Roundball chatter

Updated: December 30, 2013, 3:19 PM ET
By Dick Vitale |

Mitch McGary Leon Halip/Getty ImagesThe loss of Mitch McGary to back surgery could hurt Michigan as the rugged Big Ten schedule begins.

Each week I write about the sport I love, college basketball:

• The loss of Mitch McGary is a major blow to Michigan, as he has elected to have back surgery and his return this season is said to be highly doubtful. He had already missed three of the team's first 11 games and was averaging less than 10 points and 25 minutes per game. McGary's back has been an issue since the preseason.

• Before the season, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was concerned about guard play. That is no longer the case as diaper dandy Tyler Ennis and Trevor Cooney have really come through. Just ask Villanova, as the duo combined for 41 points in Syracuse's recent win over the Wildcats. The Orange trailed 25-7 early and still won by 16.

• Iowa State continues to impress, winning the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii and beating a tough Boise State team in the final. Fred Hoiberg has done a super job as the Cyclones are off to their best start in school history. Remember, Iowa State lost four of its top six scorers from last year's 23-12 NCAA tournament squad.

• The Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron, were major factors in Kentucky's win over Louisville. I felt going into the game they were going to be key players and they came through, combining for 28 points and eight rebounds. The intensity of the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry is so unique and the coaching matchup of Rick Pitino and John Calipari adds to the electricity. Big Blue Nation got to celebrate New Year's a few days early.

• I would like to have heard Illinois coach John Groce's halftime speech Saturday. His Fighting Illini were down 10 at halftime against Illinois-Chicago. They erased that deficit immediately and outscored the Flames 40-16 in the second half for the win.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to


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