Roundball Chatter for Dec. 17
Each week I'll write about the sport I love, college basketball:
• How about a salute to Tubby Smith and his Golden Gophers. Minnesota is 11-1, with the lone loss coming to a highly-ranked Duke team down at Atlantis (neutral site game). Minnesota's resume includes wins over Memphis, Florida State and Stanford, plus Smith got his 500th career win along the way.
• I was sorry to learn that BracketBusters will be going away after this season. That tournament gave the little guy an additional shot at beating a good opponent to bolster its resume for the big dance. With the NCAA tournament expanding, the belief was BracketBusters had run its course. It was important over the years.
• Northwestern suffered a major blow when senior forward Drew Crawford was lost for the season with a torn labrum. He averaged 13.5 PPG this season and more than 16 PPG last year. His absence will hurt Northwestern's chances of making its first trip to the NCAA tournament.
• Congratulations to former Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson. The Hall of Famer received another honor when he was named the 2013 Naismith Awards Men's Outstanding Contributor to Basketball. He will be honored at the 2013 Naismith Awards banquet in Atlanta next March.
• It was a busy week for suspensions in college hoops. Rutgers coach Mike Rice was suspended for three games and fined by the school for conduct which included issues during practice time, according to reports. St. Joe's suspended forward Halil Kanacevic for two games and a week of practice for unsportsmanlike conduct against Villanova. The forward made an obscene gesture at Wildcats fans.
• With a number of previously-unbeaten teams falling last week (Indiana, Florida, LSU, Eastern Kentucky and Charlotte to name a few), there were just eight teams with perfect records left in college hoops entering this week: Duke, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Michigan, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming and Illinois.
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