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)
For those who question the importance of the regular season in college basketball, go look at the Michigan State-Indiana, Kansas-Oklahoma State and Colorado State-UNLV games. Check out the passion and emotion of the players, and the dramatic endings, the last few minutes of those games. I am looking forward to calling the Missouri-Kentucky game this weekend, a big one for the Cats. I had a great time working with Magic Johnson and Mike Tirico at East Lansing and just got word it was the second-highest rated game this season on ESPN behind Michigan-Indiana.
Why is Miami so good this season?
Dick Vitale (11:05 AM)
Very experienced basketball team and solid ont he perimeter. Shane Larkin has become one of the premier point guards in the country and he has done a phenomenal job. Give Jim Larranaga a lot of credit. They have great balance, inside-outside.
Steve Day (greenville, mi)
after watching replay on Detroit news of zeller-nix groin incident, Dickie V. owes Derrick Nix an apology. the way nhe crucified Nix publicly. Zeller CLEARLY pulls Nix arm into him and then fakes the injury. Talk about "NO PLACE IN THE GAME FOR THAT KIND OF PLAY"
Dick Vitale (11:09 AM)
Basically the key is I talked to people at both schools. A flagrant foul was not called and I tipped my hat to the referees for not compunding the situation. If you see the new video out there, I admit I was very strong about Nix and I will say I am sorry, but they were more general than specific. Actions like that are uncalled for. If you are Michigan State fan you say it is Zeller's fault. If you are an Indiana fan, you blame Nix. It is time to move on. I will let others decide what they think.
Give me a couple of teams that could surprise and make a run in the tourney as a lower seed, let's say out of the top 4-5 seeds?
Dick Vitale (11:11 AM)
Illinois is one. Saint Louis has been hot. NC State has experience and could get it together like last year. UNLV has a lot of talent. I think this is a wide-open season and there are a number of teams that can make a run. How many can win six or seven games in a row to cut down the nets? There are probably 10-12 that can do that. It will be a special March Madness.
Mark W. (Indianapolis)
Is Victor Oladipo your Player of the Year right now?
Dick Vitale (11:12 AM)
Certainly right up there and his stock keeps rising. You ahve to let it play out. You look at Trey Burke, Doug McDermott and Mason Plumlee also. You have to let this play out.
How far do you have Gonzaga going? I know we can't see the matchups but.....they looked really good last night!
Dick Vitale (11:14 AM)
They are a threat to win it all. Actually there are probably about 15 teams that could win it all and Gonzaga is up there. They have great balance, an inside-outside game and a lot of size. Mark Few does a great job and last night was blowout city against a good Santa Clara team.
Rick (New York)
Jim Crews For coach of the year? Has had to deal with the death of Rick Majerus, The injury of Kwamain Mitchell in the first half of the season, and he still has the Billikens in first in the A10, and 20-5
Dick Vitale (11:15 AM)
He is doing a fantastic job and they cpuld surprise a lot of people come tournament time. Make sure they remove the interim tag from his name. Saint Louis was 3-3 early but the Billikens have been on fire.
Hallan (Boston )
Can Michigan win the title
Dick Vitale (11:16 AM)
Michigan is right there with everyone else. They have agreat backcourt and that plays a prominent role come tournament time. They have as good a backcourt as you will find out there. It is so balanced, so many quality teams capable of making a run, which is why this should be one of the most dramatic March Madness scenarios ever.
Are Zeller and Olynyk the most skilled Bigs in the country?
Dick Vitale (11:17 AM)
Plumlee too. When you talk about the skills you want, Zeller rates the edge because he can step outside and shoot the jumper, can pass, he just needs to be a little more aggressive at times.
Deven (New York, NY)
Hi Coach Vitale. What was it like doing the broadcast with the great Magic Johnson the other night in Michigan?
Dick Vitale (11:19 AM)
It was great, great chemistry and Mike Tirico was a great orchestra leader. We enjoyed sharing comments about the game, the players, the atmosphere. I would love to do it again next year because his passion and spirit for the game clearly comes out. I had a super time doing it.
Could you inlighten the nation on something for me please. I love the game but when I see that a team that has 6, 7, or 8 loses and they are on the top 25 list it confuses me. We are asking for one thing and that's to have our voice into the game also. How about giving our vote a point in the system. Other than that I believe that this game is more entertaining than any other network ever. #ESPNall4sports
Dick Vitale (11:20 AM)
There are so many people beating each other, that is a way of life in conference play. As for fans getting a vote, I am not sure how to do that. We have a system in place that creates interest, but the rankings do not mean as much as seeding in the tournament.
