Commentary

Roundball chatter

Updated: February 24, 2014, 1:42 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

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

• When you look at North Carolina's stat sheet and see the Tar Heels' poor free throw and 3-point shooting percentages, it is hard to believe this team is playing so well. It is the intangibles like defense and rebounding that have made a difference for Roy Williams and the Tar Heels. Williams is such a fierce competitor, and this team has responded after a 1-4 ACC start.

• After the Marcus Smart incident at Texas Tech, the NCAA has altered a rule involving players leaving the court. A flagrant non-contact foul 2 and ejection is now given to a player who goes into the stands. That was a good decision.

• Billy Donovan does a great job of making adjustments at halftime. Look what happened against Mississippi. Marshall Henderson had 22 points in the first half, and the Gators shut him down in the second half en route to a win.

• Louisville is coming on strong, winning six straight games. The latest came on a Russ Smith jumper with 2.2 seconds left at Cincinnati. Defense has been vital as the Cardinals have held all six of those opponents during their win streak to 70 points or fewer.

• This has been a roller-coaster season for Bo Ryan and the Badgers. Wisconsin opened 16-0, then went 1-5 in its next six. The Badgers are back on track with five consecutive wins, including victories at Iowa, Michigan and Illinois. Wisconsin may be favored in each of its last four games, so the Badgers could have a great streak heading into the Big Ten tournament.

• For those trying to figure out the seedings in the SEC tournament, think about this: Seven teams are currently tied at 7-7 in league play. The last few weeks of the season will be vital for those seeking an NCAA berth. It's pretty wacky to see this kind of logjam this late in the season.

• Saint Louis continued to find ways to win. In the last four games, the Billikens have won by a total of 15 points.

• Is this the year VMI breaks through and returns to the Big Dance? The nation's top scoring team (just under 90 per game) is tied for first in the Big South. The last time the Keydets made the big dance was 1977.

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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