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 (11:02 AM)
The greatest weekend of them all, no question, in sports, is Final Four weekend. I'm so excited to be joining Brad Nessler to do the games for ESPN International. My first time courtside for the Final Four.
will Syracuse zone effect Michigan's offense
Dick Vitale (11:03 AM)
The zone will effect any offense. No question. They are very active. They rotate well in the zone. However, if there's a team that has all of the parts to attack the zone, it's Michigan. You need to have three parts. The perimeter, the wings and the 3-second area. And Michigan can impact all three parts.
Is Wichita State the biggest underdog you've ever seen?
Dick Vitale (11:04 AM)
We've had underdogs in the past. VCU. Butler. George Mason. But Wichita State is not a shock to me. They are great inside-outside. They have Armstead as tough as anybody. Greg Marshall has his team believing. It's a solid team.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Since the Final Four is all set who do you think will be the 2012-2013 NCAA Men's College Basketball National Champions?
Dick Vitale (11:06 AM)
My feeling is back to November when I picked Louisville. Nothing has changed my mind. They're the team to beat here. Very explosive backcourt. Blocking shots on the inside. Defend well. They have good bench help. They're hurt by losing Kevin Ware, obviously. But I still think they have enough to win it all.
Thoughts on this Rutgers mess?
Dick Vitale (11:07 AM)
It's a disgrace. It's an embarrassment. To the university. To the coaching profession. Coaches are aggressive. That's their nature. But that went way beyond. Putting a hand on a player is a no-no. Using that language, the homophobic slurs, was totally a disgrace. They had no choice to fire him. The president and AD should be accountable too. If they saw the video and just suspended him, they should be fired. Mike Rice needs to get some counseling. His behavior was beyond the norm. He wouldn't want his own kids treated that way.
Dick, regarding Zeller, I've not been on board with his greatness as others have. As a coach and talent analyst, what's the 1-10 rating you give him in terms of a long term NBA career? Thanks!
Dick Vitale (11:08 AM)
Zeller is a very skilled big player. He has great touch. He has great passing ability. He runs well. He needs strength and needs to become more aggressive. I don't know his situation, but another year of college, playing 35 minutes per night would help.
thoughts on NU hiring Chris Collins?
Dick Vitale (11:10 AM)
I thought it was a terrific hiring. Young, energetic. Just like with Minnesota. The Big Ten is going with youth at coach. Chris has been around the game since he was a toddler with his father Doug. Same with Richard Pitino and his father. These guys have worked really really hard. I love what they're doing.
Cuse or Louisville game? More interested?
Dick Vitale (11:12 AM)
They will both be interesting storylines. Wichita State, not everyone will know about them. But they're playing the team that people think is the best, so that's intriguing. In the other game, that Syracuse zone has been suffocating against a team that's shooting the ball well. Teams have shot 29% against that zone on 3's. But Michigan has the weapons to attack them. They have all of the parts. It will be interesting to see how they attack that 2-3.
anything to Coach Beilen being 0-9 against Coach Boeheim?
Dick Vitale (11:13 AM)
No, because the personnel is so different than where he's been earlier in his career. The talent level is so unique. That's all history. The scoreboard is 0-0. Play ball! Game on!
would you have thought Michigan could be there at tehe nd of the season?
Dick Vitale (11:14 AM)
I liked Michigan from Day 1. We had Michigan preseason in the top 10 in America. Very talented. Very well coached. I'm not shocked at all. I picked them to go to the Final Four.
How's Atlanta as a host city?
Dick Vitale (11:15 AM)
Atlanta is a great place for a tournament. I've always loved Indy and New Orleans. But people in Atlanta rally to the cause. It always is. It's the best weekend in all of sports. It's not the NBA, best 4 of 7. One bad night and the party is over. That's the beauty.
What is the key to a WSU upset?
Dick Vitale (11:16 AM)
I don't like to call it an upset now. Anyone that gets to this level has proven that they can beat anybody. You tell the kids that they're not thinking about an upset. They're talking about winning.
can Cuse score enough to beat Michigan?
Dick Vitale (11:18 AM)
Great point. Fantastic point. They haven't scored a lot, but their defense has made it so that they don't have to score a ton. Michigan will be able to score, but how can Syracuse stop them. I do believe that they'll have to have better offensive efficiency than they've had the last few games.
Who is playing the best right now in the tournament?
Dick Vitale (11:24 AM)
Mitch McGary. He's been a dominant inside force. Michigan is really great on the perimeter. Burke and Hardaway have to rank as one of the best backcourts in the country. You have to be strong on the perimeter and all four of these teams are represented well on the perimeter. The bottom line is these teams are strong on the perimeter.
Dick Vitale (11:24 AM)
My VBDI at the beginning of the season said the best team would be the Louisville Cardinals. It will be a great weekend for Rick Pitino. And I think it will be extra special when I believe he will be elected into the basketball hall of fame. As for Rutgers, I think they can go one of two ways: a veteran like a Ben Howland or go young with someone from the New Jersey area and knows the state and his way around. And that guy would be Danny Hurley. I know he just took the Rhode Island job, so I don't know his contractual status, but I think that would be a good fit. Now, when it's all said and done this weekend, Mr. Pitino will cut down the nets. For all you fans out there, go to Canada, go to Mexico, Italy, UK, France, Brazil, anywhere to see ESPN International. Watch Brad Nessler and I call the game! Should be fun!