Brandon (syracuse) [via mobile]
If syracuse can keep the same intensity from last night's game can they make a serious run at the championship?
Dick Vitale (11:23 AM)
Syracuse was dominant last night against Providence team that has been playing well. Now comes a battle against Georgetown in front of 35,000. I love their backcourt of Carter-Williams and Triche. They can make a serious run too. It is sad that the Georgetown series will come to an end after the March 9th game.
Jayden Mozee (Earlham,Iowa)
What do you think of the Ohio State Buckeyes?? Championship contenders or not??
Dick Vitale (11:24 AM)
They had a great win over Minnesota. I was impressed with Minnesota earlier this year and now they are a disappointment. Life in the Big Ten is always a battle. Thad Matta's team has some experience too so they can make some noise as well.
Cam (Los Angeles)
What is going to happen with Ben Howland? How far can the Bruins go in the tourney?
Dick Vitale (11:26 AM)
Howland can flat out coach. He has young kids having a tough time to find their rhythm. It is like Kentucky. Losing players early, it takes time to rebuild. They have lost Love, Westbrook. Holliday in recent years. They can still do some things in the Pac-12 as that league is also wide open.
I know there are a lot of evenly-matched teams, but some of the bottom teams in Lunardi's bracketology are not that good. Do you agree?
Dick Vitale (11:27 AM)
It is going to happen with 68 teams. There are a lot of dangerous teams out there and almost anybody can beat anyone.
How far do u think Memphis can go ?
Dick Vitale (11:28 AM)
We have to see them playing and beating quality teams. They are talented, athletic and explosive but we have to see how they do against teams from the mega-conferences.
Do you think that the lack of high level competition in February will hurt Gonzaga in March?
Dick Vitale (11:30 AM)
No, I really don't. They are well drilledm, they understand how to play and they were tested early. They have size, great shooters on the perimeter, I had them when they lost to Butler but I still like them. I know if they lose in the tourney people will say that the WCC was not as competitive, but I do not buy that. They played such a tough non-league schedule.
Iowa State got it done vs Baylor last night and had 3 heartbreak losses on road prior in conference play. If they get in dance can they do damage?
Dick Vitale (11:32 AM)
Iowa State has several veterans too. It is wide open and Fred Hoiberg's squad can make some noise in the Big 12 tournament. I would not sell them short either.
David T. (Wisconsin )
Hello Dick. Love the work that you do when you call games on ESPN! Do you think let's say if Indiana or Michigan St. wins the regular season Big 10 title and the other one of those two teams wins the Big 10 tournament will give the Big ten two #1 seeds in Indiana and Michigan St. come NCAA Tournament time?
Dick Vitale (11:34 AM)
I think that will depend on what happens in other conference tournaments and the final weeks of the regular season. You can certainly make a case that both teams belong as #1 seeds. I would say that Indiana has the edge by sweeping Michigan State. Teams like Miami, Duke, Gonzaga will also be battling for #1 seeds. A few others could move up to challenge as well.
The SEC dominates in football, as everyone knows. Why do they struggles in basketball, only having one maybe two teams each year that can compete?
Dick Vitale (11:36 AM)
I think it is a down year in the SEC, but it really goes in cycles. Florida, Missouri, and perhaps Kentucky, Mississipi and Alabama are in the hunt for bids. I am not saying all five will get in, but there is still a lot of basketball to be played.
So there are some weak teams at the bottom of Lunardi's 68, but we should expand to 96. That's insane. I hate the NCAA, so corrupt.
Dick Vitale (11:37 AM)
No, we should not expand the tournament further. Period.
Brandon (Sarasota, FL)
How far do you think Cincy can go this year? Defense and strong guard play usually carry teams come tourney time and those are our two biggest strengths.
Dick Vitale (11:39 AM)
I think the Big East tournament will be very exciting too. When you have Syracuse, Louisville, Georgetown, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, St. John's....and on and on, it should be very competitive in the Big Apple. At times, Cincinnati has looked great, and at other times they have failed to score down the stretch of games. Mick Cronin's club has potential like so many others.
chances of Jim Boeheim retiring before heading south??????
Dick Vitale (11:39 AM)
I do not see that happening.
Dick Vitale (11:42 AM)
The Missouri-Kentucky game is so important for the 'Cats this weekend. Thefans in Big Blue Nation are so passionate rooting for their team, and Rupp Arena should be rockign and rolling. It will be a great environment. I am also excited about the Dickie V. gala coming up in May as we honor Bill Self, Jim Calhoun and Bobby Bowden. If you would like to join us, please go to dickiev.com for more info. It is going to be special as we raise money for the Jimmy V Foundation. See you next week.