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Monday, January 20, 2014
Roundball chatter

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

Adreian Payne
Michigan State has kept winning despite missing Adreian Payne with a sprained ankle.

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

• Butler fans are certainly getting their money's worth this season. The Bulldogs have played 18 games in 2013-14, and six have gone to overtime. It's amazing to have one out of every three games go extra time. Butler played its sixth overtime game Saturday, beating Marquette.

• It was strange to see Pittsburgh and Syracuse playing in an ACC showdown. The Orange won the physical, defensive contest. I loved it when they were both in the Big East.

• Kansas center Joel Embiid's stock is rising. I feel he would be the first player chosen in the NBA draft if it were held today.

• Tubby Smith got a statement win when his Texas Tech Red Raiders upset Baylor for their first Big 12 victory of the season. That was a super win for a team that came into the game at .500.

• Michigan State has been able to get to the winner's circle lately without a key performer. Spartans big man Adreian Payne has missed the past three games with a foot injury, and Michigan State has won them all. He is doubtful for Tuesday's game against Indiana.

• Missouri State suffered a major blow in its near-upset of Wichita State when its leading scorer, guard Marcus Marshall, suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee. Marshall was averaging 14.3 points per game for coach Paul Lusk's team.

• Saturday, Feb. 1 is Autism Awareness Day in college hoops. Towson coach Pat Skerry has a young son with autism, and he has worked hard to make it happen. It is an important day for the sport to recognize how autism affects so many families.