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 (11:04 AM)
Great to be with you once again for the weekly chat. I am looking forward to a great week with Duke-Virginia Tech, Alabama-Florida, North Carolina-Florida State and then ESPN-The Weekend. Just got done with Dick Vitale day, what a thrill to be with all of these young kids at All-Children;s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. I had a great time reading to these youngsters.
Which conference tournament will be the most entertaining this year? I'm going with Big 12. It looks like any of the top 7 teams could beat each other on any given night. Your thoughts?
Dick Vitale (11:05 AM)
The Big East is going to be so competitive. The road to win that may be tougher than the road to win the NCAA tournament. For entertainment, I think the tourneys where you only get one bid because the play is so vital and there is so much at stake.
After losing the heartbreaker to Wisconsin last night, if Michigan can win both of the games remaining, at Minnesota and vs Michigan State, are they in or out of the NCAA tournament?
Dick Vitale (11:06 AM)
Michigan is still alive. They have played well and last night was a heartbreaker on a three-pointer but if they win those two games they do havea chance.
Thoughts on Cincinnati? does their win last night give them a spot in the tourney this year?
Dick Vitale (11:08 AM)
Yes, the toughness of the Bug East and last night helps elevate them big time. The Big East has 11 deserving teams and if you look at the 37 at-larges, the Big East deserves it. Cincinnati also has wins over Louisville, St. John's and Xavier so I say Bearcats in, baby!
Mark (UNC fan)
Is Harrison Barnes one of the top diaper dandies now?
Dick Vitale (11:08 AM)
He has really elevated his game and he is without a doubt one of the premier diaper dandies. I always said he would be special and he has developed his game now.
Jeff (Louisville KY)
Hi Dicky V. How awesome has Brandon Knight been for the Cats? He has become one of the top PG's in the nation in my opinion.
Dick Vitale (11:10 AM)
That is pretty valid. He is a great student-athlete and I wish he had a few more experienced players around him. It has been heartbreak hotel on the road in the SEC and Kentucky is a few wins away from a truly phenomenal year.
Is it a bad year or is the trend that the "good" mid majors are just as good as some if not 3/4 of the BCS programs...?
Dick Vitale (11:10 AM)
A lot of mid-majors are good because of stability, staying together and guys not leavign early is a big plus for them.
Nicholas Roetting (Cincinnati)
Do you think Tu Holloway got overlooked in the Cousy award?
Dick Vitale (11:11 AM)
Holloway has had a great year at Xavier and that is a dangerous team come tourney time.
Mr. Vitale: If I may deviate from the normal topic for a second, what is your favorite part about "ESPN: The Weekend?" I'd love to make the trip some time for it. I've been to Disney World several times and to be there for this coming weekend would be fantastic.
Dick Vitale (11:12 AM)
I love it. You get to meet other people from other asports, other fans and people who love sports. It is at a great place and I have a lot of fun.
Do you think virginia tech can upset duke this weekend? and your thoughts on making another commercial?
Dick Vitale (11:13 AM)
On the road, Duke lost to Florida State, so why not. Jeff Allen and Malcolm Delaney are outstanding players and Tech has been left out of the big dance in the past a few times. Blacksburg can be dangerous for opponents as Cassel Coliseum is a tough place to play.
Who are your top 5 Coach of the Year candidates?
Dick Vitale (11:14 AM)
Oh wow...Thad Matta, Steve Fisher, Steve Lavin, Mike Brey, I don't want to leave someone out...Anthony Grant at Alabama
For Maryland, do they need to win out to get in and, if they do, are they in?
Dick Vitale (11:15 AM)
Good win over Florida State last night and now they have two games left. The North Carolina game is a big one. It will come down to what they do early in the ACC tourney and that game vs. the Tar Heels is big.
Julio (Tucson, AZ)
How about Sean Miller for coach of the year!!
Dick Vitale (11:16 AM)
Jayson Hall (Pittsburgh,PA)
Do you still see the Pitt Panthers making it to the 2011 Final Four because everytime they make the tourney they always run into a team that gives them a scare..how far do you see them going?
