Every Friday I will give my thoughts on the game I love, college basketball.
Texas Tech coach Bob Knight will go for his 900th career college win when his Red Raiders travel to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State this weekend. My friends, Knight is not worried about milestones; he cares about his team improving and progressing. This will be a good road test and I am sure he is concerned about this game and not the number 900.
I also want to wish Perry Watson all the best. The Detroit coach recently took a leave of absence from his head coaching position due to medical reasons. Perry is a class act whom I have known for a long time. I also want to wish Southern Miss basketball coach Larry Eustachy the best. He is taking an indefinite leave of absence to be with his ailing mother.
How about a salute to Indiana's DJ White. He had a special game against Michigan earlier this week, scoring 21 points while pulling down 22 rebounds. He became the first Hoosier to have a 20-20 game since Alan Henderson did it in 1995 (26 points, 20 boards vs. Minnesota). The tandem of White and Eric Gordon has led Indiana to nine straight victories, the longest winning streak since the 1992-93 squad won 13 in a row.
Billy Donovan's young Gator squad had to gain a lot of confidence off of its win at Alabama Tuesday. Nick Calathes has enjoyed a super diaper dandy season. Florida has some depth and should be dangerous in the SEC.
While Drew Neitzel has been struggling with his shooting, he has still been a very valuable player for Tom Izzo. Shooting under 43 percent from the floor this season, the senior guard has 72 assists and just 16 turnovers for the 15-1 Spartans. Don't worry, he will heat up as the season moves forward. Neitzel is too good a player to miss open looks as he has at times recently.
Leonard Hamilton's Florida State squad is off to a 12-4 start, including a big win over in-state rival Florida. The Seminoles have a couple of real tests ahead in the next two games. Florida State visits Clemson before returning to Tallahassee to take on Duke. Those contests will give a real evaluation of the progress of the Seminole program. Success in those games could lead to bigger and better things down the line.
It has been shock city this season, from Gardner-Webb's upset of Kentucky, Belmont over Alabama, Mercer over USC and on down the line. This week's additions include Robert Morris winning at Boston College and Division II Panhandle State of Oklahoma going to Fort Collins and knocking off Colorado State.
How is Tubby Smith doing at Minnesota? Smith's 11-3 start as head coach at Minnesota is the best record through the first 14 games since O.B. "Ozzie" Cowles started 13-1 in his first year with the Golden Gophers during the 1948-49 season. That is a span of 10 Minnesota head coaches.
Injuries continue to take a toll across America. Among players that missed game action this week: Maryland guard Eric Hayes (missed Holy Cross game due to a sprained ankle) and Kansas guard Mario Chalmers (sat out Loyola-Maryland contest with groin injury). Seton Hall lost guard Paul Gause for 2-4 weeks with a broken knuckle on his right hand.
There have been a lot of diaper dandies making headlines this season, led by Eric Gordon, Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo and Kevin Love. Look at what some other freshmen did earlier this week: AJ Ogilvy of Vanderbilt put up 25 against South Carolina; he has been one of the keys for the undefeated Commodores. Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn had 27 points against Brown. Nick Calathes was super in a win at Alabama. Wake Forest freshman Jeff Teague had a season-high 26 points in a solid win over BYU. Oklahoma's Blake Griffin had 26 points against Mt. St. Mary's. Kalin Lucas of Michigan State had 16 points off the bench in a tight win over Purdue. Wow, it is amazing how many newcomers have made key contributions across the nation.
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.