- Dick Vitale, College Basketball analyst
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Each week I'll write about the sport I love, college basketball:
• No one projected Kansas to be this good. My vote today for Coach of the Year goes to Bill Self of Kansas. He lost the Morris Twins, Brady Morningstar, Tyrell Reed and Josh Selby. Thomas Robinson averaged 14 minutes a game last season and now he is a national Player of the Year contender. I give the Jayhawks a lot of credit for being right there in the Big 12 once again. This is a program that has won or shared the conference regular-season title for seven straight seasons. Also, is there big man in the nation that has improved as much as Jeff Withey of Kansas?
• I am not convinced that I would take the Bobcats lineup over Kentucky, Syracuse or North Carolina. OK, so that is a little exaggerated, but Charlotte is really having problems this season. There is some talent there, but it has been ugly, baby! At least Charlotte broke its long losing streak last week!
• This year, the depth of good mid-majors is the best in my 30-plus years at ESPN. We will see a number of quality teams competing in the big dance. Remember, last season, Butler and VCU both made the Final Four. Could this be the year one of them cuts down the nets and gets the gold trophy? I hope the mid-major super teams are not passed over by mediocrity of some BCS conference schools.
• The Colonial Athletic Association is a very underrated league. Drexel sent a message when it beat Cleveland State at Bracket Busters. Bruiser Flint has the Dragons playing very well. VCU and George Mason have picked up where they left off. Paul Hewitt has done a solid job. I believe this conference deserves multiple bids to the big dance.
• San Diego State got some good news when 6-9 Winston Shepard from Findlay Prep committed to the Aztecs. Add him to a group of transfers going to San Diego State, a group that includes Dwayne Polee Jr. from St. John's, James Johnson from Virginia and J. J. O'Brien from Utah, and coach Steve Fisher has added a lot to his frontcourt for next season. Fisher has done a superb job this season after losing four starters from last season's NCAA squad.
• Will last week's NC State loss at Duke come back and haunt the Wolfpack? Mark Gottfried's team could have used a signature win, and it had a 20-point lead in the second half. The overall future is bright with a solid recruiting class coming in. This season, the Wolfpack needs a few more good wins to lock up an NCAA berth.
• Illinois coach Bruce Weber is a fighter and the Illini have a chance to turn this around. The players must look in the mirror and realize the talent is there. The loss to Nebraska over the weekend did not bode well for Weber.
• What a great win for Notre Dame, rallying to beat Villanova. Mike Brey is a legitimate Coach of the Year candidate.
Each week Dick Vitale talks about the sport he loves, college basketball.