Chat with Dick Vitale
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Dick Vitale stops by to chat some college basketball.
Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style.
Send your questions now and join Vitale Thursday at 11 a.m. ET!
Dick Vitale (11:05 AM)
Great to be here with you again. Two things really import to me right now...help me raise money for pediatric cancer by going to my website at dickvitaleonline.com and get m new children's book where all of my proceeds go to my goal of raising one million dollars for cancer research. For all of you, create the phrase that pays as you can enter by going to espn.com/dickvitale and enter the Sunkist contest. There will be eight winners and there is cash baby, cash...each week Sunkist will pay $10K to a winner...enter now. Let's talk some hoops, baby!
How good do you think Notre Dame can finish in the Big East? Do you think they can win the conference? Also, do you think they are a legit top 10 team?
Dick Vitale (11:06 AM)
I think Notre Dame is legit. Their defense, ability to shoot the ball and the way Ben Hansbrough has developed makes them a legit team to watch.
Allie (Kentucky fan)
Can my 'Cats make a serious run? Seems like they are too young and too inconsistent on the road...
Dick Vitale (11:07 AM)
I think Kentucky needs its veterans to contribute. They need to help the young kiddie corps out. Liggins, Miller and Harrallson have to contribute. Kentucky is a tough out if they all play well. One day Liggins has a big game, the next he has four points. This team is up and down.
I know you love Rick Pitino, so do you give the Cards a chance to make a push in the tourn? Kind of like Rick did with Providence?
Dick Vitale (11:09 AM)
The latest news is Preston Knowles is hurt and that could be a big blow. I look at Louisville as a potential Sweet 16 team. This is still a dangerous team and you never underestimate Pitino at tournament time. Knowles gives them scoring and if he is going to be out that is a problem. This Cardinals team lacks a true superstar.
Adam R (Albany)
Dickie V! Was Stackhouse's jam in the '95 Duke game still the most amazing college dunk you've ever seen live?
Dick Vitale (11:11 AM)
That ranks right up there. There have been so mabny over the years. That was special because of the environment and the timing when it happened. That reverse jam was as good as it gets. I can't wait as I have Carolina-Duke next week and the Tar Heels are getting hot at the right time.
Can Michigan State still make it to the tourney after the loss at Iowa?
Dick Vitale (11:13 AM)
Right now they have to think about regrouping and responding. The margin was stunning and the future Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo has to be shaking his head. This has to be the lowest his program has been in years, especially when you consider the expectations at the start of the season. There is still time left to get things together, but they have to get it together and play to their potential.
Who is your vote for player of the year?
Dick Vitale (11:14 AM)
Right now I would go with Jimmer Fredette of BYU over Kemba Walker and Jared Sullinger.
"Will the real Syracuse please stand up?" Which version of this team do you expect to show up down the stretch and into the tournament?
Dick Vitale (11:16 AM)
They went through a tough stretch because the Big East is so rough. Seton Hall was a hard one to explain but Pittsburgh and Villanova...Last night's win over Connecticut gives them a good mindset. Teams go through stretches...look at Duke against St. John's for example. It happens, but you don't want to go through too long a streak. Syracuse will still be heard from as Jim Boeheim has a lot of talent.
Do u consider Illinois a sweet 16 team?
Dick Vitale (11:17 AM)
Bruce Weber's team is a legit threat when it plays at its best level. They have the talent and they go as Demetri McCamey goes. If he is distributing the ball the Illini can win. This team has to learn how to win away from Champaign.
Chad (Tufts U. in Boston (D-III Baby!!!))
Will the Big East just wear themselves out like last season?
Dick Vitale (11:19 AM)
People talk about that but I think that is overblown. Teams played well against them and they will get their best shot because of their reputation. It is great talk for fans and media people. Last year people said that ablout Duke and the Blue devils cut down the nets in Indy. The Big East is very competitive and they beat each other up, but they will be ready for the big dance.
KU may be the least talked about 2nd ranked team ever. Don't get me wrong - Kansas usually gets plenty of respect nationally, so I am not complaining. This year's version is a lot more dangerous than people think. What do you think?
