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)
Good morning and I am so excited for the Sweet 16 games the next two days. We are marching on to Final Four next week in Houston. It should be excitement galore, baby! We should have some great games tonight and tomorrow. It has been an exciting tournament so far with a number of close games and upsets. Come on, how many of you had Richmond, VCU and Florida State in that bracket?
Jason Mosley (Erie, PA)
Is VCU for real Dick? I mean the way they are playing it seems like they cannot be stopped. The beating they put on Purdue. Is this the most dangerous team right now?
Dick Vitale (11:11 AM)
VCU has been very impressive so far beating USC, Georgetown and Purdue. Shaka Smart is a rising star in the coaching profession and the Rams have gotten help from different people during the tournament. I don't know if I would use the term they cannot be stopped because Florida State leads the nation in field goal defense and the Seminoles beat a pair of ranked teams, Texas A&M and Notre Dame. It is a very interesting matchup tomorrow night in San Antonio.
Jeremy (Chicago, IL)
Going into the sweet 16 matchups, what is one upset that you might see coming?
Dick Vitale (11:13 AM)
That is hard to say but I know John Calipari loves being in the role of underdog in this situation. Kentucky has been playing super defense and this will not be easy for Ohio State, though the Buckeyes have shot the lights out so far in the tournament. I have a question. If you try to stop Sullinger, then you have a problem with Lighty and Buford on the wings, or Diebler shooting the trifecta. My friends, Thad Matta's team has so many offensive threats that they will be tough to stop. Don't count the 'Cats out yet. It is hard to pick upsets at this point because every team has earned the right to be here.
Frank (Los Angeles)
Is the Big East as a Conference and then the individual Teams within that conference over confindent or does the media just extoll them and they are unable to perform when it counts?If the Conference is as good as you say they are, then why do they for the most part "Tank" when it counts?In your opinion what is wrong with the Big East as a Conference?
Dick Vitale (11:15 AM)
I don't think it is fair to say the conference tanked. I know I have been getting so many tweets about the Big East, but give some credit to Butler for beating Pittsburgh, for example. I am still stunned that Morehead State beat Louisville. Do you really believe that 11 Big East teams didn't belong? Come on, are you serious. I don't know if I buy that teams beat each other up, though Villanova and Georgetown were not the same teams as earlier in the season. Connecticut and Marquette are still around.
So much for the ACC being in a "down year". Whats more impressive for a conference- 11 teams in the field or 3 teams in the elite 8?
Dick Vitale (11:16 AM)
I know people have been talking about the ACC but this was not a vintage ACC regular season. Give credit to Duke, North Carolina and Florida State and this is the time of year to make noise.
What are the keys of the game for Florida?
Dick Vitale (11:18 AM)
Slwoing down Fredette, who scored 37 against the Gators in the tourney last year. I think Billy Donovan has to gett he ball inside to Vernon Macklin more in the first half as long as he stays ot of foul trouble. The three-pointer will be a big key too. Erving Walker has been playing very well.
YOU are the man! Why do the Badgers get zero respect from the press in general. To dull for the highlight shows? Thank you.
Dick Vitale (11:20 AM)
Bo Ryan gets the most out of his players. Jordan Taylor had a struggle city game and the Badgers still got past Kansas State. Jon Leuer has had a good tournament so far. I think people look at what happened against Penn State in the Big Ten tournament and the low scoring. I think Wisconsin deserves a lot of respect. This is a team that beat Ohio State and I was there in Madison and it was a special environment and a great comeback from a 15-point deficit. I think the game against Butler will be a defensive battle, sure. We will do the highlights, I can guarantee that!
Lubbock Texas [via mobile]
We introduced Billy Clyde yesterday as our newest coach here at Texas Tech. Can talk about what we are getting in terms of a recruiter and how many connections he still has in the basketball world?
Dick Vitale (11:22 AM)
I think Gillispie is a much better fit in Texas and he will have the ear of the high school coaches down there. I did not think Kentucky turned out to be a good fit. The Big 12 is going to be tough but he will be able to recruit down there.
Jack (Marysville, Ohio)
Do you have the Dukies beating Arizona?
Dick Vitale (11:24 AM)
The return of Kyrie Irving makes Mike Krzyzewski's team that much better. The inside play of the Plumlees, plus ACC Player of the Year Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and company, yes, I have Duke advancing. Sean Miller has done a very good job and Arizona has won a couple of close games. Derrick Williams has to have a big game. I am not sure that Jordin Mayes can match what he did against Texas. Look for number 901 for Coach K.
Brett, louisville [via mobile]
Hey Dick, Who are legit possible candidates for the UT job thus far?