Dick Vitale (11:17 AM)
I like Pittsburgh a lot. Experience on the perimeter, plays defense, can shoot the ball, hard-working. This is a team I believe would go to Final Four.
I personally believe Duke would be a .500 team or lower in the Big East this year and that as many as 10 teams in the Big East would be leading the ACC this year. I realize you believe nothing is better than Duke... and the rest of the college basketball world is there to priase Duke... but I am here to say, once again they are overrated. Do you think the Committee will provide a cakewalk for Duke again this year, like last year? They will automatically get two home games... but do you feel that the Committee will put all of the weakest seeds on their side again.... so they get to the Final Four without having to play one quality team?
Dick Vitale (11:19 AM)
Don't bet on that. Duke has a einner's mentality and guys like Singler and Nolan Smith have great experience at winning time. The Blue Devils will make a run in the tourney. Last year they lost to Georgetown badly and the gold trophy is in Durham, North Carolina. This year theylost to St. John's...we will see what happens.
Rich (New Jersey)
Enjoying the run for # 1 with Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, Texas, etc. Who'll be # 1 when March Madness begins in a couple of weeks?
Dick Vitale (11:19 AM)
It all depends on the conference tourneys. Right now, if I had to guess Ohio State would be #1.
Chris (New York, NY)
What's the greatest piece of advice you've ever gotten about coaching in the college game?
Dick Vitale (11:20 AM)
As a young coach, I was always taught to never hold a grudge and to treat each day as a new day. That really applies to life as well.
If Georgia loses at Florida tonight, do they have to win out to get in to the tourney?
Dick Vitale (11:21 AM)
They have some good things on the resume and a win at Florida would help the resume. Mark Fox has rejuvenated the program but Bulldog fans are sweating right now.
Chris (Springfield, Va)
How bad did VT's 2 losses to UVA hurt their tournament chances? Am I right in thinking they need at least two ACC tournament wins to get off the bubble and in to the dance?
Dick Vitale (11:22 AM)
It did not help but they get a big opportunity Saturday and Gameday will be there. A win over Duke would negate those two losses.
is the acc a 2 bid league? the rest off the teams elow duke and unc aren't really appealing
Dick Vitale (11:25 AM)
I don't think so. I think you will see at least four. Boston College did not help its cause with the loss last night to Miami. I think Florida State will get in...Virginia Tech may get in. Clemson is on the bubble too. When it is all said and done I will say four, maybe five.
Aaron Watkins (West Virginia)
Does Bill Self deserve a shot at COY, Dick?
Dick Vitale (11:26 AM)
Self is another coach in the hunt given the loss of Henry, Collins and Aldrich. The Coach of the Year race is interesting and it could go down to the wire.
Michigan State in or out? what are there significant wins, because they have some bad losses too?
Dick Vitale (11:26 AM)
The Spartans have played better lately and the win at Minnesota was a big one. Right now, I would say Tom Izzo's team will make it.
As a Texas fan, since the Southwest Regional is in San Antonio, should I be more excited if my Horns are a 2 seed in the Southwest Regional, close to home, or in another regional, say, the West, as a 1 seed? Home court vs. easier matchups?
Dick Vitale (11:28 AM)
That is a really intriguing point. I think Texas will be dangerous wherever they are and Rick Barnes has done a solid job. That said, it would be nice for the Longhorn fans if they go to San Antonio and then Houston.
It's too bad Bo Ryan will never be coach of the year. He'll always be the guy who gets the most out of 2 and 3 star players that can play the Swing offense.
Dick Vitale (11:29 AM)
I have sung the praises of Bo Ryan for years. I was in Madison when the Badgers rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat the Buckeyes and Ryan gets the most out of his personnel. I have always said he is one of the best coaches in America.
I have a really hard time figuring out Uconn this year. They've already exceeded my expectations, but I think if they're off their game a bit then they could lose to anyone. How far do you see them going in the tourney?
Dick Vitale (11:30 AM)
Jim Calhoun probably feels the same way. Remember this is a team that was picked 10th in the Big East in the preseason. If the Huskies play like they did in Maui, they will be tough. Problem is consistency. Jamaal Coombs-McDaniel has stepped up his game. Kemba Walker has to be on fire for this team to make some more noise in the tourney.