Dick Vitale (11:21 AM)
Some people really feel that Kansas has not beaten many great teams. I agree with you and feel they play well together, have great shot selection, the Morris brothers know their strength. Selby will get better with more experience. Kansas is a team you have to keep an eye on at the NCAA tournament. They are very athletic and I saw in person how good they can be when they beat up Kansas State in Lawrence.
Why has Thad Matta not been more seriously talked about for COY? Sure he has a lot of talent but all the top coaches do. When was the last time a team grabbed the number 1 rank after losing POY?
Dick Vitale (11:22 AM)
I have talked about him; his team is perfect right now and he has gotten the most out of his people and blended in Sullinger, Thomas and Craft with the veterans. He has to be in the mix with a lot of other people. Ohio State is for real and he has done a super job.
Barnes and UNC seem to be putting it together a little bit. Do you seem them giving Duke a run for their money when they play each other?
Dick Vitale (11:24 AM)
I don't care what the records are, when thy put on the uniforms you never know. Barnes, Bullock, Zeller, these guys can play. Barnes is starting to show people that he is legit and I have said all along they will compete and they have come back after being blown out by Georgia Tech; they could have gone in the tank or regrouped and they have gone to another level. I think we will have a great game next week.
First, how is Coach Self not in the COY talk?! His team has only one loss which came after an emotional drain like no other, and right now they are killing B12 competition.Second, why am I not surprised that UK's freshman probably aren't going to get a trophy in their one and only year? Why do coaches still think that a team lead by 18 y.o. freshmen can beat experienced teams with 20 and 21 y.o. upperclassmen?Rock Chalk Baby!!!!
Dick Vitale (11:25 AM)
I picked Bill Self as my midseason COY. To lose Aldrich, Collins and Henry and be right there is impressive. He laughed when I told him that in Lawrence.
I know this is a college basketball chat, but have you caught any of Austin Rivers games on TV. As a UNC fan, I'm hoping Kyrie Irving leaves after the year, because I do not want to see those two playing on the same team.
Dick Vitale (11:26 AM)
I saw Austin Rivers in person and he is the real deal, a scoring machine. He will be a star right away at Duke. They played together on the USA 18 and undwer team and led them to a gold medal. They would be an unbelievable combination.
Can you speak to the job Anthony Grant is doing at Alabama? That program has been in shambles for years, and they now sit atop the SEC West.
Dick Vitale (11:28 AM)
Saw some of their game last night. I have been very impressive with their defense. If they can get some more offense. They have Green and Releford and looked good, and at 6-1 in the SEC West and a win over Kentucky, that is impressive. I have had him on my list of rising stars in the coaching profession. I am not totaly surprised that he is doing a super job.
Anthony (University of Pittsburgh)
Dicky V, i got to meet you @ the Pitt v. Cuse game this year....AWESOME! Would you say that was the craziest game/environment of the year and if not, what was?
Dick Vitale (11:30 AM)
It was crazy because of the trends in the game, 19-0 for Pittsburgh and then 17-0 for Syracuse, The Oakland Zoo is always electric and they always have good teams to follow. I think Pittsburgh has the potential to make it to the Final Four this year in Houston. I love the backcourt of Gibbs and Wanamaker.
Dick, do you think that the Johnnies have a chance to make the dance with there huge win over Duke?
Dick Vitale (11:32 AM)
Yes, beating Duke, Notre Dame, winning at West Virginia, those games help their resume. Steve Lavin has done a great job building enthusiasm and if they finish well, they can make the big dance for the first time in a long time. They have a veteran team and last night was a big win hanging on after the Duke game...
Dick, what do you think of the CAA this year? Also, i hear that you might be doing the UNI/GMU bracketbuster game... any truth do that?
Dick Vitale (11:34 AM)
I don't know my schedule yet for Bracket Busters. There have been great players and coaches in that league over the years and it has been underrated. They have scored some good wins. When you look at VCU, Old Dominion and company and these guys can play.
Indiana has beaten 2 ranked teams in a row at home. Do you see it happening again when purdue rolls in there?
Dick Vitale (11:35 AM)
Let em tell you, with the injuries they suffered, it is impressive to get those wins. Things are moving in a positive direction, Is this a sign they will be a first division team in the Big Ten next year when an impressive class comes in too? Tom Crean has to be smiling.