Dick Vitale (11:25 AM)
I heard Andy Katz say Shaka Smart would be the first name on the wish list. It will be interesting because the next coach may have to deal with the potential NCAA sanctions.
I know the NIT is not a big deal but what do you think of Anthony Grant and my Tide?
Dick Vitale (11:26 AM)
Grant's team has taken advantage of this oppportunity and will get a chance for the younger players to gain more experience plus a trip to the Big Apple. I like the job Grant has done. Hey Anthony, I hope you are coming to my event for the V Foundation in Florida on May 20th!
Richard (New Jersey) [via mobile]
Will a north carolina duke final four be the biggest game in recent history?
Dick Vitale (11:28 AM)
There are a few games before that happens, but if ti does, wow! I called the ACC Championship and there was intensity and emotion that afternoon in Greensboro. The state of North Carolina may shut down that day as the fans watch that one. It would be a great game between two Hall of Fame coaches in Roy Williams and Coach K. In Vitalese, it would be awesome, baby with a capital A!
Clark (Clare, MI)
Which team has surprised you the most this March? and why?
Dick Vitale (11:30 AM)
It is a toss-up between VCU and Richmond. No disrespect to those teams but they were lower seeds. VCU beat quality teams in Georgetown and Purdue, as well as USC. Surprises always happen in the big dance, and that is what makes it so special as people love the Cinderella stories.
Mr. Vitale: Do you think the rise of the mid-major conferences in this tournament is a product of their kids staying around for four years as compared to the 'one and done' philosophy taken and many of the major powers?
Dick Vitale (11:32 AM)
Yes, I think that when players stay in school and there is continuity, it helps a lot. When you have a lot of one-and-done players you cannot build that same teamwork and understanding of each teams strengths and weaknesses to get your team better. The mid-majors have that advantage. I agree with your point.
anyone stopping the buckeye express? destination houston
Dick Vitale (11:34 AM)
I picked Ohio State to win it all before the tournament and I do not have a reason why to go away from that. Thad Matta is going to be the King in Columbus ... move over, Jim Tressel.
Do you think Mr. Barnes and Mr. Henson will return to Chapel Hill next year?
Dick Vitale (11:35 AM)
We will have to wait and see but I can tell you that both of them, as well as Mr. Zeller, will be playing at the next level in the future. There is no doubt that Carolina has a pro frontline.
Who are your favorite diaper dandies this year? And any chances any of them stay another year?
Dick Vitale (11:37 AM)
Jared Sullinger was my diaper dandy of the year. Tobias Harris was among my favorites and he already said he will test the waters in the NBA draft. Brandon Knight is also high on my list. I am not a fan of the one-and done. I am happy to hear that Tristan Thompson of Texas, another of my All-Diaper Dandy team, will be returning back to school.
How about some love for Buzz Williams?
Dick Vitale (11:38 AM)
Certainly Marquette has been solid in the tournament. I think you will see his name mentioned in the coaching carousel and he is such a hard worker and motivator. I hope he can save his voice a little bit...maybe he needs to see my throat doctor, Dr. Zeitels in Boston as he is the best.
Dukie fan (NC)
You have said Kyrie Irving is a difference maker...will he be better in this tournament?
Dick Vitale (11:39 AM)
I think with more time, Irving will get better and better. Will he be is as good as he was at the start of the season? Hard to say but he is an asset for Duke.
No Patric Young on the Diaper Dandy team? Yes his stats are somewhat weak, but his game is beastly.
Dick Vitale (11:40 AM)
I think Young will be more of a PTP'er next season with more playing time as the Gators lose some talent up front.
Do you believe Butler cn win it all?
Dick Vitale (11:42 AM)
Brad Stevens has done a great job and his team has won 11 straight games. The batrtle vs. Wisconsin will be a tough one. I am staying with Ohio State as my pick to cut down the nets down in Houston. Does that mean Butler cannot win it all? No. It is not impossible.
Dickie (the man himself)....What does Marquette have that could slow down the pro frontline of the heels?
Dick Vitale (11:43 AM)
I am not sure if Marquette can score enough. If Buzz Williams can make North Carolina shoot a lot of threes and contain the play on the baseline this will be quite a battle. You know Marquette will play physical basketball. Again, the Tar Heels have a pro frontline.
Dick Vitale (11:45 AM)
I am flying up to Bristol to be on SportsCenter and the Gameday Scoreboard show. What a great time for hoop junkies and we have a lot of Goliath matchups. I just hope the games are as good as Stevie Nicks and Rod Stewart were in Florida last night. I had a blast attending that concert, baby! Also, I need your help raising $1 million for cancer research. Go to dickvitaleonline.com for more information on my gala on May 20th. Enjoy the games, baby!