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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dick Vitale - Comments on Memphis vs. USC and Scrimmage w/ St. Louis

Roundball Chatter
By Dick Vitale

Each Friday I will write about the sport I love, college basketball…

• I hope that the allegations against NBA referee Tim Donaghy do not affect the perception of other officials in the NBA and college. The accusations against Donaghy are scary and very sad, and while you are innocent until proven guilty, the charges seem to have validity. That does not mean that other officials are involved, and I am concerned that fans will make comments against other officials. My friends, there are so many great officials who blow the whistle the right way, doing a great job for years and years. Let's recognize the great job done by 99.9 percent of officials. Yes, the Donaghy saga is very disappointing, but let's realize the referees on a whole do a super, super job.

• I love it when two power programs meet in non-league play. It is a good way to get a true evaluation of your talent. That's why the fact that Michigan State and Texas have agreed to a four-year series is so impressive. How about a salute to Tom Izzo and Rick Barnes for getting together! This season, it is the Spartan Clash at the Palace on December 22nd. Last season Michigan State edged Texas at Madison Square Garden as part of a tournament, 63-61. Drew Neitzel is back and it will be fun to see him going against DJ Augustin and AJ Abrams.

• My best wishes to former Illinois and New Mexico State coach Lou Henson as he continues his fight against cancer. I understand he has started to take chemotherapy again as he battles the dreaded disease.

• I am really looking forward to the Jimmy V. Classic at Madison Square Garden on December 4th. Wow, OJ Mayo and USC, the diaper dandy visits the Big Apple. The opponent is Memphis and John Calipari's squad could be ranked number one at that time. It figures to be a very special game for a special cause in the fight against cancer.

• Speaking of Memphis, there was a recent report that Calipari was going to have a closed scrimmage against Saint Louis on October 22nd. I would love to be a fly on the wall when Calipari and Rick Majerus go at it! On the subject of Majerus, I am looking forward to the game between the Billikens and St. Joseph's in Philadelphia. That's right, what a match-up between Majerus and Phil Martelli! The press conferences before and after the game should be something!

• While the US under-19 team lost in the finals to Serbia, Arkansas fans had to be thrilled with the play of Patrick Beverley. The Razorback guard led the team in scoring over the nine games, averaging 13 ppg. He shot 54 percent from the floor, while totaling 31 steals. Beverley also had an impressive 29 assists and only 10 turnovers. New Razorbacks coach John Pelphrey has to be excited about Beverley's return to Fayetteville.

• Virginia Tech suffered a setback when point guard Nigel Munson, a potential starter this season, decided to transfer. Munson figured to jump in the slot vacated by Jamon Gordon. Munson requested his release from the school and coach Seth Greenberg obliged. The Hokies will be very young in the backcourt.

• It will be interesting to watch the new coaches in the Big Ten this season. Think about it: Minnesota adds Tubby Smith, Michigan with John Beilein and Iowa adds Todd Lickliter. I can't wait to see games against the likes of Izzo, Kelvin Sampson, Bruce Webber, Bo Ryan and Thad Matta should be fun to watch.

• DePaul could receive a boost up front. The school is trying to gain the eligibility of 7-2 center Kobe Obi from Nigeria. He played at South Kent School in Connecticut, which produced a number of standouts, including Dorrell Wright.

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