Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dick Vitale [Print without images]

Monday, December 23, 2013
Roundball chatter

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

Joel James
Joel James is averaging 4.3 rebounds per game for North Carolina.

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

•  It didn't take long for us to get a Pitino vs. Pitino showdown scheduled. Next November, Hall of Famer Rick Pitino will face his son, Richard, as Louisville meets Minnesota in Puerto Rico. The game, the Armed Forces Classic, will be held at the U.S. Coast Guard's Air Station Borinquen.

•  A day after North Carolina decided not to seek P.J. Hairston's reinstatement from the NCAA, Tar Heels fans received more bad news. Center Joel James was lost for a couple of weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee.

•  Michigan got a tough win over Stanford. The maize and blue will be a first-division team in the tough Big 10! But they will need a healthy Mitch McGary down the line.

•  Ohio State pulled off an amazing comeback against Notre Dame. The Irish had the game in their hands, but credit the Buckeyes' defense at the end, plus their incredible heart, as they remained unbeaten.

•  Former Duke player Alex Murphy is transferring to Florida, where his brother Erik played. Thanks to that decision, Alex Murphy will have something special on his resume. It is pretty impressive to say you played for Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski and future Hall of Famer Billy Donovan!

•  Is there any doubt that Jabari Parker is the best diaper dandy in the nation? He put on a show at Madison Square Garden in Duke's win over UCLA.

•  Guard play is so vital in college basketball today. It is so important to have a guy who can handle the rock and feed the post player inside. Look at the best of the best teams, and you will see most of them have successful guards.

•  UCLA coach Steve Alford wants to schedule home-and-home series with the elite teams in college basketball. People are not going to come out to Los Angeles to see Cupcake City! The Bruins are playing in front of half-full audiences at Pauley Pavilion right now. I believe Alford will have the program drawing bigger crowds soon.

•  Happy holidays to all hoops fans out there.