Commentary

Roundball chatter

Updated: January 20, 2014, 5:12 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Adreian PayneAP Photo/Al GoldisMichigan State has kept winning despite missing Adreian Payne with a sprained ankle.

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

• Butler fans are certainly getting their money's worth this season. The Bulldogs have played 18 games in 2013-14, and six have gone to overtime. It's amazing to have one out of every three games go extra time. Butler played its sixth overtime game Saturday, beating Marquette.

• It was strange to see Pittsburgh and Syracuse playing in an ACC showdown. The Orange won the physical, defensive contest. I loved it when they were both in the Big East.

• Kansas center Joel Embiid's stock is rising. I feel he would be the first player chosen in the NBA draft if it were held today.

• Tubby Smith got a statement win when his Texas Tech Red Raiders upset Baylor for their first Big 12 victory of the season. That was a super win for a team that came into the game at .500.

• Michigan State has been able to get to the winner's circle lately without a key performer. Spartans big man Adreian Payne has missed the past three games with a foot injury, and Michigan State has won them all. He is doubtful for Tuesday's game against Indiana.

• Missouri State suffered a major blow in its near-upset of Wichita State when its leading scorer, guard Marcus Marshall, suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee. Marshall was averaging 14.3 points per game for coach Paul Lusk's team.

• Saturday, Feb. 1 is Autism Awareness Day in college hoops. Towson coach Pat Skerry has a young son with autism, and he has worked hard to make it happen. It is an important day for the sport to recognize how autism affects so many families.

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 ESPN.com.

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