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Monday, December 16, 2013
Roundball chatter

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

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

• Big Blue Nation has a passionate fan base, but Kentucky fans need to be patient. There were some talking 40-0 before the season, but that was unrealistic. The Wildcats have a lot of young talent and it will take time for the squad to play as a cohesive unit. There are so many players on the roster who were stars and won championships in high school. They have to adjust to losing a few games. You will see the real Kentucky team later in the season when they gain more experience.

• North Carolina has yet to hear from the NCAA on the eligibility of P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald. With both players out of the lineup, the Tar Heels have wins over Kentucky, Louisville and Michigan State but losses against Belmont and UAB. The NCAA has yet to announce a decision, but I believe it will issue a ruling in the near future. If he gets both players back, Roy Williams will have a team capable of beating anybody.

• This is an exciting time for basketball fans in Iowa. The Iowa-Iowa State game was a thriller in Ames last week, going down to the wire. The Cyclones got the win and remain unbeaten.

• Oregon remained unbeaten with a solid win over Illinois in Portland. Arizona and Oregon remain unblemished but don't meet until Feb. 6 in Tucson.

• Providence suffered a blow when sophomore Kris Dunn was lost for the season, going for shoulder surgery. He missed nine games with shoulder issues last season.

• A lot of coaches believe that playing tougher nonconference foes will prepare their teams for league play. Bryant coach Tim O'Shea feels his squad will be set for the Northeast Conference. Look at some of the teams his club has faced so far: Gonzaga, Harvard, Notre Dame and Ohio State.