Dick VitaleSPECIAL TO ESPN.COM
Injuries are a part of the game, but it seems like a number of big names have been hurt already. Kansas guard Sharron Collins had surgery earlier in the week after a stress fracture was discovered in his foot. He will likely miss six weeks. Gonzaga suffered a setback when Josh Heytvelt was lost to the team for 4-6 weeks with a foot injury. Penn State forward Jamelle Cornley, one of the premier players in the Big Ten, has been bothered by a knee bruise suffered during a late October scrimmage. Kansas State forward David Hoskins has been sidelined with a knee injury.
People ask me why there have been so many shock city upsets early in the season. I feel there are a number of factors. First off, the three-point shot has been the great equalizer. Perimeter players can make a big difference. In coaching evaluations, some don't realize the value of players who can make that shot. You can go on a run and change a game. The scholarship rules have leveled the playing field so teams can't load up any more. I think it is great for college hoops to see the Gardner-Webbs and Mercers of the world.
I am really looking forward to going to Kansas City for the College Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. Then I will be calling the semifinals and finals of the CBE event, which should be special. I can't wait to see Kevin Love playing in person for Ben Howland's UCLA Bruins. It will be great to see Mike Anderson's improving Missouri club, as well as Gary Williams' Maryland team and Tom Izzo's Michigan State Spartans.
Nice to see that Providence College will honor three of its greatest men's basketball players ever on Saturday, March 8, 2008. Jimmy Walker, Ernie DiGregorio and Marvin Barnes will be honored at halftime of the Friars' game versus Villanova at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. It is great to see schools show their tradition off.
Congratulations to Fordham coach Derreck Whittenburg on his contract extension. Whittenburg, the guard on Jimmy V's national championship team in 1983, has done so much to support the V Foundation over the years. He has also done a super job revitalizing the Rams' program. I was also thrilled to see Florida State give head coach Leonard Hamilton a contract extension.
I was recently asked on the Mike and Mike radio program about the NCAA tournament and whether or not the field should be expanded. No, no, no, I love the way it is right now. If it isn't broken, why fix it? We have a great situation and we are light years ahead of college football.
Talk about a great stat line from early in the week. Tennessee-Martin guard Lester Hudson, who by the way put up 35 points on Memphis in the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer event, posted a quadruple-double in a 116-74 win over Central Baptist of Arkansas. Hudson, from Memphis, scored 25 points, grabbed 12 boards, dished out 10 assists and added 10 steals. Wow, that is simply awesome with a capital A!
When John Pelphrey was hired as Arkansas head coach, he made a wise move hiring Rob Evans as an assistant. Evans was the head coach at Mississippi and Arizona State and his experience will be a positive down in Fayetteville.
Kentucky suffered a bad break when guard Jodie Meeks for six weeks with a pelvic injury. The Wildcats were already shorthanded with Derrick Jasper sidelined.
College basketball postseason play has been expanded with the creation of the College Basketball Invitational. The new event will feature 16 teams left out of the NCAA tournament. Now there will be 113 teams in postseason action (65 in the NCAA, 32 in the NIT and 16 in the CBI).
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.