Just want to give a shout out to Dicky-V, thanks for all you do!
Dick Vitale (11:37 AM)
I appreciate that...It is a great time of season.
Is Oakland the team that every major school wants to avoid in the 1st round?
Dick Vitale (11:38 AM)
Potentially but it probably has to win the conference. I look at the win over Tennessee and see the way this team gets after it and I wouldn't want to draw an Oakland or a Belmont in the opening round.
Mike (Wilson, NC)
I see alot of "@" in front of the Texas top 50 RPI wins.(all by double digits) Do you think this crew has what it takes to make a charge at a NC?
Dick Vitale (11:41 AM)
The Longhorns have been solid all season long. They have played like a team this season and that is a big difference from a year ago. Wow, the way the Longhorns blew out Teaxs A&M was so impressive as it is not easy to win at College Station, baby! I said at the beginning of the season that Jordam Hamilton would have a big season. Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph have been super diaper dandies and I feel J'Covan Brown has been a positive factor off of the bench. This is a team thqt could get to Houston and have a big advantage with the fans down thre.
Dicky V! How many teams from the SEC will make the dance?
Dick Vitale (11:42 AM)
It has been a wacky year in the SEC. The teams int he East have been up and down a bit. As I said earlier, Alabama has been super in the West. When it is all said and done, I feel the SEC will have five teams in the tourney. That could change depending on how some teams play down the stretch.
Quick!!! Name your Conference USA regular season champ.
Dick Vitale (11:44 AM)
That league has been wide open with Memphis and UAB both losing at home last night. I would not be shocked if a Tulsa or a Southern Miss won the tourney. I would still go with Memphis right now but it is certainly up for grabs.
Randy (Los Angeles)
What are your thoughts on UCLA? It seems like an up and down season?
Dick Vitale (11:45 AM)
That was a big win over USC last night. The Bruins are still in the upper echelon in the Pac-10 and Ben Howland has to be concerned about the injury to Jones last night..we will have to see how he is. Reeves Nelson has been super and I don't think he gets enough ink nationally. That UCLA-St. John's game will be interesting this week.
Don (New York)
Give me a sleeper to watch out for to make a run to the NCAAs?
Dick Vitale (11:46 AM)
I still think Gonzaga can make some noise. Mark Few's team has a number of weapons and that early schedule could pay dividends. I don't think people are talking much about them.
Its just about certain that Lowe will not return next year for NC State, who out there would be interested in the job?
Dick Vitale (11:47 AM)
It has been a tough season for the Wolfpack and it may have been different if the team had Tracy Smith from the start.We will see what happens in the future.
Greg (St' Louis)
Odds that Missouri makes the tourney? I got it around 25%.
Dick Vitale (11:49 AM)
No way. I know the Tigers lost at Oklahoma State last night, but Mike Anderson's team will be a tough out. This team can still challenge a lot of people and I would not right them off. Are you serious?
You think Purdue can make a run in the tournament even without Hummel?
Dick Vitale (11:51 AM)
When you have two players like JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore, you can compete. They need a third scorer, like Lewis Jackson was in the game I did against Michigan State in West Lafayette. Matt Painter is a rising coach and this is another team capable of winning some games in the tourney. Obviously it would be a different story if Hummel was healthy as they would have been a top five team for sure if he was in the lineup. This team can still make the Sweet 16. There is a lot of parity this season.
Dick Vitale (11:56 AM)
College hoops have been wacky. Look at upset city last week and it is tough to win on the road. I can't wait to get to Gainesville next weekto be with the Rowdy Reptiles. Kentucky-Florida is a big game for both teams as the Wildcats don't want to fall to 4-4 in the SEC East. The Gators can put some separation in the division with a big W! I am looking forward to seeing the Gameday gang with Rece, Jay, Hubert and Digger, plus Erin Andrews has her homecoming in Gator Country. Then I have UNC-Duke next week and that is a special rivalry, the best in college sports. I know Alabama-Auburn and Ohio State-Michigan fans may disagreee. That is as good as it gets. Thanks for all of your questions as I love doing this each Thursday. I love interacting with the fans I hope you can help me out as I try to raise a million for cancer research. Go to dickvitaleonline.com for more details. See you next week.