Josh (At Work)
Your thoughts on the BYU SDSU game on Saturday? Who wins?
Dick Vitale (11:32 AM)
I saw the first game and Jimmer Fredette put up 43 big points and hit shots from all over the court. BYU may have problems on the road and last night's win over Colorado State was a challenge too. Kawhi Leonard had a big game the first time around too, 22 points and 15 boards I think if my VBDI is right...A couple of other Aztec players have to step up and I believe they will but this should be a good game. I am sure the Mountain West is thrilled to be getting national exposure.
you,ll be in blacksburg saturday with dan shulman am i right?because i,ll watch the game saturday night at 8pm, central 9 pm you time baby.
Dick Vitale (11:33 AM)
I am glad you will be watching.
Steve (New York)
Big East Player of the Year? Still Kemba?
Dick Vitale (11:33 AM)
Wow, there are a lot of legit candidates, but I will stay with Kemba Walker for now.
Chris (Birmingham, AL)
What do you think about Alabama getting invited to the Big Dance? In or out? Thanks
Dick Vitale (11:35 AM)
Anthony Grant has done a great job and I think the Tide will be in. Amazing to consider this team lost to St. Peter's, Iowa and another foe in an early-season tourney and people were wondering about the Tide. JaMychal Green can flat out play and guys like Mitchell and Releford have stepped up too. I will see the Tide at Florida next week. Last night's comeback vs. Auburn was another positive.
Jon (Team Epic) (Boston)
Do you ever miss coaching or is what you do too much fun to have ever thought about going back to coaching once you left?
Dick Vitale (11:36 AM)
I am undefeated in 32 years on the sidelines at ESPN. I have the best seat in the house and I coach Duke one night, Kentucky another, etc. I don't know if I would have lived past 50 if I stayed in coaching, baby!
What about Jamie Dixon for COY? What he has done in his time at Pitt is nothing short of impressive. Not to mention all the BE MIP awards his players have won. Oh and those games this year without Gibbs??
Dick Vitale (11:37 AM)
Jamie has done a great job but I feel a lot of times the Coach of the Year award doesn't go to someone whose team was expected to do well. I believe the Panthers were in the top five in the national preseason poll.
Does the Horizon League have any at-large candidate for the tournament?
Dick Vitale (11:39 AM)
If Cleveland State does not win the tourney, it should still get in the big dance and Gary Waters has done a super job. Butler could make it according to our bractologist, Joe Lunardi. He is a fellow paisan so I love reading his picks.
Todd (Des Moines)
Do you think Kansas State is on the up swing, or just playing well behind the play of Jacob Pullen as of late?
Dick Vitale (11:40 AM)
Kansas State played well at Kansasd because Pullen played like the All-Solid Gold performer we expected at the start of the season. Frank Martin's team got another big win at Nebraska last night and I would not want to play them come tourney time.
Jon (Norfolk Va)
Coach Vitale, I'm an old school ODU fan going back to the days of Mark West and Kenny Gattison. In all honesty, this is the best rebound team I can remember in ODU history. We are leading the nation in rebounding margin and are 3rd in the country in defense.What are your thoughts on ODU getting an at large should they need it and do you think the CAA as a conference deserves 3 bids? GMU ODU and either Drexel or VCU could make some noise in the Dance.Am I crazy?
Dick Vitale (11:42 AM)
I think you can make a case for several teams in the Colonial and that is going to be a fun tournament to keep track of. George Mason has been as hot as anyone lately. VCU, Old Dominion, there are quality teams in that league and they could be dangerous in the NCAA tourney too. It is a balanced year so these teams can compete.
Dick Vitale (11:44 AM)
I am lucky to be partnered with Dan Shulman this weekend in Blacksburg and seeing the Gameday gang. Today was a special day in my life as I was bringing smiles to youngsters who have a lot bigger challenges than any athlete will ever face. That's why I am so passionate in the fight against pediatric cancer. That is why I need your help and support. Please go to dickvitaleonline.com and see how you can help me with my gala. This is a great time of year with March Madness coming up and spring training under way. See you next week.