'Connell sitting courtside.

Staying in the Big Apple, another important member of the college basketball media community is Dick "Hoops" Weiss of the New York Daily News. He travels on the national scene and I catch him all over the place. He's my buddy, and I have had the pleasure of writing several books with. Hoops is a great person to share thoughts on the game of basketball with.

If you want expertise and knowledge of the game, sit down with Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News. He has a wealth of information and loves the game. Also, spend time with ESPN's own Andy Katz, who works so hard and gathers insider information you can read on ESPN.com.

Down in the Triangle area, I love spending time with talented writer Bill Brill. He is on top of things down in the ACC region.

There are a host of others throughout the country during my travels over the season that I truly enjoy spending time with, discussing the game I love.

They all make it fun to sit down and exchange information. I have to by honest and admit it, I get a lot of my information in talking with these people. That's right, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, baby!

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