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Carolina-Illinois not exactly a rematch


The ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchups have been announced, and there are a number of interesting combinations.

Illinois and North Carolina meet again, but given the depleted rosters, you can't really call it a rematch of the championship game. Sean May, Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants, Marvin Williams and Jawad Williams have departed the defending champon Tar Heels, while Deron Williams, Luther Head and Roger Powell are gone from Illinois' amazing 2004-05 team.

There will still be plenty of quality players on the floor, starting with my First Team All-Solid Gold guard, Dee Brown of the Illini. Coach Bruce Weber also has James Augustine returning up front.

A handful of diaper dandies will try to bring excitement to coach Roy Williams' Tar Heels. Tyler Hansbrough, Bobby Frasor and Danny Green should help right away in the rebuilding process.

Another matchup features two clubs that will be highly regarded in the preseason polls: Duke is No. 1 in my revised preseason poll, while Indiana should make some noise with the addition of Marco Killingsworth to complement D.J. White up front. The Hoosiers will be improved. This game is in Indiana, making it more interesting as diaper dandy Josh McRoberts wears the Duke uniform in his home state.

I'm excited already thinking about the excitement and spirit of college basketball. Let the games begin!

I wonder what Paul "Bear" Bryant would have thought if he heard that Alabama is paying its basketball coach $1 million per season.

Mark Gottfried has been rewarded for his great success with the Crimson Tide. Who would have ever thought it? I know where to go for a loan now, baby!

The Tide have averaged more than 22 wins during the last five seasons. Gottfried has led Alabama to four straight NCAA appearances.

Why didn't Kennedy Winston stay in school? That was a bad decision by Winston, since he wasn't drafted. At least Jermareo Davidson changed his mind and decided to return to Tuscaloosa.

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton is getting a good one when transfer Toney Douglas becomes eligible for the 2006-07 season. Douglas transferred from Auburn; it was sad to see things didn't work out under coach Jeff Lebo.

There was no doubt Douglas made an impact as a diaper dandy, averaging almost 17 points per game while making the All-SEC rookie team. He scored 33 points in a game against Virginia last season.

The fact that Douglas has to sit one season bothers me. I've never liked the transfer rule, because coaches can leave a position and get new country-club memberships and new deals right away. When players want to move on they have to sit out a year, and it doesn't add up to me.

Randolph Morris of Kentucky, who was an NBA draft early entry, reportedly did not sign with an agent, meaning the door is still open for a possible return to college next season.

Morris went undrafted, and if reinstated, he would be a sophomore next season.

There's an NCAA rule that says a player can petition for his return to college within 30 days following the draft, as long as he pays back any expenses incurred attending NBA tryouts and workouts.

If Morris can come back, it would be a big-time bonus for Kentucky because the 'Cats could be a top-10 team.

Another undrafted early entry, forward Dwayne Jones of St. Joseph's, will seek reinstatement, according to a report on ESPN.com. If Jones returns, he'll be a senior.

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

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