Monday, April 5, 2010
This and that
By Dick Vitale
Each week I talk about the world of sports:
• I love the city of Indianapolis as a Final Four host. The fans are so friendly, everything is centrally located and the atmosphere is really special. There are great restaurants; my favorite is Palomino's in the downtown area! I mean the fans are great and Butler's following was incredible. Over 29,000 fans were at the team's shoot around on Friday afternoon prior to the Final Four.
• A lot of people call the Butler-Duke final a David vs. Goliath matchup. Butler should only be considered a mid-major because of its small recruiting budget. This is a team that has wins over Ohio State, Xavier, Syracuse, Kansas State, Siena and Michigan State, winning 25 in a row and 33 overall. Brad Stevens has done a terrific job and it has been all about defense, defense, defense. It would be an amazing story on Monday night, but I don't see the Bulldogs holding Duke below 60. I think Coach K cuts down the nets for the fourth time in his career.
• I was thrilled to hear reports that Bob Hurley Sr. was voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He has done so much for high school basketball and kids, not only in Jersey City, but all over New Jersey. It is a great class going to Springfield, including Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, Jerry Buss and the late, great Dennis Johnson.
• It is also great to hear the new class entering the College Basketball Hall of Fame includes the likes of Jud Heathcote, Gene Bartow and NCAA leader Tom Jernstedt. Fans should go visit the shrine out in Kansas City, as it is a very special place for the sport of college basketball.
• Connecticut is like a machine; Geno Auriemma's club made it 77 straight Ws, beating Baylor by 20 points in the women's national semifinals. Maya Moore was sensational, baby! She finished with 34 points and 12 boards. Next up is a rematch against Stanford, which lost to UConn by 12 earlier this season.
• I was a little surprised when the Eagles traded Donovan McNabb to the Redskins, for a second round pick and another future choice. Philadelphia will see McNabb twice a season and you know he will be fired up for those matchups. This move probably spells the end for Jason Campbell as Washington's starter.
• Dwyane Wade has been on fire lately, carrying the Miami Heat on his back. The team has won eight games in a row, and Wade has totaled 82 points in his last two games. He will be tough to stop come playoff time.
• Congratulations to Purdue coach Matt Painter, who received an eight-year contract extension. He has done a superb job with the Boilermakers, who should be highly-ranked again next season with E'Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson and Robbie Hummel scheduled to return. My friends, I honestly believe that Purdue would have had a legitimate shot to the make the Final Four if Hummel wasn't injured.
• I am so excited that baseball is getting underway. I am predicting a Red Sox-Phillies World Series, baby! I do think my Tampa Bay Rays will make the playoffs as a wild card over the defending World Champion Yankees. It will be tough for the Yankees to repeat, because the Bronx Bombers will miss the bats of Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, plus the team chemistry is different this season.
• Bernard Hopkins beat Roy Jones. Jr. in a fight on the same night as the Final Four. It may not have gotten much attention, but both of these guys are Hall of Famers, baby!