|ESPN.com: Dick Vitale||[Print without images]|
Each week I'll talk about the sport I love, college basketball:
•Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon must feel snakebiten. Last year he saw Mike Cook and Levance Fields go down with injuries. Already his team has suffered more problems. Sophomore forward Gilbert Brown, who started 15 times and played in all 37 games last season, has a stress fracture in his left foot and will be probably miss the season opener on November 14th vs. FDU. That is the kind of injury that can linger all throughout the campaign. Meanwhile Fields is recovering from a fractured bone in his foot. Doctors reported recently that his injury is healing.
•At Tennessee, Bruce Pearl received some tough news. JP Prince is sidelined with a shoulder injury that will likely keep him out for the first month of the season. Prince was the SEC's Sixth Man of the Year last season and even more was expected as the Vols lost several veterans off of last season's squad.
•Billy Donovan had to be thrilled with the decision of 6-2 guard Kenny Boynton. The young man decided to stay in state, declaring his intention to play with the Gators. Most recruiting sources have Boynton in the upper echelon of next year's recruiting class. My friends, the rich get richer as Billy The Kid adds another big-name prospect to the Gainesville campus. Boynton's presence will help make up for the surprising announcement that guard Jai Lucas, the son of former NBA player and coach John Lucas, has decided to transfer. Lucas, a sophomore from Bellaire, Texas, averaged 8.5 ppg. last season while leading the Gators in three-point shooting at 43.5 percent. He started all 36 games during the 2007-08 campaign.
•Exhibition games give diaper dandies an opportunity to show their stuff. Duke's Elliot Williams had 15 points, while Miles Plumlee added 14 in a win over Virginia Union. This Blue Devil team has more depth than recent squads. Louisville's freshman tandem of Samardo Samuels and Jarod Swopshire combined for 36 points as the Cardinals escaped with a W over Georgetown & that's Georgetown College of Kentucky, my friends. DeMar DeRozan had 21 points in his USC debut in a win over Azusa Pacific. Scotty Hopson of Tennessee scored 14 points as the Vols beat Division II Indianapolis. Wesley Witherspoon of Memphis scored 14 points in a win over Christian Brothers. Connecticut's Kemba Walker had 10 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and no turnovers in 22 minuts in a victory over American International.
•Other players like to use exhibition games to campaign for more playing time when the regular season roles around. Tom Izzo may have noticed Durrell Summers' performance against Northern Michigan. The sophomore, who scored in double figures just six times last season, put up 30 points in just 16 minutes in the blowout of the Division II opponent. Summers put up 14 field goal attempts in the 16 minutes, hitting 11 of them. The Spartans forced 30 turnovers in the contest.
•The NCAA decided to put a stop to schools using a loophole to have basketball opening events prior to the Midnight Madness date. Emergency legislation was created to make sure this is not an issue in the future. This season, Kentucky and Illinois used the loophole, which allowed schools to have off-season skill instruction time.
•Ohio State's depth was hampered when forward Nikola Kecman was suspended for the first 12 games of the upcoming season. The NCAA rules Kecman may have received extra benefits playing for a pro team in his native Serbia. It is a blow to Thad Matta's young squad.
•After redshirting last season, guard Brady Morningstar may have a bigger role for the defending national champion Kansas Jayhawks this season. He started in the team's exhibition game against Washburn and put up impressive numbers: 15 points, three assists and two turnovers, hitting seven-of-11 from the field in 29 minutes in a Kansas victory.
•It seems like every season Gardner-Webb plays a murderous non-conference road schedule. The Runnin' Bulldogs have played at North Carolina, Kentucky (Wildcat fans remember what happened in that one!), Connecticut, NC State, Clemson, Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Georgia in recent years. This season, coach Rick Scruggs has another rugged schedule on road tests, starting with an opener at Virginia Tech. Gardner-Webb, now a member of the Big South Conference, also travels to Oklahoma, South Carolina, Kansas State and Wichita State this season, as well as an appearance in the Bracket Busters.