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Roundball Chatter

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

Every Friday I will give my thoughts on the game I love, college basketball.

• Missouri coach Mike Anderson had a very difficult decision to make. I give him credit for deciding to dismiss Kalen Grimes from the Tigers after an off-court incident. It would have been easy to keep the big man around to help out, and Missouri will have some tough competition early in the CBE Classic, which includes the likes of UCLA and Michigan State. Throwing Grimes off the team sent a major message that if you can live up to your responsibility, you cannot play at Missouri.

• As I have said before, Bruce Pearl has brought great energy and enthusiasm to the Tennessee men's basketball program. He was rewarded for his efforts recently and the contract extension and raise put his total package around $1.3 million. Pearl will have a Top 10 team this season with the return of Chris Lofton plus the addition of Tyler Smith from Iowa.

• It has been a rough off-season at Duke. Center Brian Zoubek was injured and will miss time leading up to the season. Then DeMarcus Nelson had surgery to repair a fracture in his left wrist. Nelson averaged over 14 points and five rebounds for the Blue Devils last season, and he should be ready in plenty of time for Midnight Madness. Nelson suffered the injury at the Pan Am Games trials. Missing valuable time to work out during the off-season is a factor for injured players.

• Bill Barton made a good career decision. After posting an impressive 255-66 record at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass. over the last 10 seasons, he opted to go to the college ranks as an assistant at Duquesne under Ron Everhart. Great move for the Dukes adding Barton to their staff. Notre Dame Prep sent over 70 players to Division I schools during his reign.

• A sign that Davidson is moving up in the world of college basketball came recently. Bob McKillop's team, ranked in some preseason circles, was invited to compete in the Wooden Classic against UCLA on December 8th. Davidson is led by Stephen Curry, the son of former NBA guard and outstanding long-range shooter Dell Curry. If you were wondering how good the Wildcats are, consider last year's squad finished 29-5 and gave Gary Williams and the Terps a real run in the big dance. This season, North Carolina, Duke and NC State are on the schedule, along with the trip West to face Ben Howland's talented Bruins.

• Kansas State diaper dandy Michael Beasley was putting up impressive numbers for the USA under-19 team competing in Serbia. This kid can flat out play and he will be a major factor for Frank Martin's Wildcats right out of the gate this season. He had 17 points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes during a win over tournament favorite France.

• How about a salute to Pittsburgh basketball coach Jamie Dixon. Earlier this summer he was named to the athletic Hall of Fame at his alma mater, TCU. As a player, he helped the Horned Frogs reach the NCAA tournament in 1987. Yes, my friends, he was a pretty good guard who made All-SWC as a senior.

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